Project PAI (PAI) fuses AI and blockchain to create what ObEN calls Personal Artificial Intelligence. By encrypting personalized information in a decentralized smart contract and tokenizing transactions, the project encourages user control of privacy across multiple platforms. It also supports forward-looking high technologies like mixed reality (MR), voice search, digital assistants, and more.
The PAI token is mined using a hybrid PoS/PoW algorithm, and the team is also researching a Proof-of-Useful-Work (PoUW) consensus. It doesn’t get a lot of buzz in western media, but Project PAI is making impressive development advances and forging strong partnerships in Asian markets.
Business Use Case
Think of how logging into Facebook verifies you to comment on popular media sites. A Single Sign-On (SSO) in and of itself is useful in a modern world where the average person has at least 90 unique accounts with login credentials to manage. And the internet creates a lot of confusion about exactly what information you’re providing to a company voluntarily or as a legal requirement.
Does everybody really need to know your birthday, driver’s license number, social security number, and other personally identifiable information just so you can comment on a blog or try a new game?
The older we get, the scarier technology can be, as evidenced by the 2019 Study on Social media Privacy and Security Concerns from ID Experts. Over 75% of adults of any age believe his or her security is at risk on social media, with seniors leading the pack at 92%. And Facebook is the least trusted of all social platforms.
All of this comes at a time when voice searches through smart assistants are growing across all devices, according to PWC. Personal assistants, personalized recommendations, and custom experiences are expected across all digital platforms. Project PAI may be the platform to enable these experiences in healthcare, government, enterprise, and everywhere else.
Not only that, your persona could theoretically interact seamlessly with all of these separate databases and networks. Data from your Fitbit, Roku, university, and more could be stored in one secure place and accessed by you as necessary – like decentralized centralization.
Notable Partnerships and Investors
Project PAI was created by ObEN, a Pasadena, CA-based company founded in 2014. ObEN’s investors include Tencent, HTC’s Vive X, SoftBank, and K11, among others. It since became its own project, foundation, team, etc., following crypto industry trends.
The Project PAI Steering Committee was created to encourage development on the platform beyond the core team of ~14. Chuck Ng is currently President and the only publicly listed member of the committee. Ng is a founding partner of PreAngel US and partner at WI Harper. Both specialize in US/China cross-border investments.
Project PAI had a private seed investment round on December 1, 2017. The lone investor was Long Crypto Group, a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment group with offices in both the U.S. and China. LCG received 735 million PAI, 35% of the total supply. Other LCG investments include Thunder, Oracle Chain, Yoyow, and Hub.
The team at ObEN is no stranger to advanced technology. The company’s research in AI and VR technologies like motion estimation, voice modulation, and face tracking long ago caught the attention of both Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. PAI is simply the next evolution of the company’s existing software capabilities.
ObEN holds three patents so far for text-to-speech synthesis, voice conversion, and audio avatars. These protections cover the neural networks and deep learning methods used by the PAI platform.
ObEN’s early exposure to VR, AI, and other high-tech projects gives it a headstart in both finances and possible partnerships. If the team can attach itself to other big-name projects in these industries, it has a better chance to succeed should one become a breakout success. Vive, for example, exposes PAI to enterprise VR users.
Project PAI is registered in the Cayman Islands (by an American company) and feels heavily based on U.S.-China trade relations. As it so happens, those trade relations have taken a hit since 2016, and tariffs imposed by both sides could land companies like ObEN and products like PAI in the crossfire.
Although technologically possible, PAI’s goal ultimately relies on business partnerships. It’s no accident that Facebook is used as a SSO for so many apps, blogs, and games. The company aggressively pursued these key partnerships, a path ObEN will need to continue forging, blockchain or not.
So far, Project PAI lacks third-party development. Paiyo (a personal AI app currently in alpha testing) and the PAI Up wallet (available for mobile and web) are the only projects currently developed on the platform. It’s seeking these partnerships (recently struck a deal with TMall to recreate a popular Chinese home shopping TV personality), but needs more.
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PoUW – The hybrid PoW/PoS mining protocol was barely released in 2019, and the company is already running alpha testnets of the PoUW mining implementation. PoUW replaces mining algorithms used in traditional PoW mining with what’s essentially cluster computing for dApps running on the platform. This release is sure to make dApp development enticing, as current blockchain-based dApps are limited in functionality.
Paiyo – Paiyo is the consumer-facing dApp that will introduce the world to Personalized AI. As the first dApp to launch (aside from the obligatory wallet), Paiyo will define the direction ObEN and PAI take moving forward. If Paiyo is a sleek, well-designed UX that truly lets users access the functions mentioned above, Project PAI can ride the success of this flagship product to the bank.
Trade War – The U.S. and China entered what’s essentially a trade war that shows no signs of letting up for the foreseeable future. Mainstream media shows this consistently affecting industries like tech, which is already struggling to keep up in both countries. See Uber’s failure to turn a profit yet and workforce “optimisation” occuring at Baidu and Tencent.
Project PAI is an ambitious blockchain project, but it’s certainly not starting at square one. ObEN, the well-funded California team behind it, has Chinese ties and a wealth of engineering talent at its disposal. They’re using blockchain to host and distribute their patented AI machine learning algorithms and let anyone create their own AI avatar.
All industry signs (voice search, digital assistants, VR, etc.) point toward a future where a Personalized AI has very real implications.
From changing the voice on your GPS, to the name of Siri or Alexa, to an avatar customization menu that would make EA Sports proud, the possibilities are endless. If ObEN can leverage its existing partnerships and investors to position PAI as a necessary part of emerging technologies, it can build a sustainable business.