About this Research Topic
Decentralized artificial intelligence and robotics have the potential to revolutionize many applications, from targeted material delivery, to assisted living and disaster relief. Assisted by technological advancements, such as cloud computing, novel hardware design, and novel manufacturing techniques; nowadays AI (virtual) and robotics (physical) are starting to become an important part of activities such as logistics, autonomous transportation, emergency management and healthcare. However, several of the characteristics that make these systems ideal for certain future applications - autonomy, learning, knowledge sharing, collaboration, cooperation, etc. - can also raise concerns in the evolution of the technology from academic institutions into the public sphere. For instance, controlling the behavior of large teams of agents (either physical or virtual) still presents unique challenges for human operators. In addition, important issues in the fields of data privacy, security, safety, and transparency can become burdens for the future use of AI and robotics in high-sensitive scenarios. Therefore, novel solutions to these issues might be necessary steps towards mainstream adoption.
Blockchain, an emerging technology originated in the time-stamping field in the 1990s and recently in digital currency field, demonstrates that by combining peer-to-peer networks with cryptographic algorithms, agents can reach agreements in a transparent and decentralized manner without the need for a controlling authority. For instance, blockchain-based applications such as "smart contracts" are already showing great potential to make distributed robotics operations more secure, autonomous, flexible, and even profitable. Therefore, blockchain promises a way to bridge the gap between purely scientific domains and real-world applications.
This Research Topic seeks to move beyond the classical view of distributed and decentralized AI and robotics to advance our understanding about the possibilities of combining autonomous agents (either physical or virtual) with blockchain-based technologies. Insights about the following questions are especially important: What blockchain tools are available to increase the auditability, transparency and reliability of AI and robotics? What kind of algorithms are suitable to combine both technologies? Are there new models and methods to connect autonomous agents to blockchain-based innovations such as "smart contracts"? Is blockchain technology a suitable way to achieve emergent aggregations of autonomous and self-adaptive agents? Are distributed networks such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, Tezos, etc. a feasible way to integrate AI and robotics in our society? Are there new business models for AI and robotics based on cryptographic algorithms?
Below is a list of possible topics that would fit this Research Topic:
● Blockchain-based technology for cyber-physical systems
● Data privacy, security, safety, and transparency for AI and robotics
● Networked systems and Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT)
● Collaborative approaches for teams and swarms of autonomous agents
● Decentralized and distributed networks for AI and robotics
● Distributed and federated processes for autonomous systems
● Decentralized learning, control, and operation for AI and robotics
● New decentralized business models for AI and robotics
In addition to this brief list of possible topics, we welcome submissions on other topics addressing AI and robotics in the society. We seek manuscripts with conceptual and theoretical contributions as well as papers documenting valuable results of experiments conducted with real-robots. We welcome research reviews that provide a comprehensive view of any of the fields mentioned previously.
Keywords: Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Robotics, AI, Cyber-Physical Systems, Trustable Automation, Data Privacy, Verifiable Autonomy, Auditable Systems, Distributed Learning, Networked Systems, Internet of Things, Collective Adaption, Collaborative Systems, New Business Models
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.