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Humane AI Pin (ma.ne)
422 points by jen20 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 383 comments



Related ongoing thread:

The Humane AI Pin Launches Its Campaign to Replace Phones - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=38207656 - Nov 2023 (130 comments)


For all the reasons that this might not take off, what a thrill that people are trying something new--and it looks really nicely designed too.

I think this is easy to dismiss at first glance, but I genuinely believe they're trying to think about a new mode of interaction. The idea that "the computer will disappear" is probably accurate in the long term. Except for content delivery (reading, photos, movies), most tasks we achieve via computers and phones do not strictly require a screen. It's probably a good thing if computers did a better job of getting out of the way, and stop so loudly disrupting human interactions.

Whether this will be the solution is unclear; the privacy/creepiness angle is still real with an outwards-facing camera. Latency and battery life limitations might be too significant. The cost will be a non-starter for many (it is for me).

But I'm still impressed because there was a vision here. The conversational interface has never worked before for many reasons, but that does not mean it cannot work in principle, or that the ideal implementation would not be spellbinding. I'm glad they're trying. Also, the laser display is neat!


First, I’m really excited people are trying new things, but I won’t be buying this just based on the demo.

> The conversational interface has never worked before for many reasons, but that does not mean it cannot work in principle, …. I'm glad they're trying. Also, the laser display is neat!

So I did a lot of work over the years to research voice UI/UX and I’m very skeptical about this, even with the LLM stuff. I think an LLM was missing from the Siri/alexa era to transform it from “audio cli” to “chat interface” but there’s a few reasons besides that it didn’t catch on.

The information density and linearity of chat, voice especially, is a big problem.

When you look at a screen, your eyes can move in 2 dimensions. You can have sidebars, you can have text fields organized in paragraphs and buttons and bars etc. Not so with chatting - when you add linearity (you can only listen to or read one thing at a time, conversation can only present one list at a time) it becomes really slow to navigate any sort of decision or menu trees. Mobile-first have simplified this of course, but it’s not enough. Reading TTS becomes even slower to find the info you care about. It’s found a place for simple controls (smarthome, media, timers, etc) and simple information retrieval (weather, announce doorbell, read last text). Then there’s the obvious problem of talking out loud in public, false response recognition etc which are necessary evils of a voice UI.

I think the best hope for a voice device like this is to (as they’ve done) focus on simple experiences like “what’s I miss recently” and hope an AI can do a good enough job.

The laser display might help with presenting a full menu at once (media controls being an easy example), but it probably will end up being a pain to use (eg like a worse smartwatch).

Honestly though, my biggest hesitation (which could end up great) is the “pin” design. It’s novel, especially with the projector, but how heavy is it and how will that impact the comfort of my clothes? What about when wearing a jacket or scarf? Will this flop around while walking? Etc.


There is also a lack of serendipity or explorability with voice: How do you know whats possible? There is a reason a GUI menu is called a menu. It not only gives you access to multiple options but also at a glance an overview what options are there, like a restaurant menu.


Discoverability is the term; e.g., "What Can I Say? Effects of Discoverability in VUIs on Task Performance and User Experience" https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3405755.3406119


It'll flop everywhere, not just while walking. Boom boom.

But yeah I've been thinking that too. "Oh, put my coat on - better spend 30 seconds messing around with my pin" [...] "Ahhh back in the office. There goes another thirty seconds moving the pin so it can film me looking at a screen for four hours"

And yeah, I feel like the weight would definitely pull my jumper or t-shirt out of shape, and make things like my collar/neckline look out of whack. Maybe they'll bring out a range of clothes suitable for it, or suggest you wear a coat indoors like the woman in the video is doing.


Linear conversation is a big problem for anything beyond simple, casual usage. It is the reason that YouTube is a terrible research platform. Is the information you want inside that 3-hour video? Possibly, but with text I can search an article for content or skim sections to determine if it's worth a deeper read.

Let's not forget the value of non-linear input. Good search terms are often constructed rather than spilled forth. Sometimes I enter search terms, read it and realize that it's like to return unrelated results and need to modify it. By the time I realize this while speaking to an AI it's already spitting out the wrong information.

This leads to a need for altered interfaces that allow these scenarios to be accomodated. This is v1.0. Let's see where it goes.


>Will this flop around while walking?

If a science fiction author was writing it, the need for stiffer fabrics to support chest cameras would synergize with a neo-Victorianism in generation alpha. (Formal button-up shirts and higher necklines for enforced modesty)


IMO, with LLMs we won't really need information density except for certain classes of people.

Even now - clicking through some insurance company's website hierarchy to find something out is insanely painful.

But even for researching things that we should probably care about enough to do it ourselves, correlating different sources of information or working through abstract/ambiguous problems... the vast majority of ordinary people will 100% take the easy way out and let LLMs do most of the thinking for them. Even with free GPT-3, people are unflinchingly having LLMs solve problems they don't want to think about too deeply. What they pay for, with occasional inaccuracy, is more than offset by convenience.


> IMO, with LLMs we won't really need information density except for certain classes of people.

Maybe, but I don’t know if that day is here yet. I think “most people” do actually consume information. Like reading an insurance company’s website is pretty rare compared to things like using the Amazon App. Like it’d be hard to consume a list of 5+ push notifications via voice if you had to listen to them 1 by 1 instead of skimming them in a list next to their icons.

Even simple things like scrolling through a list of songs becomes painful. I have like 10k songs in my (streaming) library Sometimes I randomly scroll through it to find old music. That sounds impossible on voice. I’d be stuck with “shuffle” mode.

Being able to summarize and search text conversations via voice queries from their demo would be nice, but today that’s a task that you need a screen for.

The demo video shows the man buying a book online via voice after holding it up to the camera. How often is that the online shopping experience? I can’t imagine shopping without a screen 95% of the time.


>we won't really need information density

we may not need it but we certainly prefer it. People went completely voluntary from voice calling to texting and within texting to ever terser forms to the point were an entire website was built around a short character limit.

Except for people with disability I have not really seen a single case where that tendency towards compactness is reversed in communication.


> most tasks we achieve via computers and phones do not strictly require a screen.

X (doubt). There are unfortunately only 5 senses that our brains can interact with the outside world, and visual ways are the most information dense and the easiest to utilize. The screen isn't going away anytime soon.

Projector to me are same as screen - they've been around for as long too.

Though I do look forward to direct computer-brain interface, like introducing a 6th sense.


Projectors really love flat, non-moving surfaces. Will be interesting to see how they've coped with a wiggly hand wiggling around or in motion.


I highly doubt this thing is even usable outdoors. You would need pretty insane brightness levels for this to work in the sunlight. Companies have been trying to make projects with touch input for years, and nobody has gotten close to anything resembling a consumer product, I highly doubt they achieved it here


I agree, even though I'll reserve judgement until trying it. But it remains that limitations in power are unavoidable, and projecting a laser image onto a hand in daylight is going to use an awful lot of juice, particularly given the projector is so tiny I've no idea how this can be done so it's functional, nevermind "insanely great". Same goes for their claim that the speakers inside this tiny device are worthy of getting sound to the ears while skateboarding outdoors. You can have all the Head Related Transfer Functions in the world but again, you need speakers and amplifiers on the order of several watts to get the sound up to the ears. My iPhone Pro Max sounds great and loud in a quiet room, but take it onto the street to play music, it's barely audible. Also not sure how the device will know what kind of HRTF to use given its placement is going to vary so much.


The 5 senses thing is long-disproven rubbish. Humans have hundreds of senses.


Would love to hear what the rest of those are, please be specific.


Well, for instance, what is commonly referred to as "touch" is actually a whole bundle of senses. There's the actual sensation of pressure, but also texture, temperature, surface finish, the physical position of your various body parts, your sense of balance, etc etc.


Okay, but unless you're suggesting a computer interface based on proprioception, I'm not sure that that's relevant to the topic at hand.

I too would be interested to see an enumerated list of over 100 senses.


Isn't that what all the various VR glove type controllers are?


