- The small wearable AI pin integrates AI into daily life for a price, but privacy concerns loom.
Humane, an AI developer business, unveiled the first generation of its wearable AI pin on Thursday. Humane also verified the report that the pin will cost $699 for the entire system, describing it as a new beginning for personal consumer technology.
Humane, based in San Francisco, claims the AI pin took four years to develop and includes investments and creative collaborations with Microsoft, OpenAI, T-Mobile, TIDAL, and others.
Users communicate with the Humane AI pin by speaking directly to it or by utilizing a laser ink display that projects onto the user’s palm. According to Humane, the AI pin includes a photo mode, a voice-to-text feature that lets users compose messages using their voice, a language interpreter, and a “Catch Me Up” feature that sorts through emails and messages, in addition to an AI-powered music experience (thanks to a partnership with streaming platform TIDAL).
The Humane AI Pin
During Coperni designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant’s runway show during Paris Fashion Week in September, supermodel Naomi Campbell wore the Humane AI pin.
“Humane is committed to building a future where AI seamlessly integrates into every aspect of our lives and enhances our daily experiences,” the company said in a statement shared with Decrypt. “The launch of the AI pin marks the beginning of this journey and the start of an exciting new chapter in AI-powered personal technology.”
“The amount of interest and activity in AI has increased 10x since November 2022 when ChatGPT officially became a part of the zeitgeist,” said Om Malik, a prominent tech journalist, author, and emeritus partner at venture capital company True Ventures.
Malik noted that the desire for smaller, more personal AI to assist people in managing the digital world dates back decades, to personal digital assistant devices such as the Palm Pilot. However, he stated that with the proliferation of technology, it can be difficult for humans to contextualize everything becoming digital and coping with continual distractions.
“We are at a point in a society where things are going to get more complex, and AI is going to have to play a role in it, and it’s going to have to augment human capability,” Malik said in an interview.
Fully immersive and wearable technology may appear to be something out of Ready Player One. Nonetheless, firms such as StarVR, Actronika, and Ultraleap are developing headgear and haptic vests to enhance online interactions with actual sensations. Companies such as Meta and Rewind are also working on personal AI helpers that will offer consumers with a chatbot to bring with them wherever they go.
While entering into a virtual combat may pique the interest of some, Malik believes that the joy of technology like Humane’s AI pin stems from the progressive adoption of a personal AI system.
“When you come up with a new interface, you have a very directional idea of where we are going,” Malik said. “Think of Humane as a way AI gets implemented into devices, and into our lives. It comes as piecemeal. ChatGPT is one way of interacting with it but there are many ways of interacting with AI.”
Skeptics might object to the thought of a wearable AI listening in and recording everything you say or do. Humane says the AI pin is designed to be activated only when the user interacts with the gadget, and it does not require “wake words” like Alexa or Siri, instead inducing a “trust light” that signals when sensors are active.
Despite these guarantees, Malik cautioned users to exercise caution when using Humane’s AI pin, noting that Humane’s biggest challenge is privacy, and he is not entirely convinced by their claims—as evidenced by a statement he released this morning.
“This is a brave new world, and I am not entirely convinced that Humane has fully solved the privacy challenge,” Malik wrote on his personal website. “Sure, the AI pin comes with a trust ring—when it is in use and faces someone, it lets those across from you know it is active by turning on a green ring. A red ring means it is off. It is a bit too nuanced if you ask me. It feels a little unsettling and creepy..or maybe I am being too much of an old fogey.” He added.