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A Silicon Valley supergroup is building an AI device

by Amelia Ramiro

OpenAI and renowned designer Jony Ive are teaming up to create a revolutionary new computing device that could potentially surpass the smartphone. The collaboration aims to combine OpenAI’s advanced artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology with Ive’s expertise in designing iconic consumer products. While the project is in its early stages, it has already attracted the attention of SoftBank, the Japanese technology investor, which has been approached for funding.

While the exact details of the project are yet to be disclosed, it is worth noting that OpenAI and Ive’s firm, LoveFrom, bring together a considerable pool of talent. OpenAI is an A.I. research lab with around 400 researchers, engineers, and support staff, while LoveFrom boasts a team of approximately 30 industrial and software designers, as well as engineers. This collaboration represents a unique merger of A.I. capabilities and design innovation.

The potential partnership between Altman’s OpenAI and Ive’s LoveFrom highlights the significant impact that generative A.I. is having on the tech industry. The introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an online chatbot, last year has prompted companies to reimagine their business models and explore the possibilities of A.I. in various applications such as answering queries, generating content, and even writing computer code.

This new collaboration is driven by the vision of “ambient computing” – a paradigm shift in which computing seamlessly integrates into our daily lives. Instead of relying on rectangular screens, the goal is to develop a device that takes the form of something as simple as a pendant or glasses. This device would possess the ability to process real-time data, actively engage with users through virtual assistants, and interpret visual information.

Altman’s previous investment in a company called Humane, which is also pursuing a similar vision, demonstrates his dedication to this concept. Humane, founded by ex-Apple employees Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, plans to release their own device, known as a “disappearing computer,” later this year. Altman’s involvement in developing a separate device may be motivated by a desire for OpenAI to have its own distribution platform instead of relying on Apple or Google’s Android.

Creating new hardware devices comes with its challenges and previous attempts by major tech companies like Amazon and Facebook to develop smartphones have not yielded success. However, in terms of device development, few individuals have a track record of success like Ive. He played a pivotal role in the creation of the Apple Watch, the only major new device release by Apple since Steve Jobs’s passing.

The collaboration between OpenAI and Jony Ive’s LoveFrom represents a promising endeavor that could potentially redefine the future of computing. By combining A.I. capabilities with innovative design, they aim to develop a device that bucks the trend of rectangular screens and explores new frontiers of computing.

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