No, but points for a solid attempt. Senses are input (to the body), not output. Glove controllers are just output via movement, just like keyboards and touchscreens.

True, part of what makes them cool is that your proprioception more or less agrees with the virtual hand that you see in your headset, but that's just window dressing. The computer has no way to control that.


Can't help but notice that you again didn't answer the question. I will third the request.


not the parent but I posted an honest attempt at such a list on the sister comment if you're interested :)


Rather pushy demand for well after the East Coast has gone to sleep.


Ok, 100 senses could be too many for you to type. Maybe could you list 20 human senses?


I'm no biology expert but had to study some of this for my robotics degree not so long ago.

"Sight" split into rods for brightness sensitivity, and cones, each of which is deicated to one out of red, green, and blue. green is wider gamut of color than the others because there is a lot of green in nature. These sensors are fully independant of each other for the most part, although there is minor overlap between cones which is what we call other colors (yellow etc)

"Taste" Again split into different specialised papillae sensors. I dont remember so well, but its something like foliate for sour sensing, fungiform for salty, and vallate for bitter/poison. There is also sweet I dont remember the name, and some argue for umami

"Touch" There are an ungodly number of very distinct senses that go into touch. From more abstract ones like pain, heat/cold, moisture (not evenly distributed around body, for example have to touch things to lips to distinguish cold from wet), proprioception for joints (arguably an independant sense for each joint, or at least each "kind" of joint, because the biological mechanism is different for ball joints to saddle joints etc as well as specialised proprioception for eyeballs, tongue etc)

Then in actual touch touch there is Ruffini corpuscles sensing skin stretching and slippage of objects past the skin

Merkel discs, which senses pressure applied to the skin and low frequency vibration

Meissner's corpuscles, which sense vibrations in middle range. They are very sensitive and allow very slight sensing of tiny impulses such as picking up an insect's wing

Pacinian corpuscle sense extremely fast vibration which among other things allow the distinction between "rough" and "smooth" surfaces (by mechanical movement causing vibration)

There are also free nerve endings sensing stuff like itching and bruising.

Hair foillicles also sense movement and stretching of the hair they are attached too, which provides more touch data. Incidentally this mechanism is also used for balance and hearing via really complicated interactions of tiny hairs in the ear.

"Smell" Smell is fiendishly complex, it actually is more akin to the way antibodies in the body are made in the sense it consists of thousands (and millions) of specialised sensors made to "fit" and attach to individual compounds, so there are almost limitless individual senses of smell

There is also a whole lot of internal sensor data for things like breathing (you know when you are short of breath), digestion you know when you are full, or when you are craving one of a number of things sweet salty etc), bladder control.

This is mostly off the top of my head and i'm certain i'm misremembering some of the subtlties and a whole bunch more senses both obscure and immediately recognisable ones to any owner of a human body


This is super interesting, and I appreciate the level of detail and thought that went into your response. Some I'm willing to accept, like hot/cold being distinct from pressure being distinct from pain. (Spinal cord injury, for instance, can impair pressure perception in a particular part of the body without affecting hot/cold. And lumping joint pain in with "touch" is just silly.)

On the other hand, in the context of the discussion, it's hard to support the argument that you can count each colour channel separately just because the biological mechanics differ. You can't actually triple the amount of human-perceptable information by going from a monochrome to full colour display.

The point remains that we've plucked the low-hanging fruit when it comes to high-bandwidth human senses (or meta-senses if you insist on being pedantic). No one will buy a PUI (pain user interface).


absolubtely! sight is an amazingly high-bandwidth sense, as is hearing.

Other types of interfaces do exist, for example ive worked with vibration motor arrays placed on the skin for various purposes such as assisting in guiding the arm of a patient to target a specific point (vibrate on side closest to target) etc. We also worked with pads of electrical patches that pass small currents through the skin to produce a distinct sensation, like pain but barely at the threshold of being noticable. These were used for first responders, placed along the side of the torso underneath the clothes with flat profile, allowing them to have handsfree silent communication with low bandwidth. Something like "up up left left" being pre-agreed to mean leave the structure now etc. Another fun one I wanted to mention is in-mouth joysticks controlled with the tongue for quadreplegic patients to allow them to move a wheelchair or robot arm to regain some small independance (might seem like it would be uselessly hard to achieve anything with an arm controlled that way but the emotional impact of independance can't be understated for such people, even a simple task can be very meaningful)

They won't be as good as screens or audio unfortunately. But they can exist. Even braille screens and keyboards exist as a nice product and are reasonably high bandwidth.


> On the other hand, in the context of the discussion, it's hard to support the argument that you can count each colour channel separately just because the biological mechanics differ. You can't actually triple the amount of human-perceptable information by going from a monochrome to full colour display.

You absolutely LOSE perceptible information when you lose one of then channels, like in color blindness.


I mean you can separate a screen out into a bunch of pixels as well, or specifically blue, red, green pixels.

Even on the vision front, we have rods and cones that works differently to generate ONE vision.

This is entirely semantics.


Not sure there are hundreds, but just to add one example beyond “the five”: Proprioception [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception


> Whether this will be the solution is unclear; the privacy/creepiness angle is still real with an outwards-facing camera.

I don't think you're wrong, but it's funny that we aren't as concerned about everyone walking around with outwards-facing phone cameras.


Or microphones being present absolutely everywhere.

I myself never felt like taping my camera, I feel like if someone pwned my system I would be much more worried about the leaked audio.


It's funny, I see people cover up the webcam on their laptops all the time, but not their phones. They forget that there's a camera on both sides of the phone.


Webcams in laptops are shitty cameras, and for most people, they're useless anyway (even in post-pandemic era, hardly anyone does conference calls, video or otherwise). Meanwhile, "selfie camera" is like literally the main purpose of the phone for a large chunk of the population.


tbf those are usually in a pocker or down facing, with filming being an explicit and purposeful action


Plenty of people are walking around, or sitting in a public place with their phone cameras facing out to the world.


I think what the parent comment was saying is that when being held in a normal manner, the phone is facing about 45 degrees below the horizon, so it can't see much except people's legs. To film people's faces and such, you'd have to tilt the phone up much higher than you would if you were just writing a text message / email or browsing the web. If you try writing a text on a phone that's angled up to the horizon like that, it's harder to type and harder to read the screen.


The wide angle lens on my iPhone can capture a pretty good portion of my current room even with my phone angled 45 degrees down.


True. I suppose the social conventions around overt vs covert use of smartphone cameras evolved before wide-angle cameras on phones became common, since wide-angle cameras on phones are a pretty new thing.


And especially since we can now make cameras small enough that you'd never know they were there. Even OVM6948 is commercially available, the size of a "grain of sand".

I've always said that privacy is an illusion, the usual example I give is: "You're lying in bed with the curtains drawn, you see a shadow fall across the curtains that looks like a person standing outside. Do you, or do you not have privacy?"

If the shadow turns out to be a person peeking through the curtains, then you don't. If the shadow turns out to be primal brain + tree shadow then you do. Schrodinger style.

Privacy is probably best described (as it sometimes is) as a "sense" of privacy I guess.


Well said.


Yeah, I expect that this will die a horrible death in the market, but it's definitely interesting with it's Star Trek vibe. :)

The next generation of devices that incorporate some of these features might be more successful.


I imagine if this company is successful, it will become quite the enterprise.


This doesn't feel like the right product for a lot of reasons. (Wait...do I have to pin it to the outside of my coat when I put that on? What's the battery life outside a coat in winter? Will it catch on my seatbelt?) Lots of practical problems for a lot of people. Still, LOTS of interesting ideas here.


> It's probably a good thing if computers did a better job of getting out of the way, and stop so loudly disrupting human interactions.

And that is not this. Talking out loud every few moments with verbal commands do a device is way more annoying that someone looking at and typing on a phone

That said, I agree with you at a glance it's neat. I think in reality though it's a poor idea given how often people need to give a verbal command.


