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Since the start of our journey in 2015, at Singularity University, we have been an impact driven startup, often paying a high price for that. In mid 2017 we realised that, whilst en route to becoming a successful straight-down-the-middle enterprise SaaS company, inertia was putting back our impact ambitions. First introduced to blockchain technology in 2015, we decided to dive deep into leveraging blockchain technology to help disintermediate and democratize Science.
Aiur is the result of a year’s worth of work. We believe it will radically improve our chances of generating broad-based, substantial impact. It will also help fund our ongoing activities as initial managing entity of the project. Third and last, collectively building Aiur’s underlying technology with an open community at its true center should give Iris.ai first mover advantage in developing the ambitious AI-driven science assistant we set out to build in 2015.
As Aiur community members: (1) researchers should get token royalties from third party use of their research included in the repository of validated knowledge, and (2) reviewers should also get token royalties for verifying research and keeping the high quality standards of the repository.
Iris.ai is an impact-driven, for-profit international startup founded in 2015 at Singularity University to build and AI-powered science assistant. Aiur is a project ideated by Iris.ai to create an open, community-governed AI Engine for Knowledge Validation.
Iris.ai will play an initial role kickstarting project Aiur and managing it during Phase 1. This initial Phase 1 will run a maximum of 18 months. With that backstop, or before then, if so decided via a combination of objective maturity metrics and a community vote, the project will move into Phase 2.
In Phase 2 the maximum token ownership cap, initially set at 2%, will be extended to Iris.ai too. Excess tokens will then be either burnt or redistributed to other community members, with a view to rewarding valuable contributions building Aiur, in particular from founding members.
As initial project manager Iris.ai will retain 25% of the funds raised via the Aiur token sale. The remaining 75% will be will consigned to a Project Development Fund, which will act as an escrow smart contract to competitively fund projected milestone developments.
One of project Aiur’s main goals is to increase the quality standards of published research results. With the Knowledge Validation Engine we aim to build a machine learning-powered engine that can produce a report on the reproducibility and hypothesis trust levels of an input text or document.
In terms of what it does, the Knowledge Validation Engine identifies the building blocks of an input article, classifying them as part of a category, including problem, solution, evaluation method, results, etc. These building blocks are then backtracked to other building blocks in the scientific literature. If Article A has a building block supported by Article B, there is a need to split the building blocks in Article B, and keep doing this until a stop condition is hit (i.e. no more articles supporting the building blocks). The logic is very similar to the one used by the PageRank algorithm for links, but we will apply it to factual data.
Each building block has its own underlying hypothesis. With these identified a causality graph can be built, and based on the rank of the causality the trustworthiness of each hypothesis scored. For example focusing on whether for a given evaluation metric used (M), all the assumptions (A, B, C) and constraints (X, Y, Z) are outlined.
As a final step the Knowledge Validation Engine will build a report pulling results from every branch of the knowledge tree, highlight the problematic branches that present lower trust levels. Experimental research will be initially better suited for Knowledge Validation Engine scrutiny that, say, mapping studies. More information is included in the ‘Aiur development roadmap’ section of the white paper.
A token primarily used to obtain a tangible product or service utility. Think airline miles, which could potentially have other features added on top. They are different from security tokens in that these represent an investment interest. Think airline bonds or shares. AIUR tokens have been designed as functional tokens.
All aspects of the project related to governance and the economic model, regulated via smart contracts, will be logged on a public blockchain, including token ownership and voting rights details.
The AI technology components of the project will initially not be developed on the blockchain, as the technology does not accommodate this at present.
To form the repository of validated articles, we will store a combination of full documents and metadata. We are evaluating IPFS and other alternative solutions for this purpose. In parallel, we are planning to store a compressed version of all repository articles in a public blockchain, to ensure full recoverability in the event of a malicious attack.
The reports generated in the process of building the validated research repository will be recorded on a public blockchain. All other reports from the Knowledge Validation Engine, highlighting reproducibility issues, etc., will be paid for with AIUR tokens and available only to people in the community.
The project’s code base will be stored via a service provider (i.e. GitHub), but pull requests and a compressed change log will be blockchain registered, so the code can be recovered at any point.
