This is an opinion editorial by Kroum Kroumov, a writer and editor with Bitcoin-focused venture design studio Peak Shift Ltd.
Bitcoin innovation is snowballing, with new projects being released every month. As excited as I am about this boom, I have to admit that it’s overwhelming to keep pace. But there’s even more to be thrilled about in tech besides Bitcoin. More specifically, the release of the AI language model ChatGPT has already revolutionized research.
The potential of combining Bitcoin along with AI research got me thinking right away: Is the information that AI provides accurate? Are the sources relevant? Can AI keep up with the rapid development of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network?
In this article, I will explore the benefits and limitations of using AI when researching Bitcoin, drawing on my personal experience by highlighting the pluses as well as the minuses. Let’s get into what I discovered!
Research Simplified By AI
Artificial intelligence has changed the way we do research. I find this exciting, as it has the potential to onboard a plethora of people to Bitcoin through accessibility of information. AI algorithms sift through large amounts of data, automatically identify the most useful information and return it to you in clear and comprehensible language. This saves time and effort when looking for resources.
We have all experienced the agony of rummaging through blog posts and random articles, and we know how time consuming and confusing it can get. I remember the steep learning curve that I had to go through when first encountering Bitcoin. Why didn’t I have AI to just bullet point it all for me by simply asking it a few questions?
In this way, AI can make general information about Bitcoin easier to understand and it can do so in almost any language. You can even ask it to clarify further and further! The result will be that the infamous learning curve of Bitcoin will become easier to understand for anyone, anywhere. With ease of understanding, we get wider adoption.
One of AI’s most distinguishing features is its ability to organize information in seconds. With the vast and growing amount of data already available about Bitcoin and Lightning, there couldn’t be a more helpful tool than one that can put the information together. I’ll admit that AI is now my 24-hour personal assistant. It’s knowledgeable, fast and can spin text around anyway I ask it to. Yes, it can even give you sailor and Shakespearean talk.
AI organizes and categorizes information, making it easier for users to find what they need, while presenting it how they want it presented. Some ways that we can do this is by asking the AI to extract the main points from a text, to create a study plan, to simplify the language, to translate, to clarify, to bullet-point an article, and the list goes on.
Organization and sorting are especially useful for researchers, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists, students and general learners who are trying to understand any aspect of the Bitcoin or the Lightning Network. For example, we can ask it to give us a list of resources and to prioritize them based on our importance criteria.
Limitations Of AI research
Despite the benefits, there are major limitations to consider when using AI for researching the Bitcoin network in 2023. One limitation is that insights provided by AI-powered tools may be less accurate or factually reliable than those of more traditional research methods. This is because ChatGPT’s knowledge is limited to data up to 2021, and does not reflect more recent developments in Bitcoin or the Lightning Network. Lightning especially is undergoing a development boom with the rapid changes in technology and available tools. Just look at some of the recent Lightning hackathons that have taken place. Therefore, the AI timeframe limitation is a serious factor to consider.
Taking into consideration builder events like hackathons, the development of Bitcoin and Lightning is very rapid. Even enthusiasts have trouble keeping up. There are developers working on Bitcoin all over the world and new resources and information are becoming available all the time. This rapid growth makes it difficult for AI systems to keep up, and anyone looking for current data and trends will need to look elsewhere.
Another limitation affecting AI is the open-source nature of Bitcoin and Lightning. AI has limited knowledge of independent, newly-hatched resources. Therefore, information provided by AI-powered tools will be more general and may not cover niche innovation within the network.
And another thing that’s missing is the lack of on-the-fly data. Getting a current, comprehensive picture of the network is not possible at this stage with AI. For investors and entrepreneurs, up-to-date and on-the-fly data are crucial. Fortunately, there are resources and tools outside of AI models that give live data for research. For visual and live Lightning Network research with graphs, maps and charts, you can try platforms like The Lightning Network Explorer or Amboss.
From my research using AI, I found that there was false information coming in. This can be tricky. On first glance, the content might look great, but if you are an expert in the field, you will quickly see holes inside the text. This is why we still need a human that can fact check anything coming in from AI.
For example, when I asked ChatGPT for Lightning resources, it gave me a list, but I could not find all of the resources listed when I ran a Google search, which made me wonder whether some of these resources existed at all. Therefore, in 2023, this is another reason we need the human touch. We just can’t fully trust you yet, AI.
AI Is Promising, But There Is Work To Be Done
In summary, AI helps us research Bitcoin by providing general information, broadening learning opportunities, translating, explaining and organizing information. But the limitations of AI include limited resources, lack of data about smaller projects, unverified information and faulty resources
The extremely rapid development of Bitcoin and Lightning projects is something that AI can’t keep up with because of its 2021 limit, AI has limited knowledge of independent niche innovation and live Bitcoin and Lightning Network data exploration is another area lacking in AI.
Ultimately, while AI simplifies research, it’s limited to more general information because it lacks up-to-date data on newer or lesser-known industry releases. Plus, as we stand, AI is restricted to information only up to 2021.
When diving into Bitcoin research, I recommend starting with AI and moving on to more Bitcoin-specific tools for network exploration. Even using something like Wikipedia to double check the information, in case you know little about Bitcoin, will be helpful.
Overall, use AI to organize and explain your information and to familiarize yourself with general and broader topics. For anything deeper than the “what” and the “when” questions, pay more attention and use up-to-date and verified sources. By using AI with some caution, you’ll reach your goals faster and more efficiently in 2023 and beyond.
This is a guest post by Kroum Kroumov. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.