The talking out loud I agree is problematic. The bluetooth functionality and increasing quality audio pass through give me hope for a simple earphone in one ear, and eventually... this: https://x.com/ruohanzhang76/status/1720525179028406492

Also bullish on hand gesture control. Maybe most stuff will eventually become jutsu level fancy hand movements lol. What a time to be alive. It is easy to remain grateful in this age of rapid progress.


The problem is the voice-based approach: it won't work reliably in loud environments, it won't be usable in a doctor's waiting room, libraries and other quiet environments, and some people simply don't like voice UIs.

If you want the computer to disappear, why not a better smartwatch? Or glasses, this time without the sci-fi gadget look? Both could support the exact same featureset but with a screen.


> The idea that "the computer will disappear" is probably accurate in the long term.

Why though? Computer requires attention, which pretty much rules out doing something else while using it, except perhaps when passively listening to a podcast (which doesnt really qualify as computer use). Even though we may see new mediums, the mode of interaction will remain similar to that of a book


I agree. This looks like a gadget, which means I probably won't rush to buy one, but I'm glad people are trying to push the envelope.


Haha in the demo he asks "when is the next solar eclipse and where is the best place to see it?" - The AI responds correctly that it's on April the 8th 2024, but then clearly hallucinates like crazy and says "the best places to see it are in Exmouth, Australia and East Timor" which is totally incorrect - this eclipse will be visible only in North America, and invisible in Australia and East Timor. Good job he didn't ask it to book flights to Australia on the 7th of April.

You'd think your tech demo would check to see if your AI was hallucinating!


It also says that amount of almonds has 15g of protein, which would actually be like 50 almonds according to a few different online nutrition sites.

Cant believe they left this stuff in.

Gotta at least make it seem good in the commercial, this ended up being the opposite of a sizzle reel


I think people are very eager to believe AI is useful in ways it often isn’t. Kind of like the crypto hype. People were willfully ignorant to how little sense it made in so many contexts. The common thread here is “yeah, but money!”

I’m not an AI detractor. I use it and really like it. I just don’t like it for information like this. Anything where the response needs to be verified yet is very brief makes no sense to bounce off of an AI, in my opinion.


Kinda shows you what their target audience is.


Google received significant backlash for this when demoing Bard: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-64576225


Because of stuff like this I don't get how you can trust it not to hallucinate when it summarizes your inbox.


IME LLMs hallucinate much less when given a text that it can summarize or answer questions about vs. asking it to generate something


Yep, the eclipse answer was incorrect (1).

You’d think they’d have learned their lesson after Google Bard’s hallucinated demo!

(1) https://www.space.com/33784-solar-eclipse-guide.html


this is aside but I really don't think you need to use a footnote if your comment is two sentences and a link


I appreciate it and do it myself. If HN supported hyperlinks of our words the way html does we could just do that, but footnotes are the next best thing. Big unreadable links in the middle of what you're saying, even just one sentence, muddy the message.


I was also gonna link to the Bard article, but was lazy.


Biggest issue is that people hate talking to computers in public.

Alexa was the closest to achieve significant usage since you can use it within the privacy of your home.

For voice UIs the non clear boundaries on what you think it can or cannot do is also a huge hurdle. After you get a couple “sorry I cannot do that” you stop using it


Yeah, unless the utility of this devices is large enough to override existing cultural norms, there's actually very few venues where it feels "comfortable" to voice interact with a device.

I went through this exercise with GPT voice. It's an awesome capability, but other than perhaps walking outside, or sitting in my office, there's no other space where it feels "ok" to just spontaneously talk to something.

A grey area is when you perhaps have headphones in / on and it looks like you're in a phone conversation with somebody, then it kinda feels ok, but generally you're not going to take a phone conversation in a public area without distancing yourself from others.

There's a reason most casual communication these days is text rather than voice or video calls.


> it looks like you're in a phone conversation with somebody

Even though everyone's seen AirPods by now, in those rare occasions when I'm on the phone in public, I feel compelled to have my phone out and vaguely talking at it, so it's clear I'm on a phone call and not a crazy person.

I'm curious if we would see similar usage with the pin, where voice commands in public are always performed with the hand up for the projection screen (it will still prompt looks, but hopefully be clear in context, "oh they're doing some tech thing").

Of course at this price point, it's highly dubious that we'll see anywhere near the ubiquitous market penetration of AirPods (which garner understandable complaints about the price point sub-$200, and that's with a clear value prop).


I don't mind the earphones, but often headsets are entirely impractical. Most notably, in the case of any sort of weather, wind, etc. A phone can also get rained on, but its a bit easier to keep safe.

The other reason they are mostly impractical - keeping a charge. *wired* headsets were great in this regard, but then there's the wire, and now, there's the phone (that may not even support the wire?).


The weirdness is caused by the incantation all these things have. Once you can just talk to the AI without doing anything, just talk to it, it'll catch on very easily.


"Siri, lights to half."

"Siri, lights to HALF."

"Siri, lights to HAAAAALF."

"Siri, LIGHTS TO FIFTY PERCENT!"


This fortunately is a solved problem. Or will be, once Amazon, Apple and Google get out of their asses and plug a better voice recognition model to an LLM.

Silly how OpenAI could blow all voice assistants out of the water today, if they just added Android intents as function calls to the ChatGPT app. Yes, the "voice chat mode" is that good.


I know i'm getting close to Torment Nexus territory but how do you get an LLM to run code as the response? Given that an LLM basically calculates the most probable text that follows a prompt, how do you then go from that response to a function call that flips a lightswitch? Seems like you'd need some other ML/AI that takes the LLM output and figures out it most likely means a certain call to an API and then executes that call.

With alexa i can program if/then statements, like basically when i say X then do Y. If something like chatgpt requires the same thing then i don't see the advantage.


> With alexa i can program if/then statements, like basically when i say X then do Y. If something like chatgpt requires the same thing then i don't see the advantage.

Yes, I was thinking about even something as if/then, which could be configured in the UI and manifest to GPT-4 as the usual function call stuff.

The advantage here would be twofold:

1. GPT-4 won't need you to talk a weird command language; it's quite good at understanding regular talk and turning it into structured data. It will have no problem understanding things like "oh flip the lights in the living room and run some music, idk, maybe some Beatles", followed by "nah, too bright, tone it down a little", and reliably converting them into data you could feed to your if/else logic.

2. ChatGPT (the app) has a voice recognition model that, unlike Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa, does not suck. It's the first model I've experienced that can convert my casual speech into text with 95%+ accuracy even with lots of ambient noise.

Those are the features ChatGPT app offers today. Right now, if they added a basic bidirectional Tasker integration (user-configurable "function calls" emitting structured data for Tasker, and ability for Tasker to add messages into chat), anyone could quickly DIY something 20x better than Google Assistant.


At some point you've got to get from language to action, yes - in my case, I use the LLM as a multi-stage classifier, mapping from a set of high-level areas of capability, to more focused mappings to specific systems and capabilities. So the first layer of classification might say something like "this interaction was about <environmental control>" where <environmental control> is one of a finite set of possible systems. The next layer might say something like "this is about <lighting>", and the next layer may now have enough information to interrogate using a specific enough prompt (which may be generated based on a capability definition, so for example "determine any physical location, an action, and any inputs regarding colour or brightness from the following input" - which can be generated from the possible inputs of the capability you think you're addressing).

Of course this isn't fool proof, and there still needs to be work defining capabilities of systems, etc. (although these are tasks AI can assist with). But it's promising - "teaching" the system how to do new things is relatively simple, and effectively akin to describing capabilities rather than programming directly.


> If something like chatgpt requires the same thing then i don't see the advantage.

So LLMs today can do this a few ways. One they can write and execute code. You can ask for some complex math (eg calculate the tip for this bill), and the LLM can respond with a python program to execute that math, then the wrapping program can execute this and return the result. You can scale this up a bit, use your creativity at the possiblities (eg SQL queries, one-off UIs, etc).

