Rich Stroffolino

What Am I To Make Of The Humane AI Pin

The Humane AI Pin is genuinely weird. I don’t want to diminish it because of that. In fact, it’s incredible rare in the tech gadget space. This seems like something genuinely novel in an age where everything is a glass slab. I am genuinely confused by it because we rarely get to grapple with anything truly unique.

Introducing Humane Ai Pin from Humane, Inc. on Vimeo.

Which is not to say that is seems good. In fact, I’m struggling to see the use case. Because in its current state, it’s an accessory, not a phone replacement. And then at that point, what is it doing better than my phone? The camera will assuredly be worse (video is unavailable at launch is a major red flag). I suspect the battery life will be bad (you don’t ship multiple batteries with a device unless users will need them). It is a worse entertainment device since it cannot do video by its nature and I imagine streaming service support will be lacking at launch.

Those are major issues.

The benefit is you get a device optimized to work with an LLM. Any notably in a space evolving so fast, not any LLM, but rather OpenAI’s GPT-4. Which if I had to pick one, is the one I would pick. But it seems to be betting on a winner in a very quickly moving space. To be fair, so is Microsoft, so it’s probably not that big of an issue.

But effectively the device argues its optimizations to get content in and out of GPT-4 will be worth $700 and a monthly service contract. When you are almost assuredly going to have to already still maintain that same pricing model for a phone. A phone which can also already access these same model through apps, and increasingly voice assistants. And maintain all the advantages I’ve already outlined above.

But I don’t want to say that the device is a surefire flop. I don’t want to be the Windows Mobile guy in 2007 pointing out that the iPhone can’t even do copy-paste. Every piece of coverage about Humane goes on at length about the legacy of their founding team, particularly their deep roots at Apple. Since I haven’t played with it, maybe LLM integration is truly groundbreaking, seamless to the point that I don’t need a phone in my pocket.

But then I think about how does that Pin keep me entertained in a waiting room. Will it track my health information? Do I want to dictate every interaction? I can’t answer those questions.

The thing is, I want this to be a start of more hardware innovation. I don’t want the smartphone to be the terminus of every software innovation. I want weird wearable to find their market until I find one that blows my mind. I just don’t think this one is it… right now.