Humane's $700 AI 'Pin' is a disappointment: experts

Humane's artificially intelligent 'Pin' not so intelligent after all

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Humanes AI Pin is frustrating to use. — Forbes via John Koetsier
Humane's AI Pin is frustrating to use. — Forbes via John Koetsier

Humane, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup, raised $100 million for the "Pin" gadget last year but after months of testing, the review embargo has lifted, and the $700 gizmo, has been deemed disappointing by tech reviewers.

According to The Verge's David Pierce, the device failed to even accurately report the current weather, Futurism reported.

"And half the time — seriously, at least half — I don’t even get an answer," he wrote in his review. "The system just waits, and waits, and fails."

Meanwhile, Wired reviewed it as "too clunky" and "too limited" and Engadget said that the device "solves nothing and makes me feel stupid." 

The Pin even refused to translate things properly — a major selling point used in Humane's marketing — and "would just say them back to her, in a horrible and occasionally almost mocking accent", according to Pierce.

In an uncut 20-minute video shared by Inverse's Ray Wong on social media, the Pin attempted to message one of his contacts after he asked it to buy a copy of the book "The Three-Body Problem."

"No, don't message her!" Wong scolded the device.

Humane envisioned the device as a potential partial replacement for smartphones to allow people avoid staring at screens for too long on a daily basis.

The device resembles an iPod and mounts to your chest using a magnet booster.

Despite a replaceable battery, the device struggles to last a day. Instead of a small screen, the startup uses a unique "Laser Ink" projector that can shine things onto the palm of your hand.

"The projector’s 720p resolution is crap, and it only projects green light, but it does a good-enough job of projecting text onto your hand unless you’re in bright light, and then it’s just about invisible," Pierce wrote.

In short, the device can't really do much of anything it was designed to do well, if at all but Wong says that the first-generation poroduct has potential for improvement. 

However, the success of future versions remains uncertain. 

Humane is already struggling financially, with a 4% layoff in January, months before the device even began shipping.

The experience is similar to interacting with an AI chatbot on the go, but with noise, inaccurate speech detection, and a clunky user interface.

The expensive, outdated device is far ahead of its time and may not significantly improve smartphone usage, highlighting the limitations of AI and its potential for frustration.

"If there’s a lesson here, though, it’s that rather than splurging on a new device that promises to fix our problems we may be better off forcing ourselves to use the ones we have more judiciously," WaPo wrote in its review.