You can also use an LLM to “craft a call to an API from <api library>”. Today, Alexa basically works by calling an API. You get a weather api, a timer api, etc and make them all conform to the Alexa standard. An LLM can one-up it by using any existing API unchanged, as long as there’s adequate documentation somewhere for the LLM.

An LLM won’t revolutionize Alexa type use cases, but it will give it a way to reach the “long tail” of APIs and data retrieval. LLMs are pretty novel for the “write custom code to solve this unique problem” use case.


Yup, from where I see it, the only thing(s) holding llms back from generating api calls on the fly in a voice chat scenario is probably latency (and to a lesser degree malformed output)


Yea, the latency is absolutely killing a lot of this. Alexa first-party APIs of course are tuned, and reside in the same datacenter, so its fast, but a west-coast US LLM trying to control a Philips Hue will discover they're crossing the Atlantic for their calls, which probably would compete with an LLM for how slow it can be.

> and to a lesser degree malformed output

What's cool, is that this isn't a huge issue. Most LLMs how have "grammar" controls, where the model doesn't select any character as the next one, it selects the highest-probability character that conforms to the grammar. This dramatically helps things like well-formed JSON (or XML or... ) output.


Disagree. Extra latency of adding LLMs to a voice pipeline is not that much compared to doing voice via cloud in the first place. Improved accuracy and handling of natural language queries would be worth it relative to the barely-working "assistants" that people only ever use to set timers, and they can't even handle that correctly half the time.


Check out “LLM tool use”

The basic idea is to instruct the llm to output some kind of signal in text (often a json blob) that describes what it should do, then have a normal program use that json to execute some function.


Google's version could have flawless voice recognition backed with AGI. Within a couple years, it will decay and fail randomly with setting timers.


ChatGPT's voice bot vs. PI's voice bot is lacking in Pi's personality and zing. PI is completely free and Ive been using it since beginning of October. Chat GPT's i have to pay $20 and for a lesser voice (personality / tone of voice is more monotone) bot.


It's staggering to me that Apple has not improved on the UI for "try again" or "keep trying", whether the fault is with Siri itself, or just network conditions. It seems like (relatively) low-hanging fruit, compared to the challenges of improving the engine. (I don't use any other voice assistants, no idea how well they do here.)


For iOS, there's nothing more frustrating than dictating a long note only to have it come back with try again.


Feels like there needs to be more frequent feedback about what Siri is doing in cases like that instead of treating the whole input as a single unit.


If I want to ask ChatGPT about something I will, and the speech-to-text is a lot faster than typing on my phone. There's no voice incantation needed, rather a button press, but people still raise their eyebrows and make me feel self-conscious. I wish I could subvocalize to it like I remember reading about in the book series Artemis Fowl.


I agree, BUT, i think it's going to get a lot better soon. Ie i loathe Siri because it felt like there was always some incantation i had to remember. Like a very terrible CLI. LLMs though, even if we never get intelligence right, i think can help this area significantly.

Combine that with areas like GPT Vision, (GPT?) Whisper, etc .. it'll start feeling a lot more natural here very soon i suspect.

TBH i'm surprised Apple isn't pushing this much harder. They tout Siri so hard but it's just worthless to me. It feels like apple could make a AI Pin like this, but visibly from the public side i have zero idea that the're even working in this space. It feels like they purposefully watched the boat sail away.

edit: Sidenote, Pin + Airpods would be a nice way to interface more quietly too.


The Google assistant has been years ahead of Siri and Alexa for a good while now. I've been able to give it really loose sloppy commands, even stuttering or backtracking on my sentences, and does a competent job of figuring out what I want. In my experience Siri is much more dependent on keywords and certain phrasing, and doesn't quite integrate as deeply into one's life because Apple isn't doesn't play Google's game of slurping up all your personal data and all the public data on the internet.

These next gen AI voice assistants are still a solid improvement over Google's current offerings, but they'll feel like a massive jump into the future for folks that have been stuck in Apple's ecosystem, and that's probably where the biggest opportunity lies.


Agreed. I have the new Meta Ray-Ban glasses, and have been pleasantly surprised with how soft I can speak since the mics are so close to my mouth, but still don't enjoy doing it in public.


Well, I hated talking to Siri in public because about 70% of the time it did what I want and 30% of the time it made me feel like a fool for even trying. That 30% was what killed it for me after giving it a serious go around the time Apple was rolling out shortcuts.

After watching the presentation, I am now curious about Humane’s thing though, but I’m still going to hold off for a bit because I want to see the failure modes first and I also don’t want to rush out and be one of the first to buy the brand new 3Com Audrey.


Any way we could capture subvocalizations?


The only reason people don't like talking to computers in public is that it's distinguishable in an awkward way from talking to humans in public. That's not going to be an issue for much longer. ChatGPT voice mode is about 99% of the way there. The only remaining issue is the cadence of the conversation -- you can't interrupt ChatGPT naturally, you have to press a button.


The issue is that your private communications are now audible by the people around you. It’s one thing when it’s to another person and you can whisper and share social context, it’s another when it’s at a good volume and contextless.


These don't seem like real issues to me. They are the exact same issues you have when you are talking to humans. And the way we solve that issue with humans is that we only have conversations around other humans that we are comfortable having. We save sensitive conversations for when we are not in public.


Except there’s no way to have a sensitive conversation on this device that isn’t spoken. With my phone I can. That’s part of my point.


You can talk through your earbud.


That solves nothing.

The issues isn’t “communicating with the device” it’s “communicating around other people”.

I have almost negative interest in having to recite the technical specifics of my web search to my phone on the train to work. I have even less interest in having to listen to the person next to me trying to do the same.


Again, if there is no way to distinguish a conversation with an AI with a conversation with a human, then there's no barrier.

I don't see how what you are saying holds any water in that scenario.


Typing already allows sensitive conversations with computers in public as long as no one is directly peeking at your screen. When I talk to humans in public, I'm not using them as an utility tool to manage information for me, because computers do a better job. These aren't comparable scenarios.


> The only reason people don't like talking to computers in public is that ...

It does not seem right to speak of a single reason. There are probably multiple. So, IMHO it would be more productive to come up with a list and put some weights on the options if you want to dissect this matter.

IMHO one very strong factor / important reason (one that you ignore) is the social context. Ie the reaction of others in the same physical space, as you start talking out loud, seemingly unmotivated.

Humans are social animals, and so the reaction of others to the actions you do tend to be very important to a large fraction of the population. What is acceptable in one context simply isn't in another. Also, the exact tolerances tend to differ with the local culture (here "local" is used in the sense "geographically/physically local")

It's not just about not annoying others here. In this case it's also about a thing as imprecise as "perceived self image". Some people (I'd argue, most people) dislike having the perception that others perceive them to be mentally unstable or rude. Most people need some kind of social acceptance for the actions they do.

One significant trait of some mental instabilities (as well as some drug induced behavioral changes) is that those affected will spontanously start talking in public. You will probably know the Tourettes Syndrome, and the alchoholic rambling about because these cases often imply quite rude and offensive verbiage and/or loud volume, but these are not the only cases.

People in general are well adept at detecting such anomalous behaviour as it is part of our insticts trained through Evolution. Also the uncomfortable feelings that observing this type of behaviour leads to will lead many to react with a "confront or escape" (aka. "fight or flee") response (a stress signal), which is not beneficial to social interaction in general.

TL;DR: If you speak out in public without a very clear and socially valid reason (speaking to an object is not that) you are not only rude to others, but you also cause them stress... and you will have to face the social stigma of being perceived as insane.

(edit: grammar/typos)


I've been thinking about this recently. A colleague is participating in a group call and talking to someone I can't hear or see and that's just background noise to me, I can easily tune that out. Another person tends to vocalize his thought process sometimes and it steals my attention in a hard-to-explain unpleasant way every time.


> TL;DR: If you speak out in public without a very clear and socially valid reason (speaking to an object is not that) you are not only rude to others, but you also cause them stress... and you will have to face the social stigma of being perceived as insane.

