Key takeaways from Worldcoin’s Seoul meet up with
and Alex Blania
In June, Tools for Humanity co-founders Alex Blania and Sam Altman sat down at Hashed headquarters in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the Worldcoin project, its goals and its connection to important topics including artificial general intelligence (AGI) and universal basic income (UBI).
These questions have become particularly relevant over the past year, as the success of Altman’s OpenAI has highlighted the need for effective and scalable ways to differentiate between humans and artificial intelligence online.
Some of the key takeaways from Worldcoin’s Seoul event with Altman and Blania are shared below, in their own words.
The problems Worldcoin is solving
When asked about the problems Worldcoin is working to address, Altman provided the following response:
“Think about the questions of how society will distribute access to AGI systems, the benefits of them, governance, how we’re going to differentiate between what is done by people and what is generated by machines. We don’t have answers to any of this yet. But if something like Worldcoin can work, I think that’s a quite interesting new tool to have.”
How people will use World ID
Instead of comparing World ID, the privacy-preserving global identity protocol powered by the Worldcoin ecosystem, directly to a digital passport, Blania described it more as a personal dataless resource for accessing the online world:
“I think how you will interact with it in your daily life is that you’re probably going to use it for a lot of things that you sign online. You will login to online services [using World ID] the same way that you did using Google login today.”
The relationship between Worldcoin and AGI/UBI
The Worldcoin project was developed as a response to important contemporary developments including the emergence of advanced artificial intelligence and the idea of universal basic income. In context of the former, Alman said of Worldcoin:
“It’s a distinct idea, but I think it makes extra sense in a world with AGI coming.”
He also noted that, while Worldcoin has the potential to be a tool for the realization of UBI, there are many things that will have to happen externally along the way to get there:
“You could imagine a system like Worldcoin being used for global UBI at some point. We have a lot of progress to make and economic growth to achieve before we can do that, but some day.”
Using blockchain to build better financial systems
In response to a question about the potential for blockchain to impact the global economy, Altman broke his answer into two parts:
“Number one: The idea of a blockchain is an amazing new piece of technology and an amazing new tool for the world. Number two: if you can create better financial systems around the world, that is a powerful thing. I think that increases opportunity and general value in the world. It hasn’t yet reached what I would call the critical point of where it really is transforming the world.
Obviously there have been huge challenges in the space. I would say it has not yet delivered on the promise, but I remain very hopeful, and think what this could enable is quite important.”
Why should people trust Worldcoin?
In response to a direct question about why people should trust Worldcoin, Blania had a surprising answer:
“Why should you trust us? Just don’t. Because everything will be open source. All the hardware is already open sourced, the protocol is already open sourced. There are some parts of the system we did not open source yet because there are still some security concerns, but this will also be released in the next couple months. That’s the whole ethos of what crypto was started around: open source everything and don’t trust.”
The most important thing humans can be doing right now
When asked what humanity needs to be focused on in this exciting, unprecedented time that has given rise to projects like OpenAI and Worldcoin, Altman’s response was clear and simple: making progress.
“I think the world just needs a lot of progress. Things have been somewhat stagnant the last few decades, and I think we don’t have the level of sustainable economic growth that we need to have a really great future and for people to be happy and fulfilled. The main thing I would say is, what we all need is better quality of life, better technology, cheaper necessities, higher quality education and healthcare. And technology is the only way to drive that forward. Technology and the social institutions that enable it.”