The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted a patent to KPMG for a blockchain-based method that can improve the selection, curation and management of data used to train machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) models.

The company highlighted KPMG’s new patent — U.S. Patent No. 10,528,890 — demonstrates how blockchain can be used to store, track and trace data used throughout the AI lifecycle, including training, deployment and monitoring of AI models and their algorithms. KPMG said it also establishes an AI chain of custody that verifies how and where data and models have been generated and used.

“Using blockchain allows both KPMG and our clients to confidently stand behind the responsible use of data entrusted to us,” said Marisa Boston, KPMG director and patent co-inventor with KPMG Director Rupa Shah.

“With this approach, we are able to help companies manage data, identify and mitigate issues such as bias or unnecessary access that could compromise data integrity, and drive increased confidence in insights driven by AI,” Boston continued in a news release.

KPMG insisted that organizations across the public and private sectors recognize the potential for data-driven business models to accelerate competitive advantage. However, the company pointed out current compliance regulations require data to be carefully monitored for rightful use.

Additionally, in order for machine learning models to become more accurate and effective when reflecting human intelligence and reasoning, KPMG explained they need to be fueled with improved data quality and data security.

KPMG stressed its method can improve shortcomings in current data management approaches and can help organizations operationalize a trust paradigm within the AI lifecycle by using blockchain to manage data provenance and lineage and support integrity in models and algorithms. Experts explained their tool can

— Allow to responsibly identify the most relevant available data

— Record how multiple parties interact with the data

— Manage data permissions and approvals for use in AI algorithms

— Identify when potential bias has been introduced through the training data

— Monitor training data history and quality

— Track how and where the models have been deployed and utilized

KPMG went on to mention key components of the data management process are automated using smart contracts to enhance the existing human procedures required to maintain data records and controls across large organizations. Outputs and insights gleaned by AI are explainable and auditable, allowing for increased confidence in results among stakeholders, according to the company.

KPMG added the trust and transparency enabled by end-to-end data provenance can allow AI to serve as a reliable technology that business leaders can leverage as part of their broader digital transformation efforts. Beyond helping clients with data management, KPMG plans to use this new technology in its own data strategy and digital transformation efforts.

“Technology is both the impetus for and solution to many of today’s most complex business problems. However, it’s critical that new innovations be developed and deployed responsibly,” KPMG vice chair of innovation and enterprise solutions Mike Nolan said.

“This blockchain method demonstrates how KPMG is focused both on uncovering the full potential of converging emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain, and on their responsible implementation,” Nolan went on to say.

The company also noted the patent is one component of KPMG’s intellectual property portfolio, which includes strategic investments in emerging technologies and partnerships with leading technology companies to develop and deploy technology-based solutions that address complex business challenges.