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The Era of Robots: IoT + Agentic AI + AI-Commerce

AI Agents

4 min read

The promise of IoT and AI has been discussed for over a decade. Edge devices that can operate autonomously, making decisions and even paying for services without any human intervention is popular science. However, your car running a side gig as an autonomous taxi, or your refrigerator buying milk when you’re running low are use cases yet to manifest, and for good reason. There exist myriad challenges, from technical limitations, lack of connectivity and interoperability, privacy concerns, economic constraints, regulatory dilemmas, little consumer acceptance…the list goes on. The reality is that the early vision of the machine economy did not materialize. Yet.

Despite these impediments, technological progress has continued by leaps and bounds. More devices are now networked than ever before. Data captured from edge devices helps us map the world around us at ever increasing fidelity. Our lives are increasingly integrated with our devices to our benefit.

And then there are the recent advancements in AI. AI has seen a Renaissance in the last 18 months, with an unparalleled increase in capability, and equally unparalleled increase in adoption. With these advancements, AI models allow us to push the boundaries of how we interact with synthetic agents. What had been science fiction just a few years ago has become a catalyst for change today.


Merging these technologies is a natural progression. By bringing together IoT and AI, devices will be imbued with logic and processing, enabling the evolution of devices from dumb to smart to autonomous. The result is a special productivity cheat code unlock that results in GDP growth by orders of magnitude, and ushers in the Era of Robots. 

However, these robots will not exist in a vacuum. Their productive value will of course be measured in time and convenience, but also in revenue generated or costs saved. The true benefit of integrating IoT with AI will be integrating an ability to problem solve while facing constraints. The constraints of highest priority? Time and money. How these devices save us time, and / or make us money, will define their economic impact. The economic uplift created by these new agents, both for their creators, as well as civilization as a whole, will provide a tectonic shift benefiting all of humanity. Global GDP will grow to new highs, and AI-Commerce will emerge as the driving economic force of the next century. 

For this to be true, not only do we need to bring AI and IoT together, we need to enable an IoT device’s agentic capability to trade and consume. This necessitates an ability to transact, buying and selling services and assets between agent devices. However, the prospect of bestowing billions of IoT devices with the means to transact using traditional financial rails is absurd. The existing financial system lacks the ability to scale when being inundated by billions of new actors. Good luck KYCing your refrigerator…

What’s needed is the unification of agentic AI with IoT devices, and interconnectivity via blockchains to enable AI-to-AI agentic transactions. Decentralized physical infrastructure networks, or DePIN, are already bringing thousands of community-owned devices together to render Web3-powered real-world services, from car sharing to noise data collection. As these devices get smarter, DePINs will get smarter as well, with these devices creating value, managing resources, and engaging in financial transactions without human intervention. The benefits of such a network are enhanced efficiency, reduced overhead costs, and streamlined operations. Aside from that, and much more importantly, such infrastructure has the potential to transform how entire industries operate, and this will lead to the explosion of global economic growth. As devices autonomously negotiate and transact, they will optimize the use of resources in real-time, leading to unprecedented levels of productivity and innovation.

How do we get there? Putting the pieces together…

Bringing all of these capabilities together requires a special mix of solutions and technologies. We need AI agents to integrate with IoT devices that are networked together and can pay one another for the goods and services they produce and consume. Thankfully, these are all capabilities that projects in the Web3 space have been focusing on for a while, and are modular by design, making it easier to compose the complex systems of actors and commerce that we want to create.  

To start with, we need AI agents. A number of projects focusing on this are in development, some stretching back almost a decade. There are a number of ongoing AI agent projects like Polywrap, Olas, Morpheus, etc. By leveraging Web3 centric AI agent tech from these projects, we can begin to deploy productive agents.

The next step will be linking these agents to IoT devices. Thankfully again, this is a domain that has received significant attention from Web3 builders. DePIN networks provide the infrastructure to support advanced IoT implementations, linking devices to agents via decentralized infrastructure.  Connecting these DePINs with AI agents will produce networks of autonomous AI agents and enable everyone to own a share of AI. Finally, we can add AI payments to these connected AI powered DePIN devices, facilitating agentic IoT transactions, helping to power AI-Commerce.  

While the collective vision is grand, the approach should be to focus on small milestones that add up to big wins. While we don’t have all the answers, the respective pieces are present to begin tackling this critical opportunity. At Nevermined, we’re looking forward to getting your solar panels paid!