Humane AI: Bad or Terrible?

April 18, 2024

The Humane AI Pin, a wearable device designed by two former Apple executives, has been met with a wave of criticism from tech reviewers, who have described it as a poorly executed concept that falls short of its lofty ambitions. Despite its potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology, the device’s current state has left many experts questioning its viability.

The Humane AI Pin is designed to be a hands-free, AI-powered wearable computer that can answer questions, take photos and videos, and send messages. It is made of aluminum and is designed to withstand falls and even the occasional trip through the washing machine. The device is intended to be worn above the chest, where either hand can reach it, with microphones designed to hear the user best from that angle. The slightly downward-facing camera sees best from there, and the upward-firing speakers work best in that spot. However, the device’s current state has made it an inconsistent and frustrating experience for many users.

One of the world’s best-known tech reviewers, Marques Brownlee, described the device as the worst product he had reviewed so far, despite acknowledging its potential as a good idea in theory. He criticized the device’s poor battery life, which requires multiple charges throughout the day, and its tendency to get hot while being worn. David Pierce, writing on tech site The Verge, said that the only thing he could rely on the AI Pin to do was tell him the time.

The device’s lack of a screen and inability to sync with an existing smartphone have also been criticized. It does not have bespoke apps, and its gesture control is limited. Its AI capabilities, which are powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT 4.0 and Google’s Gemini, have also been criticized for their limited functionality and lack of trustworthiness.

Despite the criticism, Humane has not responded to requests for comment. However, Sam Sheffer, head of new media at Humane, acknowledged on X (formerly Twitter) that the software “was not where it needs to be” and stated that feedback is a gift.

The Humane AI Pin is being closely watched as a potential answer to two of the most pressing questions in tech: 1) can any device truly challenge the smartphone, and 2) will the AI revolution create a new generation of hardware? Francisco Jeronimo, analyst at market research firm IDC, told the BBC that the device is a very interesting concept but makes no sense from the end user perspective. He fears that similarly hyped AI gadgets, such as the Rabbit R1 assistant, may suffer from the same issues.

Humane, which laid off staff at the start of the year, has committed to making further updates to the device in the summer. However, many experts remain skeptical about the device’s potential to revolutionize the way users interact with technology.

In conclusion, the Humane AI Pin is a promising concept that has been marred by early execution issues. Despite its potential to challenge the smartphone and usher in a new era of AI-powered hardware, the device’s current state has left many experts questioning its viability. While Humane has committed to making further updates to the device, it remains to be seen whether the AI Pin can live up to its lofty ambitions.

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