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OpenAI, Jony Ive, and SoftBank to Create the ‘iPhone of Artificial Intelligence’

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • SoftBank mogul Masayoshi Son could invest up to $1 billion in a new venture to create a better user experience for OpenAI users.
  • OpenAI CEO and former Apple designer Sir Jony Ive have reportedly discussed the design even as OpenAI adds new voice interaction.
  • Ive, an alumnus of Newcastle Polytechnic, argues that responsibility must be taken for the unintended consequences of innovation.
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Former Apple designer Sir Jony Ive, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and SoftBank venture capitalist Masayoshi Son, are reportedly discussing a new iPhone-like project for artificial intelligence (AI). SoftBank, the venture capital firm behind some of the biggest tech successes, could invest up to $1 billion in the project.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and the Apple design guru reportedly conducted brainstorming sessions to improve users’ interaction with AI. If successful, the project could unlock mass market opportunities similar to how the iPhone unlocked the potential of the mobile internet.

SoftBank Could Secure AI Future With ARM and OpenAI

According to people familiar with the matter, talks are serious but negotiations could continue for several months. Moreover, the complex hardware requirements could potentially stall a launch for years.

Read more: ChatGPT Review: Everything You Need to Know

On Sept. 16, reports surfaced that Son was turning his attention to AI after investing in chip designer ARM. SoftBank also allegedly approached a developer of AI chips, Graphcore, for a potential acquisition.

If true, both moves could prove strategic in developing an iPhone-like interface for OpenAI. Apple licenses design blocks for its most advanced electronics from ARM, a strategy Son and OpenAI could adopt.

Moreover, SoftBank could help OpenAI could avoid the supply chain bottleneck for AI hardware design by enlisting a smaller designer in Graphcore. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which builds advanced AI chips for computing giants like Nvidia, builds Graphcore’s advanced Intelligence Processing Units (IPUs).

OpenAI Ive SoftBank iPhone, Graphcore hardware AI
GPU and Graphcore’s New AI IPU | Source: Graphcore

OpenAI’s reported push for a better user experience may build on recent improvements that allow users control its app with voice. The company’s ChatGPT tool can also respond to requests with real-time search results powered by Microsoft Bing.

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Microsoft’s Bing AI Chatbot

Ive Cautious About Unforeseen Consequences

Ive, who previously voiced concerns about the addictive nature of apps, reportedly wants OpenAI’s product to rely less on screens. He previously said that new innovations create consequences that designers don’t always foresee.

“If you’re creating something new, it is inevitable there will be consequences that were not foreseen… I think you have a moral responsibility to try to understand, to mitigate those that you didn’t predict… There is a responsibility that doesn’t end when you ship a product. It keeps me awake.”

The British product designer studied art at Newcastle Polytechnic in England before co-founding a design consultancy in the country’s economic hub, London. He started working for Apple in 1992, and later helped Steve Jobs resuscitate the company in 1997.

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David Thomas
David Thomas, a seasoned electronic engineer with nine years of expertise, has built a distinguished career by combining his passion for writing with an in-depth understanding of rapidly evolving industries. As a dedicated journalist at BeInCrypto, David leverages his strong technical background and university-honed skills to make the complex cryptocurrency market accessible and engaging for all readers.