Except... this problem is known to be trivially solvable. After all, the very act of putting a flat rectangle to your ear makes talking out loud in public not just perfectly acceptable, but mundane and not worth paying attention to (subject to social norms dictating where it is or isn't OK to be on the phone).

As for talking to yourself signalling insanity... I'd hope that stupid and probably developmentally retarding idea died long ago, and the "talking to yourself out loud in public" subtrope being dead since wireless earphones got ubiquitous some two decades ago.

The modern reality is, hearing someone "talking to themselves" is normal, and 99.9% of times means they're on a call.


> perfectly acceptable

The point is it's not, though. As a society we have generally established that it is rude to be speaking out loud on the phone in public. Especially on the bus or the train or waiting for same or in the shop or at a movie or any number of other places. I genuinely think it would be easier instead to list the places where it would be okay (in a busy street, if you step to one side). Even in these places there is some expectation that you show a little shame to be doing it, as though you didnt want to but had to because the call is important


This is just hand waving. When people can talk to AI in the same way as they speak to people, then there is no barrier.


I just find voice control too outward to use in public. I don't want people to know what I'm doing, even if it's something totally innocent, plus it would also be super annoying to be on a train full of people going "blah blah blah" to their devices.

If we could subvocalise with throat or other microphones/bone speaker then maaaybe, but I feel like it's better left to a brain interface and we should really just stick to touchscreen/typing interaction for now.


I've noticed the latest iOS speech recognition model works with whispered speech pretty well. Not a perfect fix, but it's something.


same with swiftkey - can handle whispered speech to some extend.

Still I would guess Meta Glasses or AirPods should be better to handle such whispered mode since microphones are so much closer. Would be interesting if Airpods had some contact mic that could pickup whispered sound inside your mouth.

Maybe the holly grail is to have something inside your mouth so you don't have to even make voice - device will figure out what you want to speak from how mouth and tongue movement - smart tooth braces anyone? :)


If people can speak more naturally, maybe they'll be okay with it. I am constantly encountering people who are laughing or talking to themselves out in public nowadays. Of course, they're probably on phone calls with Airpods in, but it doesn't seem to be awkward in a way it used to in the 'Bluetooth headset' days.


This is easy to fix IMHO. Pair a small screen in the future for typing or have a cuff link mic for whispering. You will see accessories like these pop up in the near future.


I still get called 'dick tracey' at my local shop for the time I paid with my phone.

Talking to my cuff isn't going to make this better


The can and cannot do problem reminds me of writing Applescript. I just want to call a function not figure out where to sprinkle in random a/the/of modifiers!


How well does whispering do with these things? I've found that I can reliably write sentences and set alerts when holding the mic fairly close on my Pixel 6.


I hate talking to them at home either. The only time I use them is when cooking with my hands wet or dirty. And it’s still bad, even when it works.


Don't worry, in the future, they won't need to leave the house nor travel


I see people talking on speaker phone all the time in public.


believe it or not, here in Ottawa Canada I was just reading a post on Reddit where people complain about those who were talking or doing video calls on the streets, I think this will be a matter of culture and the barrier will be smaller as soon as the devices are "smarter" and not making you repeat yourself many times or, not understanding what you are asking.


This strikes me as a less-functional Apple Watch that you wear on your shirt instead of your wrist.

(Yes, Siri is not great today, but that will change very quickly with Apple working hard on their own LLMs.)

Cool project, but not something I imagine most people will want. Like Google Glass.

They even did the cringey stunt Google Glass tried and featured it on the runway during Fashion Week, as if that instantly makes something fashionable:

https://images.fastcompany.net/image/upload/w_1200,c_limit,q...


Yeah, just realized this is an Apple Watch competitor — but one that requires and odd new paradigm of interactivity that seems much worse than that of the Watch. Lifting your wrist up and having a small screen you can look at and talk to seems so intuitive in a way that the Humane widget doesn't.

Think of the simple interaction of wanting to issue a voice command in public. Watch: Bring it close to your mouth, maybe cover both with the other hand to be even less audible to others. Humane: Smoosh your shirt up to your face?

(Also: I live in one of the sunniest places on earth — I simply don't trust that I'll be able to see light projections onto my hand when I'm outside.)

Anyway. All in favor of exploration and new ideas. Very willing to be proven wrong on the form factor. But I also feel like we've kind of solved the wearable computing interface problem — a couple hundred years ago, turns out — and so it's going to take a lot of convincing.


Lav mics aren't half bad for picking up speech, and maybe this can be improved by some beamforming?


He’s talking about how to issue a command that you don’t want the whole world to know about, so you bring up to mouth and whisper.


It actually reminds me a lot of much older product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj24kNJEQJs (bonyt noticed this first)


At some point, someone produced an actually working TNG comm badge as a Bluetooth phone accessory, apparently it's still for sale: https://shop.startrek.com/products/star-trek-the-next-genera...

Though from the reviews I've seen (and as with so many Bluetooth devices), it's unusably terrible, and the battery only lasts a few hours.


Indeed. It just screams "comm badge", which makes the product idea obvious, and makes me surprised they somehow managed to make zero references to Star Trek in the entire godawfully long landing page.


Kinda prefer a tricorder…..


> reminds me a lot of much older product

A touch more seriously, the Narrative Clip:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_Clip

https://thenextweb.com/news/narratives-clip-2-wearable-camer...


Watches & phones don't have the optical & audio "visibility" of the Humane AI Pin -- which, incidentally, looks an awful lot like the Axon body-worn cameras for police.


If you really want to Always Be Surveilling, wouldn't a better solution be a tiny cam/mic accessory that pairs with your phone/watch? You could use the same magnetic battery idea, but in a much smaller form factor.

This thing (the Humane AI Pin) is aiming to be a phone replacement, which seems like a really steep challenge given its limitations--how could it replace any of the things I use my phone for on the subway to work?


You have to hit it to activate it, so it’s not always surveilling.

It’s a great point that if this modality becomes popular, then it should just be an accessory on top of iPhone or iWatch.


Also more expensive, i pay 10/month for a dedicated watch, and i can still make 3rd part apps for it, i can't do that with humane as far as i can tell and don't really want to put it on my shirt like this.

Only real differentiator is maybe the real time translation, but that's not a frequent use case and i think i can take my phone out for that with google translate as needed.

It's too bad, love new hardware, this isn't it for me at least with that price and functionality.


It's kinda funny that the latest version of a "less space than a Nomad" comment now holds up Apple specifically as the product of comparison.


The problem with voice interfaces in public is you look like a tosser while using the - and that's if they actually work. Also you may need it to communicate privately with you too...

"Hey humane, add a meeting next Tuesday at 2pm'.

"I’m sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. You have a doctors appointment about your haemeroids"


Genuinely asking, problem does this solve? And won't apple instantly destroy them the moment they use an LLM for siri?

Why wouldn't I use my existing watch/phone/earbuds/pods instead of paying 600$+subscription for this?

I don't understand the insistence on using voice as the main interaction and ditching the screen.

At least google glass/AR let's me read


> I don't understand the insistence on using voice as the main interaction and ditching the screen.

There was a google i/o talk a few years back were they talked about users wanting multi-modal, an example being they ask for restaurant recommendations by voice, then get the list they can view on their device. Both query and results are presented in their easiest modal, and humans will naturally switch between them.

This thing seem dead on arrival. Who wants to hold their hand up like that? Who wants to look at an uneven "screen"? Can you use it while walking or experience the movement in a vehicle? (car, bus, subway)

Is this just a big sunk cost fallacy launch?


I agree with you on all points except one. Arguably the uneven "screen" problem can be solved with a depth camera and warping the projection to match the contours of your hand. Since they already support hand gestures on the target hand it's possible they already have the equipment built-in to do this.


If you've used VR passthrough, you'll know that the latency will not work out well. You have to capture, analyze, calculate, and project in low, single digit milliseconds, against a moving target from a moving target


Does this also require that you track the user's eye position?