New economic model: the incentive structure of science is broken, and we firmly believe a new economic model, built around transparency, accountability and distributed data nodes that no one owns, is the only way to change it. However, a new model put forth needs to be radical and it needs to fall outside of the current system, rethinking the fundamental mechanics. The only way in which we believe this could be made possible is through the deployment of blockchain technology.
Communal property: building an AI based Knowledge Validation Engine is, in our opinion, not something that can be done by a company or even a non-for-profit entity. While we would like to think we’re the “good guys”, the fact is we can not guarantee that forever, and we need to remove ourselves from the picture through true decentralization. Scientific knowledge belongs in the commons, and so does an engine validating it – subject to full community scrutiny. Blockchain technology is the only tool known to us that could make this truly possible.
Anonymity and its flip side: not every researcher in the world can freely publish their work under their full name. Pseudonymous approaches to publishing will secure free speech for every scientist. A slightly less severe suppression of free speech is the bias inherent in the publishing system, skewed toward financially strong and reputable universities. Blockchain publishing will allow all researchers to publish pseudonymously, meaning everyone can say what they want under the equal and fully transparent scrutiny of everyone else.
We believe that the Ethereum platform is extremely well-suited to serve as a foundational layer for a very large number of both financial and non-financial protocols in the years to come. But whilst persuaded that Ethereum is the right public blockchain platform for the initial development of project Aiur, we will constantly monitor interoperability and other functional requirements. These relative evaluation exercises might lead us to a backbone platform change further down the line.
Aiur is by design an open, community-governed platform. As such, its code can not be effectively controlled, and third parties can not be excluded from forking it for alternative redeployments. And if that brings with it additional positive impact, the better!
Having said this, we believe in the value of solid network effects built through first mover advantages. And that the Aiur community will be able to protect the value generated as it develops through a combination of governance and economic incentives.
There are at least two major key differentiating factors:
- Proven software development credibility
- Proposed solution to the chicken and egg problem
Firstly, and in contrast to the rest of the Blockchain for science projects we are aware of, we have demonstrable experience and a proven track record as software developers. In fact, during Iris.ai’s first three years of existence we have built and shipped four commercial grade, full product releases. As witnessed too often in the Blockchain space to date, promising and delivering are two quite different things! We have the resources and the expertise to build Aiur as per the development roadmap outlined in our white paper.
The other major differentiating factor is the Knowledge Validation Engine we are building with the community. As with so many other marketplace type solutions, we are of the belief that a publishing platform does not hold value until it holds massive amounts of content, and it does not hold massive amounts of content until it holds a lot of value.
We do not believe you can solve the broken incentive structures present today in science simply with a new technology platform to publish on. Instead, we will be building the Knowledge Validation Engine, and as the tools built on top are launched – tools for a scalable review and quality assessment process that could not be solved by humans -, we expect to drive growth in the Aiur token economy with an active contributing community and clients buying and paying AIUR tokens to access those tools.
Not in the foreseeable future. Project Aiur aims at building a suite of tools to help researchers improve various angles of the scientific process, including the peer review process. Potential full automation is out not contemplated in the project timeline.
Yes. The project features the creation of a repository of validated research. Submitted papers that pass the Knowledge Validation Engine test will be included and published in this repository, which will be openly accessible.
No. The Open Access movement has made great strides in making growing volumes of research more accessible to wider audiences, but acting in isolation it will not fix many of the problems suffered by science today. We believe that re-imagining a world with higher quality research requires the establishment of new practices and incentives that fully leverage decentralization technologies.
The short answer is yes, but not immediately after kick-off. We need to build a functioning economy, with both solid supply and demand flows, for new research to be published directly into new journals linked to the Aiur repository of validated research.
Before that happens, and as contemplated in the project’s milestone roadmap, users will be able to submit existing research, including preprints, for inclusion in the validated research repository. These user submissions will complement initial self-started efforts to test all available open access research articles for inclusion.
We will also focus first on introducing a Journal of Alternative Approaches (JAA) to cover research with approaches that are innovative, show potential, and are backed up by facts and experiments – as regular published articles – but do not necessarily beat the state-of-the-art.
