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July 27, 2023
HomeDigital SocietyChatGPT Creator is Building an Ambitious Global UBI infrastructure

ChatGPT Creator is Building an Ambitious Global UBI infrastructure

In a bold and audacious move, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has embarked on a groundbreaking project that aims to revolutionize and unify the world of identity and finance and provide a universal basic income (UBI) to every human being on the planet. The project, known as Worldcoin, promises to counter the challenges posed by artificial intelligence and labor upheaval by leveraging a combination of AI technology and cryptocurrency.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is an idea that proposes giving every person a regular and “unconditional” cash payment to cover their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing, regardless of their income or employment status. The purpose of UBI is to provide a safety net and ensure that everyone in society has access to essential resources, reducing poverty and inequality. Supporters believe that UBI can help people have greater financial security, promote entrepreneurship and creativity, and address the challenges posed by automation and technological advancements in the job market. By guaranteeing a basic level of income for all individuals, UBI aims to create a more equitable and inclusive society. Sounds all nice and sweet right?

At the heart of Worldcoin’s initiative is the Orb, a unique and innovative device about the size of a bowling ball. The Orb uses a sophisticated system of infrared cameras, sensors, and AI-powered neural networks to scan the iris of individuals and verify their humanity, distinguishing them from AI entities. In return for undergoing this verification process, users are rewarded with a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin (WLD), which the company envisions as the means to distribute wealth and empower billions through a form of universal basic income.

The concept of a UBI has long resonated with Sam Altman, who believes that as AI advances and productivity increases, it is crucial to ensure fair distribution of wealth among all individuals. By creating a global infrastructure for UBI, Worldcoin aims to tap into the potential abundance that AI can bring and create a more materially abundant world for everyone.

However, Worldcoin’s ambitious endeavor is not without its risks and trust issues. The primary concern lies in the collection of biometric data through the Orb. Gathering this type of biometric data about every individual on the planet is exceedingly and inherently risky, especially when it is done by a private, profit-driven AI company.

The project’s success hinges on scanning eight billion sets of eyeballs, a logistical challenge of monumental proportions. While Worldcoin claims to be privacy-conscious and states that it only needs to verify uniqueness without identifying individuals, the gathering of biometric data on a global scale by a private company raises valid privacy and security concerns. A recent MIT Technology Report revealed significant disparities between Worldcoin’s public messaging, which emphasized privacy protection, and the actual user experiences.

Moreover, the project’s intentions regarding decentralization and the democratization of wealth through cryptocurrency seem contradictory to its potential implementation of a UBI system tied to a centralized biometric database. This raises questions about who would administer and control such a system and how it aligns with the vision of a decentralized financial system.

Additionally, skepticism surrounding trust in OpenAI, the parent company of Worldcoin, adds to the apprehension. Once celebrated for its commitment to open-source principles, OpenAI has faced criticism for shifting towards closed-source practices driven by profit motives, leading some to question its trustworthiness as a steward of biometric data.

The Orb’s verification process also faces technical challenges. As AI technology advances, the risk of AI-powered fakes passing the verification becomes a concern. Furthermore, potential bad actors could exploit AI to create multiple wallets and manipulate the system, undermining the project’s goal of fair distribution.

While Worldcoin’s vision of a future with AI-driven abundance and universal basic income is enticing, it faces significant hurdles in implementation. The project must address the concerns surrounding privacy, trust, centralization, and potential vulnerabilities in its biometric verification process.

As Worldcoin continues to refine its approach and seek ways to achieve its lofty goals, the world watches with both fascination and apprehension. The concept of freely giving out tokens to everyone, while ambitious, must be balanced with safeguarding individual privacy and security. There is speculation among some whether this project is genuinely noble or if it represents yet another initiative aimed at advancing the concept of a one-world government. 

Only time will tell whether Worldcoin’s Orb and its grand vision of a global UBI infrastructure can overcome these challenges and create a positive impact on the world economy.

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