Launch of a brooch in the US that uses artificial intelligence shows the search for technology beyond screens
There is a race to kill the cell phone. Kill in the sense of creating devices that replace this technology that has become hegemonic in a record period. All big techs they have research projects with this objective, from Apple to Microsoft, from Google to Facebook.
But the first person who shouted that she was going to kill the cell phone was Humane, a startup created by 2 former Apple employees who launched on Thursday (16.Nov.2023) a brooch (or “pin”, as they say in English) with artificial intelligence resources, called AiPin. Launching is the way to say it. The company is accepting orders starting tomorrow, but delivery will only be made in 2024.
The company’s goal is for the brooch to become your personal assistant, with voice and gesture control. With one tap, you can record reminders. As it doesn’t have a screen, after all, it’s just a brooch, it has a micro projector that makes the images appear on a wall or in the palm of your hand. The device takes photos, videos and can access the internet or applications that will be created for it. It’s as futuristic as the gadgets from the Jetsons. In the US, it will cost US$699, plus a monthly subscription of US$24.
Humane is explicit in its plan to liquidate the phone. The brooch is called “cell phone killer”. O marketing of the little device began via the glamor of the super-rich. Model Naomi Campbell modeled the brooch on September 30 at Paris Fashion Week. It was the first public appearance of the device.
“Cell phone killer” could be a good sloganbut does the brooch have all that potential?
Cell phones are used by 5.6 billion people in the world, a contingent that corresponds to 2/3 of the world’s population. Of the 5.6 billion, 84% use smartphonesphones capable of connecting to the internet, that is, 4.7 billion people consult the internet via cell phone, all according to compilations from DataReportal, a statistics portal located in Singapore.
It is obvious that a gadget expensive – it costs US$ 100 less than the most expensive iPhone, the 15 – it won’t even make a dent in the cell phone market. A comparison: Meta’s RayBan, also a personal assistant with AI capabilities, costs US$299. Exorbitant price is not always a deterrent. Apple became the most valuable company in the world by charging a lot for its products, but delivering quality that was almost always unsurpassed by its competitors.
Humane was created 5 years ago by 2 former Apple employees from the design area: Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. In a video, they explain the invention they created.
In March, the startup received a $100 million injection from Microsoft, LG and Tiger Global, before even announcing that it would make an AI wearable product. In total, Humane raised US$200 million – it even has investment from the CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, the most successful company in 2023 in Silicon Valley due to ChatGPT.
The 2 designers identified problems that everyone knows about: screen fatigue, the cheap manipulation of social networks and the consumer’s desire to wear technology. But is a blowjob what this screen-weary user is looking for? Does he want to exchange the screen for a projection in the palm of his hand? I do not know.
AiPin’s biggest problem is what it doesn’t have, according to experts I agree with. It does not have access to email or documents, just for the basic functions that any cell phone offers. The supply of applications is unknown. To view the photos and videos, you need to access a Humane app, which seems like a giant step backwards for those who want to kill their cell phones. There is a lot of uncertainty about privacy issues. Will the pin be as secure as Apple products? Nobody knows.
In an interview published on the Humane website, Imran Chaudhri says what seems to me to be the essential thing about the near future: no one really knows how AI products will be distributed, which opens up a huge space for innovation. According to Chaudhri, the excitement about what will come from AI is similar to the beginning of the internet, in the 1980s and 1990s. Everything is yet to be done.
He and his wife, Bethany Bongiorno, bet on the brooch, just as they could have created a ring, a bracelet or a watch. The designer says the essential idea of the brooch is to be a vehicle for AI, which he calls an “AI bus”.
In this interview, Chaudhri contradicts the slogan “cell phone killer”. “We’re exploring possibilities in all of these spaces so you can rethink your experience with music, shopping, communication and more. That’s what’s different. It’s not about replacing something or declaring app stores obsolete.”.
I love it when businesspeople debunk marketers. Better that way. As any mane knows, sparkling water bubbles, but it’s not champagne. Brooch is cute, but it doesn’t kill anything.