Research, including failed results, that passes the quality checks of the Knowledge Validation Engine will be included in this repository. Benefits of authored research inclusion range from prestige and visibility to receiving token compensation as the research is deployer by other community members via the Knowledge Validation Engine.
Yes. That is an integral part of Project Aiur. In the drive to improve research quality we will focus, among other factors, on removing biases and incentivising greater reproducibility oversight as part of the peer review process.
We aim to subject reviews to the dual open scrutiny of the Knowledge Validation Engine and the rest of the community.
A peer reviewer who wishes to challenge the report from the Knowledge Validation Engine will need to stake tokens and follow a stepped process. Our goal is to create virtuous self-correction loops between Aiur as a system and individual community members, including authors and peer reviewers.
AIUR tokens will give buyers the ability to participate first hand in a unique, community-governed experiment to transform the way in which modern science is generated and deployed.
Additionally, token holders will be able to extract utility from AIUR tokens from the start, with increased functionalities added as the project matures.
On top of supporting a much needed, impact-driven project, early participants should be able to capture the economic value accrued through the envisaged Aiur algorithmic improvement over time. And at transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2, the tokens held by Iris.ai will be reduced from 50% to the general maximum cap, with foundational community member status significantly rewarded.
From the launch of project Aiur, you can choose to use your AIUR tokens for use of Iris.ai’s premium features. This individual access will be at a much lower cost relative to fiat currency prices offered to commercial clients, and is also the only way for individuals to get personal premium access. Iris.ai will continue developing products and services on top of the Aiur platform.
Further down the line, we expect other ecosystem members, including third party software providers, to also build new products and services tapping into the Aiur engine. These third parties will pay the community for usage of the Knowledge Validation Engine, and will be encouraged and incentivised to also accept payment in AIUR tokens.
Should you want to either build your own UX or other software tools on top of the engine; leverage the engine for your university research or to develop internal company tools; by querying the engine directly rather than going through a third party provider – these are all ways in which you will need and you will be able to use AIUR tokens.
Be it as an individual author or as a university holding a vast library or articles, as an Aiur user you will need to have the legal rights to submit papers for inclusion in the validated research repository. We will try to make ourselves as helpful as possible answering queries and facilitating processes, but this responsibility will always ultimately lie with you.
Yes. Designed as utility tokens, AIUR tokens will enable users to purchase individual licence access to Iris.ai premium products from the time of the initial token sale.
Access to Iris.ai premium tools will be initially priced at 10 AIUR for an individual one-month license. This represents a significant discount to the company’s fiat rate card, with one-month licences notionally priced at 70 EUR.
Querying the Knowledge Validation Engine will require payment in AIUR tokens, driving the demand side of the system’s economy. We envision a number of different initial use-cases outlined in the project’s white paper, involving R&D departments, research institutes, university students, academic consortia, software developers or individual researchers.
Third party developers will be able to use the knowledge included in the validated research repository to build a whole suite of value-added products and services. The business model applied will be up to each developer, but to the extent that they need AIUR tokens to query the Knowledge Validation Engine, they will be incentivised to accept AIUR as payment consideration
In contrast with corporate and institutional users, interested individual users can apply today to be granted limited trial access at no cost. As community members, users will be offered in due course early access to acquire AIUR tokens at significant discounts. From the time of the token sale on, access to Iris.ai premium tools will be initially priced at 10 AIUR for an individual one-month license.
We do not intend to violate copyright laws. Our approach to bringing about system change will be different. We focus on introducing alternative incentive schemes to encourage more open access publishing.
As with any community, you have both. The full details on community membership status, rights and obligations can be checked in the token sale white paper – consult section ‘Planned ecosystem’ for more information.
The great thing about the structure of project Aiur is that anyone will be able to contribute, be it code, QA, training, or a research submission, so you are absolutely encouraged to take part. All defined contributions from the community will be compensated with AIUR tokens. We will have more information on ways to contribute and derived compensation as the project progresses.
On openings on the Iris.ai team, we do not have any at the moment, but will notify the community as positions become available, via our website or LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/iris-ai/.