If all goes as planned, OpenAI will produce its first consumer handheld or worn device. (Source: OpenAI)

OpenAI Seeks to Develop Smartphone with More Natural AI Interaction as Goal

Some very influential tech heavyweights have come up with an exciting idea for a smartphone. They’ve nearly secured a billion dollars in funding. The investment company names are familiar, but the idea may take a minute to absorb,

The iPhone of AI

Apple’s former chief design officer, Jony Ive, is reportedly in discussions with OpenAI to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence,” aided by over $1 billion in funding from Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son. According to a new report by the Financial Times, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is looking to use Ive’s design firm LoveFrom to develop OpenAI’s first consumer device, with the duo having discussed what such a product would look like during brainstorming sessions at Ive’s San Francisco studio.

According to three people familiar with the plan, Ive and Altman are aiming to create a device that provides a “more natural and intuitive user experience” to interact with artificial intelligence.

The duo has taken inspiration from how touchscreen technology on the original iPhone helped revolutionize interactions on the mobile internet. Son is offering funding for the effort and has reportedly pushed for chip design company Arm (in which Son holds a 90 percent stake) to play a central role. Well, that shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

SoftBank Invests

SoftBank successfully listed chipmaker Arm in September, whetting the entity’s appetite for more AI investment. According to the ft.com, Son is looking to invest tens of billions of dollars in the sector. According to Forbes.com, the talks between Softbank and OpenAI have been productive.

Sources told ft.com that the OpenAI project could allow Jony Ive to help create an interactive computing device that’s less reliant on screens. Altman already has some experience with this thanks to his investments in a very similar technology called Humane, described as:

“A hardware and software startup co-founded by ex-Apple employees — which is developing a screenless wearable AI device that’s designed to replace smartphones.”

This project would introduce a more integrated way to communicate, gather information and integrate apps. With a more receptive AI operating a system designed to be more human-friendly, the possibilities of this pocket-size device could be endless.

read more at forbes.com