Eyes should stay mostly fixed relative to a pin on your chest, as long as you're looking in the same direction (ie your hand). I think the differences would be small enough, especially since the display seems pretty blurry anyway


Projection warping should be viewer position independent (within a limited scope), only relying on the position of the projector and the screen. Some home theater projectors which already do this to an extent. And there are some famous public performances where video is projected onto a building and warped to match the contours in such a way as to give a convincing 3d effect (Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ_5sDvAlNY). You can perform this kind of projection warping on a raspberry pi.


> Genuinely asking, problem does this solve?

It's a combadge.

I repeat: it's a combadge. It solves the self-evident problem of there not being combadges available and in use.

Or, at least, it's almost a combadge. A good qualitative jump forward, but with plenty of unwanted features like subscription (I guess this could work for a Ferengi combadge), screen, wake words, etc. A combadge doesn't need to be an image projector, nor does it need rich tactile controls. But I guess you can improve the product-problem fit by ignoring those features.


It's a poor version of the comm badges in Star Trek Discovery when they go to the 32nd century. Those one can project holograms in front of them.


Hell, Star Wars had those, and that was A Long Time Ago!


Sure, but they were also far far away.


Honestly, if they did the one thing that com badges did, it would have at least one feature I would say, "oh, that's nice"


> Genuinely asking, problem does this solve?

People are thinking about the form factor after the cell phone. Apple is busy training everyone to use hand gestures with the new Apple Watch and upcoming Apple Vision. Humane is going down the path of projecting on the hand and touch.


Doesn't the projection require one hand to be up and in a flat position, and the other hand interacts with it? Meaning it requires two hands?

Apple's implementations are for 1 hand operation. You can operate the watch's touch screen while holding a steering wheel for example.

What's the difference between the objectively not great screen that is my hand, and the oled watch that doesn't require both my hands for operation?

EDIT Heck this requires one hand just to see anything. I can look at my watch without any hands!


From the demo video it looks that buttons can activate with similar pinch gesture as new Apple watch has.


"What comes next" is interesting as a problem formulation insofar as it encourages solution based thinking ("Here's the solution I think is next, for an problem still to be identified- other than it is what comes next.)


> People are thinking about the form factor after the cell phone.

That presumes there is one. There's not yet a "form factor after the car" for example. Just refinement of the same basic 4-wheeled template, with a few oddball vehicles for niche uses.

A possible indicator here is the apparent lack of demand for small screen phones. To me it suggests that screen real estate is more valuable than portability for most people.


This looks like a cool toy that high-level members of an organization will buy, and nobody else.

It can’t compete in the consumer space, because it doesn’t let you waste time on social media. It can’t compete in the corporate world because it doesn’t have a screen — no email, no spreadsheets, no collaborative chat application we’ve all grown used to. And it can’t even be great for photography, since you need another device to view the photos and videos this thing takes.

If this thing takes off for its impressive AI capabilities, smartphone makers can pump R&D into their AI, and give us this for free as a software update. But right now, the only people who will use this are folks whose job involves scheduling meetings and firing off quick text messages to colleagues and clients.


This thing is great for old people who can't see the screen. It is like a life alert on steroids that can order pizza. It is also great for kids for obvious reasons.


The guy had a Ted talk a while back going into his motivations. I believe the main one was he didn't like how phones get between you and the world, and take you out of the moment. This was an attempt to make tech that isn't a distraction in your life but that fades into the background. That was his driving principle, I believe.


I got the impression his driving principle was "if we can't replace smartphones then Apple wins"


Tim Cook sleeping like a baby tonight.


I can see something like this filling a niche with the elderly population as like an external memory. (Or even just for forgetful adhd folks like myself, having something I can ask "wait, what did my wife just say to me 5 minutes ago?" ;) )


"what did my wife just say to me 5 minutes ago?" is the most brilliant app idea I've seen (in recent memory.)


Black Mirror's "The Entire History of You" S1E03 episode has one take on what would happen if we could effortlessly record -- and replay -- everything. As with most Black Mirrors, there are some dark but believeable ideas.

Incidentally, it was written by Jess Armstrong who later created "Succession".


I recommend "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by the brilliant Ted Chiang, a short story featuring a related social situation. People in the story use a recorder with highly advanced search and indexing capabilities so it becomes possible to instantly access a video of anywhere you've been, or of any conversation you've had.


counterpoint being "bring up what my husband said 10 months ago". the Devil skips away, contract in hand...


Kapture audio from 2013 kickstarter (not so recent memory) was 4 minutes too short?

https://web.archive.org/web/20140208000114/https://kaptureau...

EDIT: had to share promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arQoSSXKaSQ


but requires an always on and listening device, which people don't really want because it is always abused by the overlords


The elderly example is actually an extremely good/thought provoking idea. I can imagine my Grandparents getting huge use out of this, including with smart home functionality, if it got to where it needs to get to.


The problem this solves is my pager looks outdated


Not just Apple. Any smart watch or ear buds with Google or Amazon AI. I think ear buds paired to a phone are already the perfect form factor for this kind of thing. My Pixel Buds are already pretty good at this and I absolutely never use it.


"How can I get people to regret sharing this public transport with me?"


Yeah, people already have phones. This is could just be a phone app.


Part of me just wants to get rid of my phone if I get a device that does the actually useful things. Get info about something, checks and sends messages in a smart way, checks the bus.

Most of the other stuff is just idling. I don't expect I would idle in the same way with an actually good assistant that respects me.

But then I'd prefer an open source Wikipedia/Wikimedia like organisation behind it.


The apple watch can already Pay, music, communication without a phone.

Siri itself is lacking but I expect that to change with an LLM soon.

You can already lock down your phone to prevent distracting apps.

I've skeptical that people would actually choose to go without a phone in favor of this


> Part of me just wants to get rid of my phone if I get a device that does the actually useful things. Get info about something, checks and sends messages in a smart way, checks the bus.

This requires an always-on device, or always-in-the-cloud server processing your data and pushing updates to your device.

The former is limited by physics (battery), the latter is limited by how much data you want accessed from the cloud. Neither are solved by open source.


Could be a self hosted home device for the big power requirements.


> Genuinely asking, problem does this solve?

Simple example: which way do I go at the next intersection?


The route is usually shown in great detail on your car's display. You also get a voice prompt just before you need to start thinking about turning. Is this a genuine problem?


I meant as a pedestrian.


Why would I speak this question when I can just look at the map phone for an extremely quick and concise answer?

Or if I'm driving, GPS is displayed on a giant screen.


You need to take out the phone and start the phone map app. And quite a few people are terrible at reading maps.

Not saying this is for everyone, but there will be users.


I assume this pin will use GPS? It’s not always accurate. Sometimes the GPS is off. With a phone screen, you can better estimate where you’re standing by looking around you and then comparing what’s on the map.

For example, the GPS is almost never accurate in Hong Kong, when I visited.


Apple Watch and Android Wear solve this.


Instantly destroy? Or acquire?


Quite a few bridges were burned to form the company, an acquisition would be a surprising development.


Can you expand on that? How did humane burn bridges to form the company?


Aren't the humane folks a bunch of ex-Google/ex-Android execs?


Wrong, ex-Apple people


Who is the extremely slow talking spokesperson?


A bit tongue in cheek - I said "instantly destroy" because if the main selling point is an ai voice assistant, then people would just use what's already built into their phone/watch/airpods instead of paying 600$ if apple was to implement a better LLM for siri.

I'm skeptical of the usefulness of the hand projection vs a watch. And I think anyone who wants to bring a camera would be far better served by an iphone (or any phone).


The "laser ink display" looks a bit like the totally bunk display tech of the Cicret Bracelet "product" that VFX videomaker Captain Disillusion did a comprehensive takedown of a couple of years ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbgvSi35n6o.

While it looks like there are a few videos of apparent actual demos, I haven't seen one yet where the device (and more importantly, the recording camera's settings) are controlled by an impartial reviewer, and I'm extremely sceptical that this is usable in the real world. There's a demo by the founder where one of the inputs is to tilt your palm up, and even in the demo the projection struggles to compete with the indoor lights, nevermind the sun https://youtu.be/CwSeUV3RaIA?t=205.

