ALICE 3 is a compact, next-generation multipurpose detector at the LHC as a follow-up to the present ALICE experiment. The aim is to build a nearly massless barrel detector consisting of truly cylindrical layers based on curved wafer-scale ultra-thin silicon sensors with MAPS technology, featuring an unprecedented low material budget of 0.05% X0 per layer, with the innermost layers possibly positioned inside the beam pipe. In addition to superior tracking and vertexing capabilities over a wide momentum range down to a few tens of MeV/c, the detector will provide particle identification via time-of-flight determination with about 20 ps resolution. In addition, electron and photon identification will be performed in a separate shower detector. The proposed detector is conceived for studies of pp, pA and AA collisions at luminosities a factor of 20 to 50 times higher than possible with the upgraded ALICE detector, enabling a rich physics program ranging from measurements with electromagnetic probes at ultra-low transverse momenta to precision physics in the charm and beauty sector.