O ver the past few months, shiny metallic orbs have materialized cities around the world, from New York to Berlin to Tokyo. Its creators hail the orbs as revolutionary devices ushering in a new era of global humanity and financial stability. Its detractors slam them as invasive, dystopian and exploitative.
Welcome to the rollout of Worldcoin, an AI-meets-crypto project from OpenAI founder Sam Altman that has stirred endless controversy. The startup uses orbs to scan people’s eyes in exchange for a digital ID and possibly some cryptocurrency, depending on what country they live in.
Altman and his co-founder Alex Blania hope that Worldcoin will provide a new solution to online identity in a digital landscape rife with scams, bots and even AI imposters. But privacy experts are concerned about the Worldcoin’s collection of biometric data and how, exactly, the project will keep and protect that data going forward. On Aug. 2, Kenya became the first country to suspend Worldcoin’s activities and its government launched a multi-agency investigation into the project’s practices.
Navigating the online world in 2023 can often feel like an endless obstacle course of lurking dangers. Many websites require a login and password. Scammers have all sorts of strategies to get you to click on links and send them money. Bots run rampant on social media platforms.