The pitch of this seems to be "no more distracting screens, and no need to download and manage lots of apps and services". Except there is a (very poor) screen, it's your hand. And you're limited to just one service and set of apps, the one that comes with the device.

It's all well and good saying that the AI can do everything you want, but the real world (sadly) has copyright restrictions and content licensing agreements which an out-of-the-box service by a legit company will have to abide by. If the song I want to listen to isn't available on whatever music service this product is partnered with, could I transfer music files from my computer to this device? There's a lot of use cases like this where you very quickly start to want an actual screen, and actual methods of input more precise and domain-specific than conversational voice commands.


> If the song I want to listen to isn't available on whatever music service this product is partnered with, could I transfer music files from my computer to this device?

What a weird example. They say they've partnered with Tidal, which would have 999 out of 1000 songs people look for, maybe more.


Even Spotify is missing probably more than 5% of what I'm looking for, which makes me strongly doubt that claim.


> If the song I want to listen to isn't available on whatever music service this product is partnered with, could I transfer music files from my computer to this device?

Unfortunately, "nobody" has music files any more. Spotify forever.

(Of course readers here are the exception.)


In the video, they apparently didn't actually check up on the answer it gave about the next eclipse. The April 8 2024 total eclipse is best seen in North America. Exmouth Australia was where the April 20 2023 total eclipse occurred. https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-20...


Not to mention that voice based Q&A has been done by everyone at this point. Should have focused on the differentiators they have with that form factor.


Things you see in movies aren't meant to be made real. In movies, the pin is good for theatrical effect, because the actor recites his thoughts to the camera. There is no camera in real life, instead there is other people


I’m curious what movie you’re referring to? Even in Her, Theo just puts his phone in his shirt pocket with the camera exposed so Samantha can see things.


Star Trek (TNG, but the other shows too) had badges they wore on their shirts as communicators. Helped for story telling, because as opposed to a phone, the com badge would play the other person’s audio loud for all to hear.


Correct me if I'm wrong GO, but I'm pretty sure he's referring to StarTrek, by comparing this pin to a combadge.


This thing better not come with a speaker. Public speakerphone users are among the most obnoxious pests.


Haha what do you mean, that's the main feature they are advertising here. I agree that the advent of portable high-output, low-power audio amplifiers is chiefly responsible for the downfall of human society so I, too, hate to see it.


It even comes with a "Personic Speaker". From the website: "Ai Pin’s speaker system uses a Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF) to create a personally optimized bubble of sound, at a fixed distance, regardless of how soft or loud."


Unless physics has changed, I think headphones are the only way to do this.


Directional speakers exist and are very effective actually. Whether this device is using one, I have no idea.


You can't create a "bubble" of sound unless that just a marketing term for quiet and facing only the user.


Well I don't know about a bubble of sound, but there are "sound lasers"

https://youtu.be/aBdVfUnS-pM


go about 2:14 into that video. also outside of this argument, that is really cool either way. thanks for sending!


When you hear made up phrases like "Personic Speaker" or "Dynamic Island", it's usually a technical problem so glaring they're trying to spin it as a benefit.


Between things like the Apple watch, and the upcoming glasses-based interfaces, this seems to kinda do nothing well and some of those things, just more poorly. It's beautiful, definitely interesting, but seems pretty dead in the water.

The MIT wearable demo from a few years ago which used a similar concept to project an interface in the real world was incredibly compelling, but mostly because it assumed near flawless real world AI object recognition, along with flawless projection onto said items. They'll need to demonstrate this on this particular device, before this becomes remotely interesting. Yes, it's a "detail", but I think for a lot of this kind of tech, demonstrating just how DEEPLY you can go into the interactions is sort of the whole point if they are thinking of replacing the kinds of devices that we depend on.


People have proved that they're willing to go far to make tech lighter.

Wearing glasses when you can just wear nothing seems like a big progress to me.

The only thing that remains is to make it look better imho


There's always physics. You can't make batteries out of nothing.


> You can't make batteries out of nothing.

We can always discover new physics, or utilise already understood physics to design something more efficient. Like what if your phone was efficient enough that it could work only on the heat given off from your hands and/or ambient light? Sounds far-fetched but I won't be surprised if this is commonplace within the next 50 years.


I counted 14 almonds in the video. It said there were 15 grams of protein in the almonds. Almonds have about a quarter gram of protein each.

Also, you can't view the total eclipse in either locations it stated.


Yeah that stood out to me, would need ~60 almonds to have that much protein.

A screen would be useful for showing the details of how it misestimated the almond count, and let you adjust them.


That's a big part of the issue to me as well, it's not going to be reliable. The dragonfruit example is correct, but I can't imagine it being accurate when it's not "single whole objects of average size that are in the USDA nutrition database". Pretty scary if you try to rely on it for something like translation.


The dragonfruit example is wrong.

> How much sugar is in this?

> A whole dragonfruit contains 7.31 grams of sugar.

100 grams of dragonfruit contains 9.75 grams of sugar.

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2344729/...

A whole dragonfruit weighs closer to 350-600 grams.

https://www.seedsdelmundo.com/blog/average-dragon-fruit-weig...


The link you posted has "1 fruit" as an option listed as 75g. Which does seem light, but it's at least an actual source for the number it used instead of a hallucination like the eclipse thing.


> there are no wake words, so it's not always listening [...] it doesn't do anything until you engage with it, and your engagement comes through your voice, touch, gesture, or laser ink display

I'm guessing they mean a combination, so you need to touch AND do something else. But taken literally the gesture option implies they're also always watching.

> if it's ever physically tampered with, it will require service from Humane to restore operation

So it's entirely non-repairable?

--

I also love the "you can shop in the real world" example where they imply the scenario is him going into a physical bookstore (they say "retail") and yell out that you're looking up if it's cheaper online and buying it there.


DOA.

- too stealable, by people who will not care that a subscription is needed.

- the act of theft will happen violently and close up, not fun.

- it's an easy smallish act of violence, which means the on-ramp to violence is also easy. Not something most people want to invite into their lives.

- "they" (the Committee) will say phones can also be grabbed. But the equation here is different. With a phone there's no hand on your chest, no tearing of clothing, and for a phone thieves know you will try harder to get it back. With this, after the violent taking, the shock value and the relative disposability of the device will stop most from chasing the thief. This will be known subconsciously if not outright, so the "phones are also easy to grab" comparison does not apply.

- the features are already provided by something most everyone has, a smartphone.

- the level of obnoxiousness of the status signaling is off the charts.

- association with AI is not a positive for many people and is stigmatizing (whether the stigma is correct or not).

- built in camera and recording functionality or even the perceived possibility of recording is also stigmatizing and highly antisocial.

- all the voice UX inhibition concerns others have been mentioning.

- [edit, how did I leave this out, but it's just too obvious]: subscription. We. Don't. Want. More. Subscriptions.

On the positive side, the size is nice, it looks good, and reading stuff off your hand is a cool idea, although it will look pretty goofy. But no.


> too stealable, by people who will not care that a subscription is needed.

I even doubt there will be much theft of these. People will simply forget these, and stop using them.

So they showed one clipped to a jacket. Don't they take the jacket off? What's the intended usecase? That you take it off and re-attach to various clothign as you dress/undress? It also looks quite heavy, so most T-shirts and other light items of clothing are not really suitable for this.


Yep that’s a good point!

And they really doubled down on that decision by also embedding it (“pin”) in the name, if not the identity, of the product.

They could have coined a word (I’m not claiming this is not cringe) “pindant” as in a dual use pin-or-pendant item, and bought more flexibility, for example. Edit: somebody already coined that word, see the dot com (sfw), lol.


I agree that this could be doa. But if violent theft is that big of a problem where you live, you should try to fix that. Someone could snatch your phone out of your hands too!


It's trully is disturbing that some people have this constantly on their minds while (presumably) living in developed countries where 600$ meme-device is a thing and that's why they wouldn't get it.


