Literally Making Dreams Come True – Blockchain in Engineering
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Engineering is not confined to skyscrapers and spaceships. Everything we ever use, from tablespoons to jetskis, was at some point engineered by us.
Have you ever asked yourself – What happens when technology used in engineering advances so much that we can create customized humans, engineer immortality, and colonize outer space?
That, without a shadow of a doubt, is only a question of time, or to be more precise, a pace dictated by advances in technology. Our ability to do anything we can dream of is limited only by our imagination and the technical means to get from A to B.
Let’s take a look at what happens when one of the most wildly exciting discoveries of the last decade, blockchain, gets combined with engineering.
Defining the terms
Blockchain and engineering are more than just related subjects. In fact, blockchain was essentially engineered by Satoshi Nakamoto out of previous work in the field such as Nick Szabo’s concept of Bit Gold.
Satoshi Nakamoto took previous designs engineered by his colleagues (remember “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants”?) and integrated them, working day and night to put the parts together in a way that would enable the structure to work.
So essentially blockchain=engineering, but with a few very concrete developments in its own highly specialized field.
Case studies – Artificial Intelligence and Machine-Based Data Processing in Engineering
- Using IBM Watson in supply chain management can mean 75% reduced data retrieval times.
- Using blockchain to transfer a shipment from Argentina to Malaysia using R3’s scalable Corda blockchain allowed HSBC and ING Bank to completely digitize the paperwork–and that was more than a year ago. This resulted in paper trails being entirely eliminated, waiting times dramatically decreasing, and efficiency and safety of operations increasing by an order of magnitude.
- Integrated Engineering Blockchain Consortium describes using the CoEngineers.io Blockchain’s “novel proof-of-stake algorithm, cryptographic token incentives, and multi-agent game mechanics to configure human ingenuity into the form of an intrinsic asset to create a fundamentally more efficient global project delivery system capable of tackling the world’s most challenging problems”.
Why should blockchain be used in engineering?
Engineering deals with vast amounts of information, as you can imagine if you ever looked at the Empire State Building and wondered how many details had to be written down for it to be built.
Engineering is not only building, however. It also includes colossally complex subsections like permits, surveys, FEA data management, design calculations, contingencies, warranties, sensors, really Big Data, contracts, chain of custody records, maintenance, verifying that mechanisms are working correctly, checking certificates of occupancy, and even forensics.
BIM information must be stored somewhere, and it must be verifiable. If your Nastran data knowledge is a little rusty, that’s huge volumes of data that take stupendous amounts of time to process.
Sending a ship across the sea takes a lot of paperwork, which is handled manually, and engineers today are in many respects using archaic methods and procedures. How can these processes be made simple in an electronic format, in the same way that sending an email is more effective than a regular letter by post?
Unprecedented fraud-fighting opportunities
Unlike regular certifications and criminal records that can be altered, once a company’s or engineer’s record is on the blockchain, proof can be examined and verified. That means that once the information is in, it won’t ever be erased.
Hyper-secure cryptography helps keep the records unchangeable, and so once you’re on the blockchain, there’s no point in committing a crime because it will be recorded forever for everyone to see.
It’s also structurally impossible to create a fake identity. Blockchain can be used to catch even the best of criminals. Think of that. A world with no crime. And, conversely, a good track record will be available for everyone to look at, too.
Local companies can get access to specialists from all over the world who put their qualifications on blockchain
For good engineers out of work, this means colossally higher chances of getting employed. While being unemployed is unpleasant for engineers, for companies, the lack of specialists is a tragedy.
“historically-low unemployment rates”, “the tightest labor market in recent history”, and “a continued shortage that by 2028 will translate to a potential loss of $454 billion in economic output – a massive 17% of the forecasted manufacturing GDP in the US.”
Huge quantities of data can be processed easier, quicker, and with much less effort
- Storing large quantities of data using traditional means is expensive. However, storing data using Storj or MaidSafe is estimated to be up to 90% more effective than using AWS.
- Immutability means integrity, which is colossally important.
- Data won’t be locked away, belonging to companies, but available for the public to see, which means much greater trust and thus more investments, which in turn means greater profit.
Blockchain can put an end to many divided silos of engineering communities and companies, creating one united network with complete integrity of information, state-of-the-art cryptographic security, unprecedented fraud detection algorithms, and, according to Oliver Bussmann, CIO of UBS, “transaction processing time decreased from days to minutes”. Does that sound enticing?