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The smartphone is dead! All hail the PIN!


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Humane has officially announced their "AI Pin", a $700 wearable with a $24 monthly fee that aims to be your AI companion. Along with the speaker and mic for voice, the Pin includes a camera and a small projector to display small bits on your hand.



It's an interesting idea, but I honestly can't think of a worse way to interact with technology.


The display is cool, but it's worse than a smart watch would be in basically every way. Everything they do with the projector I'd rather have on my watch. It'd be more readable in more situations and it would be easier and more precise to interact with.


I think voice works best when it's the input method, but not the output. Telling my smart speaker to turn on the lights is great because I don't need it to say anything back. Basically the only time I use voice and want a voice response is if I'm having a conversation and everyone wants to know the same thing and that thing is very straightforward. So if my wife and I are talking and can't remember if we're older or younger than Lebron, I feel fine yelling out "hey Google, when was Lebron James born?" Basically every other interaction they show in their video is something I'd rather not have spoken aloud, if only to not be rude to other people. I have the most boring text history of all time, but there's no way I want a gizmo reading messages aloud all the time. Even if I'm just at home with my wife, I'd much rather look at my phone than ask my pin to catch me up. Bluetooth headphones are the obvious solution, but then you're really going to wonder why you're not just using your phone.


I'm also a long way from trusting AI to return very good results for things that aren't as straightforward as Lebron's birthday. No, you can't melt eggs. It's pretty cool that you can ask it questions with very little input, but I don't know if I'd trust the results it gives me. He has it tell him how much protein he's had today, but what did it take to do that? I assume he must be telling it to log all his food, but who knows how well it's doing. It seems like they think nutrition info will be a killer app for them, but I just can't get behind the idea that AI image recognition is good enough. I've done some calorie counting and it's a pain in the neck to get good info. If the camera and AI are even close to good enough to get nutrition stuff right, then that would be pretty cool. Probably still something I'd rather have as an app, so when it identifies my food wrong it's easy to see, but potentially cool if it works.


It seems their OS is basically just a system for routing queries to the right AI helper. That's a difficult problem, and if they're really good at it, then that is actually a pretty big deal. However, it's still a software feature, not anything inherent to the pin form factor. It's easy to imagine the next gen AI Google Assistant or Siri doing all of this, but also giving you results on your phone, which seems far more useful. It feels like they spent way too much effort to build out a hardware platform for something that is obviously a software feature. My prediction is that the pin fails, and if they're lucky they get bought by a big tech player to integrate that top level tech and maybe some of their note taking or nutrition stuff. If they're unlucky then Apple and Google will build all the notable features into their OSs within a year, and they can join that unenviable list of high profile start-ups that did something first, but goes away very quickly.


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Oh cool no apps so you can subscribe to all new stuff in order to use it! If any of this tech like say it really uses ai image tech to instantly calculate your calories actually works well, I feel they would have been better off just as a software house or something - this actual device is silly at best.

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