I mean this is hacker news so I assume most people have at least an inkling of what’s happened to San Francisco since Covid hollowed out downtown.


> Photography was not allowed during WIRED’s visit to Humane, and the company didn’t provide WIRED a Pin to try.

Clearly very confident in their product.


The general public is being mislead on LLMs/AI and it's dangerous. These are indeterminate systems. We CAN NOT know what they are going to output.

A product like this makes it very difficult to verify what it is telling you.

As others have pointed out, their own product launch video has several inaccuracies in it.


But, but, AI is just a tool!!! No, it's not. If something else is making decisions for you, you're the tool.


Isn't this just the Halting problem? No software has the property of being "determinate".


I dunno man. I can guarantee that this program will either not run or output "Hello world" on your screen:

    #include <iostream>

    int main() {
        std::cout << "Hello world";
        return 0;
    }
Seems like you can determine for some programs what they will do.


Yes we can determine that but the idea of the halting problem is that there is no general algorithm that can determine if a program will halt or not. So if we're including the human mind as the algorithm, then there exists a program that we cannot determine if it will halt or not. Theoretically.


Termination != deterministic


Surprised to see all the negative sentiment here. Besides the true point that voice-only interaction is a bad idea for public spaces, I think this is a very cool device with lots of potential.

I'm especially excited about the fact that they found a really low-barrier user interface for using CV and AR-type functionality -- like, without having to put on silly glasses, and without having to use a second device with a screen in addition to the pin.

Come on, this is cool! Or would you have designed (and built!) a better device?


I think a lot of us are coming down from the high of buying expensive surveillance devices.


Could you use this effectively while moving? Is the device going to jostle about? Can you keep your hand that steady (in relation to the projection)? Can you do this while standing, slouching in a chair, walking, and/or riding in a vehicle? Could you use it discretely, like in a meeting or waiting room?


Probably yes to some of these questions and no to some others.

But why only focus on some potential shortcomings instead of appreciating the positive aspects?

Btw, there is no tech device out there for which I couldn't come up with a list of critical questions like yours.


What are the positive aspects? I don't see any, this looks terrible to me, a waste of money for both investors and consumers

I'm limiting my points to the physical usage concerns, there are more concerns if we broaden the context, many other commenters have pointed them out. This is not even the full list of physical concerns. What people wear will have a big impact too


great, so why troll this thread with your redundant viewpoint?


How is asking questions and sharing opinions, the heart of HN, now trolling?


I've been waiting for this. Seems like it is a self-contained cellular device requiring a subscription, which makes sense. I guess I am curious how I can be in communication with it. Will my contacts be texted from a new phone number? That seems like the biggest hurdle for me, as I'd just like to use my pre-existing cellular service that I already pay for.

I also find it curious that a former Apple exec formed this company. I'd assume Apple itself would want to pursue this internally, as such a device would be yet another killer addition to the iron grip of the Apple ecosystem.


Imran wasn’t an exec, just an IC designer.


He was a lot more than “just an IC designer”


Bethany wasn't an exec either, but she was a project manager reasonably high up on the totem pole.

It's nice to see this product isn't actually vapor. Congrats to them.


I think it looks quite neat. I dunno, maybe I played too many video games growing up, but the idea of UI that pops up when I need it in response to what’s in front of me seems cool as heck. But it designing that UI will be challenging, and just using something like this for texting and other cellphone tasks seems like a real waste.

I have a similar feeling about augmented reality glasses.


Having used the Hololens 2, I can say I definitely want smart glasses, but not the passthrough kind, the realview with projected holograms kind.

It was/is an amazing experience. It's really a hardware miniaturization at this point, except that M$ canned the device and team to focus on other things. Really thought this was their opportunity to build a device that would dominate the market


Unfortunately Microsoft won't bring it to market (and tbh I didn't think they would be the ones to do it anyway) but the idea is there and they've contributed a lot to the tech. Maybe this is going to be like the virtual boy, we're gonna have to wait 20 more years before the tech is viable and someone decides to make the thing.


I think things are moving a fair bit quicker, we'll see a tethered device before long. The major holdup right now is FOV, stuck at 45-50deg. The form factor is close with XReal and similar

https://vr-compare.com/ar


I didn’t realize they were winding that all down.

It seems like a shame, Apple is entering that market soon with a device that sounds like it’ll be the same price, and… I dunno, I’d expect the real vision advantage to be a pretty strong selling point.


Yeah, I was disappointed by this move

Fortunately, much like the HashiCorp hoopla, there is a group taking part of the project forward in an independent org. I'm looking to deploy an MRTK demo to the Q3, hoping Immersed will pick it up for the next iteration of their app


It'e amazing, years of development, and at no point of time anyone stopped and asked: "what problem are we solving here?"


I don't think this really competes with a phone. If anything it competes with a smartwatch. And as far as wearable tech, a watch blends in much better.


And a smartwatch offers a lot of health features, too! Something many people seem to find interesting and useful.

The watch is an accessory to the phone that adds features plus offers convenience and if you want to, it can temporarily substitute your phone like when you go to the gym. A cellular Apple Watch combined with Air Pods can do a lot. And both the Apple Watch and the Air Pods have use cases in addition to that in other situations. I don't see that here at all. I see a device with a very limited feature set.

Edit: Wording


It was looking very promising until I read "A subscription is required to use Ai Pin." right at the bottom of the page. Oh well.


Well it does come with a phone line and data coverage through T-Mobile, so like a cell phone really?


Can I use my own el-cheapo SIM with it?


SmartBrooch is a $699 + a $24-a-month subscription commitment.


true. it does make sense however, you can't expect the ai model to reside in the wearable device



This comment thread will go down in history along with the famous HN Dropbox thread.

This thing is incredible and will eventually crush the iPhone. Solves iPhone addiction while retaining the utility of an iPhone? Solid gold.


The thing is, most people don't actually want to solve their phone addiction even if they say they do.

In reality, they want to read news while waiting at a doctor's office, play games while they take the subway, and see Instagram updates from friends throughout the day.

And if you already want a less capable device, it's called an Apple Watch, but it comes with a little screen that is way more useful than laser projection, and will soon surely have a powerful LLM it can access. (And paired with AirPods it does a much better job preserving your audio privacy.)

So it's hard to see how this is going to succeed, when Apple can just copy the good part (LLM) as part of the Watch.


IMO "Solves iPhone addiction" is more or less a rephrasing of "people will quickly get bored of this".

It's just a smartphone, except you can't run third-party software, can't directly interface with it, and can't connect it to other machines. And instead of holding an N-million pixel, M-million-colour, extremely high-constrast display directly in your hand, you have to indirectly project (meaning extremely LOW contrast) a single-colour display onto your hand from a projector that's shaking around being clipped to your clothes.

The only single hypothetical upside I can see to this tech is that it might lower the two-second delay in looking at my phone caused by putting my hand in my pocket before raising my hand, but you could say that that goes against the goal of solving phone addiction.


Apple watch? Cellular mode allows this, has siri built in, can handle calling/messaging/etc. People don't want to replace their phones though.


> along with the famous HN Dropbox thread.

Most people saw the utility and the use cases of Dropbox even when it launched.

What's the utility and use case of this? What problem does it solve?


> iPhone addiction

This is not a thing. "Screens" aren't 'separating us from one another', or 'distracting us'; that's fuzzy verbalistic nonsense, made up by marketers who want to sell you non-phones, and bloviating op-ed columnists who don't have a clue. It's so ridiculous, that everyone has seen the memes debunking it.[0][1]

True invasiveness is expressed as: "how long does it take me to do this thing I want to do?" In other words, you need a human-computer interface that reduces friction as close to zero as possible. The phone won because it's the best at that. The "pin" is orders of magnitude worse, so it won't catch on.

[0]: https://xkcd.com/610/ [1]: https://imgflip.com/i/1swr7j


Maybe in the long term view - people correctly identifying that Dropbox had no differentiator (to quote Steve "this is a feature, not a product').


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