Humane AI Pin: A Conversation Starter or A Controversial Flop?

XR Vizion
5 min readNov 21, 2023

In the pulsating world of tech, one device has recently stolen the spotlight — the Humane™ AI Pin. Billed as the first display-less smartphone, it has ignited conversations, capturing imaginations and raising eyebrows in equal measure. The excitement is electric — a wearable projecting your phone onto your hand. But as the hype settles, skepticism emerges. Questions about its real-world utility have rippled across the tech landscape.

Humane AI Pin

Humane™, founded by former Apple executives, Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno (she/her), has launched the Humane AI Pin, a $699 screenless smartphone replacement featuring a magnetic battery pack, voice commands, and a laser projector for interactive gestures on the user’s palm.

Backed by a formidable $230 million and high-profile tech giants like Microsoft, OpenAI etc, the applause resonates, so too does the critique from users and tech analysts alike. Join us on a journey that goes beyond the hype, delving into the real-world questions about the Humane AI Pin’s viability. Is it a revolutionary step into the future, or a lofty promise still searching for stability? Let’s find out.

Credibility Crisis: AI Pin Struggles with Usability and Reliability Concerns

“Humane’s ambition to disrupt the smartphone is audacious, creative and even irrational; the kind of thing Silicon Valley is supposed to be known for, but which critics bemoan, in recent years has turned into incremental frivolities ”, Erin Griffith, Tripp Mickle, The New York Times.

Limited Functionality: The Humane Ai Pin faces critical challenges due to the absence of a conventional screen, limiting its usability for essential smartphone functions. The decision not to support apps further diminishes its functionality, hindering users from accessing a diverse range of applications.

Lack of Web Browsing: The Humane Ai Pin does not have a web browser. This limitation is a significant drawback, especially when the device is positioned as a smartphone replacement. Without a web browser, users may be limited in accessing real-time and accurate information, reducing the overall utility of the device.

Uncomfortable User Experience: The above demo video depicts individuals incorporating the AI Pin into their daily activities such as walking, shopping, and dining. However, a notable concern arises as using voice commands in public settings can seem socially awkward and potentially antisocial.

“The immediate problem that came to my mind is that I do not, ever, want to be talking to a voice command device in a public setting. It’s weird! It’s antisocial behavior!’, Katie Notopoulos, Senior Correspondent, Business Insider.

Inaccuracies and Reliability Issues: Humane Pin’s AI Mic, powered by GPT-4, demonstrated inaccuracies in providing information during the presentation. It incorrectly identified the best place to view the April 2024 solar eclipse. This suggests a fundamental issue with the reliability of the AI assistant, especially when it comes to providing accurate information.

Impractical Gesture Controls: The Humane Ai Pin’s gesture controls are quite impractical in everyday use. For instance : the requirement to twist one’s palm while it’s extended, raises concerns about the feasibility of such movements in real-world scenarios. Users may find it uncomfortable to perform these gestures consistently. The lack of familiarity with such unconventional gestures could lead to frustration undermining the overall usability and user-friendliness of the device.

Concerns About Long-Term Viability: The future of the AI Pin could be a potential concern, especially if OpenAI were to sunset its GPT-4 API or if Humane were to face financial difficulties. The dependence on external technologies and services raises questions about the long-term viability and sustainability of the Humane Ai Pin.

High Cost: The Humane Ai Pin’s price point of $700, coupled with a mandatory $24 monthly subscription, is highlighted as a significant concern. Given the high cost, consumers would expect a more refined and reliable product, raising questions about the value proposition.

“It’s also too early to tell whether Humane’s hope that the Pin can help people to live more in the moment will prove true, or whether it will simply provide a new way to be unhealthily obsessed with technology.” Paresh Dave, Senior Tech Reporter, WIRED.

AI as the Interface: Bill Gates’ Vision Echoes in Humane’s AI Tech

Bill Gates on the Future of Interface

One of the main drawbacks triggering negative responses is due to the AI Pin’s lack of apps and screen. Despite potential drawbacks, John Koetsier, Senior Contributor from Forbes highlights an interesting perspective. Bill Gates recently discussed the evolving role of AI, predicting the decline of apps and emphasizing “AI as the Interface of the Future’’. Interestingly, Humane’s approach aligns with this vision, utilizing a new AI software framework to eliminate the need for apps, connecting users to the right AI experiences.

“Humane’s new tech is probably telling us something about the future development of smartphones and other devices, and not just its own current first iteration of an AI Pin.”, John Koetsier, Senior Contributor, Forbes.

$230 Million Gamble: Will the Humane AI Pin Transform Tech or Fade Away?

Humane AI Pin

While the Pin sparks curiosity and offers a glimpse into a novel way of human-tech interaction, it currently appears as a venture laden with uncertainties. Only time will unveil whether it evolves into a groundbreaking invention or remains a bold but unsuccessful endeavor in the tech landscape.

“I’d love to be proven wrong and find out that it’s only the early promotional messaging that’s a bit dry and not the product or experience. But there’s nothing about the AI Pin that gives me that essential internal fizz that encourages me to open my wallet and find out”, Andy Boxall, Technology Journalist, Digital Trends Media Group.

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