After eagerly awaiting the full unveiling of what the star studded team at Humane has been secretly working on for years, the time finally arrived (a little later than the scheduled 5pm) yesterday. My biggest disappointment? It’s only available in the US, so no UK release, at least initially.
The Ai Pin is a wearable, stand alone, AI powered personal computing device that has the potential to transform our relationship with technology. It can be magnetically attached to your clothing and activated with a touch, tap or swipe to bring it to life. As it’s completely stand alone, it has its own phone number. You can control the Ai Pin via voice to ask questions, play music etc. You’re able to take pictures and videos using the built in camera and also (perhaps most futuristically of all) have it project the UI on to the palm of your hand where the projected interface can then be controlled via tilting your hand and pinching your fingers. If this all sounds like something straight out of a science fiction movie, I would suggest watching the full video below to wrap your head around it.
Being more present in the moment and letting technology do most of the work, freeing us from aimlessly scrolling through your phone feels like the right move and the Ai Pin promises to let us use AI in a more natural, conversational way without being glued to a screen. To quote Humane Co-Founder Imran Chaudrhi, “the future is not on your face” and it doesn’t have to be hunched over looking at your phone screen either. I really like the idea behind the Ai Pin and the hardware is beautiful, priced well (in the US it’s launching at $699 for everything you need) but must be used with a $24 a month subscription plan via T-Mobile which provides unlimited calls, texts, AI queries and also cloud storage for all your photos and videos. One strange omission here is that there’s no way to port your current phone number (Humane says that they hope to offer number porting sometime in the future).
What’s not to like, right? Well there’s a few things that I wasn’t blown away by…
Firstly the Ai voice. After using Pi AI from Inflection Ai for a couple of months, the voice of the Ai Pin was underwhelming. For a cutting edge AI device, the voice reminds me a lot of 2018 Siri although I’m sure this is something that can be improved on over time.
Secondly, and more concerning for a wearable device that’s meant to be worn on the outside of your clothing, facing forwards, there’s seemingly no water resistance at all. In fact, the Humane website states: ‘For optimal performance, your Ai Pin and power accessories should not be exposed to water. This includes condensation, splashing, mist, and perspiration. Doing so would risk damage to your device and may void your warranty.‘
There’s also been nothing shown around some key use cases for myself, things like mobile payments and smart home controls. In the UK, we have Apple Pay basically everywhere and it’s been like that for a number of years. Reverting back to card payments doesn’t feel like the future. When it comes to smart home controls, who knows if this will be possible at all but again, I use my smart phone to control lights, blinds, locks and my thermostat multiple times per day. Hopefully Humane sheds more light on their smart home plans soon.
If you’re lucky enough to be living in the US, you can order your Humane Ai Pin from November 16th via the Humane website here. If you’re located elsewhere in the world, I share your disappointment and can only hope that they roll out to more countries including the UK very soon.