Alex Blania, CEO of Worldcoin, a company that wants billions of people to scan their irises to create a global system of authentication, says that a global form of ID is coming “whether you like it or not.”
Worldcoin was co-founded by Sam Altman, who is also the CEO of OpenAI, the company behind the controversial large language model ChatGPT. The AI mogul previously stated his hopes for the technology to “break capitalism” by enabling the more efficient allocation of resources.
Previous investors in Worldcoin include disgraced Crypto kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The company uses technology that scans the irises of people around the world, data which is then used to grant access to the Worldcoin ecosystem, as well as a means of distinguishing between real people and bots.
This means that Worldcoin’s success will in part be driven by the success of AI in impersonating humans, a field that Altman’s OpenAI is also closely tied to.
In recent remarks, Blania said that eventually, anyone who wants to use the internet will need to be authenticated by Worldcoin or “something like it.”
“Something like World ID will eventually exist, meaning that you will need to verify [you are human] on the internet, whether you like it or not,” said Blania.
Coindesk summarizes the ambitious goals of Worldcoin:
To do this, they invented a physical device called “The Orb” that can scan your eyeball. The goal is for The Orb to eventually scan every eyeball of every human who walks the Earth. And at some point, if all goes well, everyone will have access to open-source and decentralized financial tools.
If Worldcoin was the brainchild of some random crypto bro, maybe it could be laughed away as a delusion of grandeur. But the project has real intellectual heft. It was co-founded by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT), who’s arguably the most central player in the development of AI. Altman suspects that the world will change forever if — or when — AI becomes so advanced that it achieves AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence, meaning it truly surpasses the abilities of humans.
Distinguishing between bots and humans is rising in importance as AI continues to change the tech industry. Using biometric data, as Worldcoin does, is one potential solution — although the challenge for the company will be overcoming privacy concerns.