Worldcoin wants to scan your eye with its Orb – Here’s why

July 24, 2023

Worldcoin iris scan

Worldcoin has started the global rollout of its crypto and World ID human verification project.

The project was started by Alex Blania, founder and CEO of Tools for Humanity, and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. The idea behind Worldcoin is to create a digital currency that is equitably distributed to individuals around the world instead of a disproportionate amount sitting in just a few crypto wallets.

With the advancement of AI, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know if you’re dealing with a real person online or an artificial intelligence. In order to make sure that it is distributing its digital currency to unique human individuals, Worldcoin created World ID.

World ID is intended to be a “privacy-preserving digital identity designed to help solve many important, identity-based challenges including proving an individual’s unique personhood.” Eventually, it’s also hoped that Worldcoin could lead to a Universal Basic Income solution.

In order to verify that users aren’t just an AI, Worldcoin is shipping 1,500 of their Orbs worldwide to scan people’s irises to verify their humanity and uniqueness. The Orbs look like shiny balls with a slightly creepy-looking iris scanner.

If the idea of having your iris scanned by an Orb to verify that you are in fact a human seems a little Orwellian then you’re not alone. But Worldcoin insists that using biometrics is the best way to ensure that its crypto doesn’t end up in a bunch of wallets owned by an AI.

You can sign up for Worldcoin without getting scanned but those who opt for a quick Orb scanning are given 25 Worldcoins for their trouble. How much is a Worldcoin worth? Worldcoin finally started trading on a number of exchanges on 24 July at an initial price of $1.70, which rose to $3.58 before settling around $2.52. 

Worldcoin insists that the data obtained from your scan is not used “to identify who you are, only to verify that you’re unique.” The iris scans are immediately deleted unless you opt into the Data Custody option to avoid having to verify again in the future.

The data is also apparently “securely encrypted” which is perhaps cold comfort to anyone who’s been the victim of mass data leaks from other institutions. 

Would you consider getting scanned to join the Worldcoin project? As AI tools get better at generating faces and human voices it may only be a matter of time before even iris scans aren’t enough to prove that you’re human.

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Eugene van der Watt

Eugene comes from an electronic engineering background and loves all things tech. When he takes a break from consuming AI news you'll find him at the snooker table.


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