Near’s AI Ambitions

Near’s AI Ambitions

Near has set its sights on becoming a hub for User-Owned AI as its next phase of development. 

Although AI is the most disruptive technology of our times, as has happened with web2, most of the innovation is occurring within centralized, for-profit companies. NEAR aims to counter this phenomenon by making NEAR the premier ecosystem for the next generation of AI research and applications. 

Helping to bring Near’s AI-ecosystem to the broader masses are the various features of Near’s Blockchain Operating System (BOS). This means that web2 users can potentially onboard to Near’s AI in a more seamless manner by taking advantage of FastAuth. Additionally, any AI applications built on Near won’t remain siloed to Near’s ecosystem – it would be accessible and composable to the broader blockchain world via Near’s BOS.

To achieve its AI goals, in the short-term, the Near Foundation will make core infrastructure investments in areas such as enabling data collection and crowdsourcing; curation and rewarding creators; access to compute and novel ways to monetize it; verifiability of training and inference to ensure provenance; agentic infrastructure, and more. NEAR aims to be the platform where any AI application and innovative consumer use case can leverage the best User-Owned AI infrastructure, accessible to everyone in the Web3 ecosystem.

Long term plans involve the establishment of the NEAR.AI R&D Lab, led by Near co-founders Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin. The initial focus will be on developing an “AI Developer” to build end-to-end Web3 applications from user intents. A team of AI researchers will be hired, and investments will be made in cutting-edge research to achieve this. With Illia and Alex’s AI backgrounds, Near is uniquely positioned to deliver on the vision of User-Owned AI.

As part of the initial push to develop Near’s AI ecosystem, the NEAR Foundation has selected six teams for the first NEAR Horizon AI Incubation Program which launched this month. Near Horizon selected top AI teams to develop infrastructure – foundational models, model training, and developer tools – that support scalable, efficient, and secure User-Owned AI.

This first NEAR AI x HZN Incubator cohort includes:

  • Mizu: An open synthetic data layer for AI developers, fostering a collaborative data ecosystem.
  • Pond: Foundational crypto models using Graph Neural Networks to analyze on-chain data and predict behaviors.
  • Nevermined: Payment infrastructure for AI-commerce, easing transactions for AI developers.
  • Hyperbolic: An open-access AI cloud with a GPU marketplace and AI inference services.
  • Ringfence: Helping creators monetize their work while maintaining ownership, similar to a Web3 version of DALLE-3.
  • Exabits: Providing GPU compute in a data center environment for AI training and inference.

Near will partner with each cohort member to develop specific use-cases that will be foundational to Near’s AI ecosystem. Over the next two months, we plan to cover each project in detail throughout the Near AI x HZN program.

This article has been written and prepared by the GCR Research team in collaboration with Near Foundation/Near Horizon. Committed to staying current with industry developments and providing accurate and valuable information, is a trusted source for insightful news, research, and analysis.

Disclaimer: Investing carries with it inherent risks, including but not limited to technical, operational, and human errors, as well as platform failures. The content provided is purely for educational purposes and should not be considered as financial advice. The authors of this content are not professional or licensed financial advisors and the views expressed are their own and do not represent the opinions of any organization they may be affiliated with.

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