Sam Altman is plowing ahead with nuclear fusion and his eye-scanning crypto venture—and, oh yeah, OpenAI

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman helped bring ChatGPT to the world, sparking today’s AI race involving Microsoft, Google, and so on. About a week ago, Altman listed Silicon Valley rules for startups ignored by OpenAI leading to an estimate of nearly $30 billion.

But he’s busy with other businesses that might not be too distracting — and he’s got his mind involved in some way. This week, Microsoft announces a purchase agreement with Helion Energy, a nuclear fusion startup backed by Altman. And Worldcoin, a crypto startup involving eye scans founded by Altman in 2019, is about to get a lot of new investment, according to Financial Times report on Sunday.

Before becoming the leader of OpenAI, Altman served as president of the startup accelerator Y Combinator, so it is not surprising that he is involved in more than one business. But the sheer ambition of the projects, on their own and collectively, deserves attention.

Microsoft announcing a deal on Wednesday where Helion will supply it with electricity from nuclear fusion in 2028. That’s bold considering no one has yet produced electricity from fusion, and many experts believe it’s decades away.

During a Stripes conference interviews last week, Altman said the audience “should be excited” about the startup’s developments and draws a connection between Helion and artificial intelligence.

“If you want to make the biggest, most capable super intelligent system you can make, you need a high amount of energy,” he explained. “And if you have an AI that helps you move faster and do better material science, you can do fusion faster as well.”

He acknowledged the challenging economics of nuclear fusion, but added, “I think we can figure it out.”

He added, “And maybe we’ll get to a world where in addition to the cost of intelligence is greatly reduced, the cost of energy is also reduced. And if both things happen at the same time – I would argue that they are now the two of the most important inputs in the entire economy – we will end up in a different place.

Worldcoin—still in beta but aiming to launch in the first half of this year—is somehow less ambitious, as luck reported in March. If AI takes our jobs and governments decide that a universal basic income is needed, Worldcoin wants to be the distribution mechanism for payments. If all goes to plan, it will be bigger than Bitcoin and approved by regulators around the world.

That may be a long way off when it happens, but in the meantime the startup may have found an easier path to monetization with the World ID, a kind of badge you receive after being verified by Worldcoin—and a handy way to prove you’re a human rather than an AI bot when logging into online platforms. The idea is for your World ID to join or replace your user names and passwords.

The only way to verify that a person is a person, the Worldcoin team decided, is through an iris scan. That leads to a small orb-shaped device you’re looking at that converts a biometric scanning code into “proof of identity.”

When you are scanned, verified, and boarded by Worldcoin, you are awarded 25 proprietary crypto tokens, also called Worldcoins. More than a million people have already joined, although of course the company aims to have tens and then hundreds of millions join after the beta. Naturally, such plans raise a range of privacy concerns, but according to the FT, the company is currently in advanced talks to raise about $100 million.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *