OpenAI founder’s Worldcoin claims “iris recognition technology is capable of distinguishing individuals on a billion people scale”

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Tech entrepreneur Sam Altman co-founded Worldcoin in 2020, with the stated goal of giving this new form of digital money to everybody in the world – “for free.”

Except, there’s actually what many may consider a rather steep price to pay – Worldcoin users would “pay” for it by giving up their biometric data. That contained in the irises of their eyes.

Privacy-preserving, is how Altman phrased all this – and said that the iris recognition was there to make sure users “do not claim their free share more than once.”

Related: OpenAI co-founder creates digital ID protocol

Fascinating way to go about identity authentication. And now, we’re hearing more from Altman, in a bid to explain all this in some rather technical detail.

The big takeaway – if you believe it – is that right now, “iris recognition technology is capable of distinguishing individuals on a billion person scale.”

The write-up is dedicated to a variety of operating modes and failure rates expectancy of what’s referred to as the Worldcoin biometric engine, considering the growth of the “userbase.”

The blog post deals with assessing the results of a biometric model that doesn’t get updated, with performance values at the same level, and says that biometric identification can fail in two ways.

One is to make a false identification – or “fail to re-identify a person although this person is already enrolled to the biometric database, which is called a false non match,” the post said.

It then goes into displaying the results of analyzing several different systems of performance – one being in a paper authored by John Daugman, another by NEC – a corporation seen as the leading iris recognition algorithm producer.

Other than favoring the scenario where not only one – but both eyes are scanned in order to positively identify a person – the post goes into the different rules that can be used (AND-, and OR-) and the perils of a new user being rejected at registration process, due to a high degree of false identification via false matching – which it says grows with the number of users.

In the end, the Worldcoin system believes it has the science to prove that there are now ways to identify people “on a global scale” utilizing iris recognition. But, to make sure the onboarding of billions is viable – “the algorithm needs to operate using the AND-rule.”

And that would be the one “in which a user is deemed to match only if their irises match on both eyes.”

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