Humane AI Pin


Marques Brownlee, the person behind MKBHD, reviewed the Humane AI Pin. This device is a wearable AI assistant that seems to aim to replace your phone. It wants interaction with technology to be more natural and humane, thus the name. On the face of it, the device does seem like a good idea, and it reminded me of the Rabbit R1, a similar AI assistant device.

MKBHD (Marques Brownlee)

Humane AI Pin Review

Marques published his video review of the device recently. After watching it, I thought it was a fair and well-balanced review; he pointed out the intention behind the Humane AI, the good and the bad points, and his own experience with it. His overall impression of the device was negative.

His video echoed many things I thought about Humane AI Pin. I didn’t know much about the device before watching his review, but I felt that it would have issues because of the form factor. To me it felt was too far removed from the familiar technology with screens we can interact with.

After watching Marques’s review of the product, my main opinion about this product is that it is currently pointless. It does not have a clear purpose to exist as it is right now. I felt it was an incomplete product that the company pushed out too early.

The Humane AI Pin’s supposed aim is to replace the phone and make our interaction with technology more ‘humane‘. It does this by making it easier for us to do what we need to without interrupting our lives too much. For it to do what it claims, it needs to have the same, or at least similar capability as our phones. Currently, the Humane AI Pin can’t do some of the basic tasks we rely on our phones for, like setting an alarm. It lacks so many basic features. In opposition to its aim, most things that it does can be done more conveniently on a smartphone or a smartwatch.

to show how the humane ai pin looks

My Opinion

I must compare it to the Rabbit R1 because of the similarity of supposed functionality. The Rabbit R1 can connect to many services like Spotify, Uber and others. Privacy concerns aside, integration with other services makes it more helpful because it has more access, whereas the Humane AI Pin only has a few services it can connect to.

The main issue that I believe will affect the growth of the Humane AI Pin is the price. The base model is $699 with a $24/month subscription. Yes, that’s not a typo.

For this price, you can get a decent second-hand flagship smartphone that can do everything the Humane AI is aspiring to. The price is just too high. And what’s with the subscription, you ask? Well, according to their website: 

“To use your Ai Pin, you’ll need a monthly subscription, which includes access to the Ai Bus, an unlimited wireless service plan, and cloud storage.

You must purchase a monthly subscription in order to use Ai Pin. The Humane Subscription pays for your cloud data storage, access to Ai services, and a domestic cellular plan with unlimited talk, text, and data.”

I understand the need for a subscription for cloud-based services. Using services and cloud storage is an ongoing cost that companies must cover, but… with the device costing $699 already, a $24/month subscription is insane.

You won’t be able to use the Humane AI Pin without the subscription, so the subscription is effectively mandatory. This decision is baffling to me. If the company decided to run the device via a cloud-based service, the hardware itself needs to be cheaper… by A LOT!

Bad Pricing Strategy

Let us compare it to the Rabbit AI. The Rabbit AI is $199, with no subscription. That is all I need to mention. Comparison done.

When I watched the Rabbit R1 keynote I thought it was interesting. The features it provided seemed like a unique application of AI to me. Even though smartphones can do most, if not all, that it does it still had different ways of interacting with the user that could make it more convenient. At the end of the keynote speech, the CEO unveiled the price and I was taken aback. I thought it would be more expensive for the feature it was showing, but they played it smart.

For something which is a relatively new way for the user to interact with technology, the low price could be a great way for people to try it. I thought this was a very smart way to expose the Rabbit R1 to more people, and it was probably the only way something new and different could gain traction with the public (as opposed to tech enthusiasts).

The Humane AI Pin hardware is made of metal with small magnetically attached battery packs. It also has some sensors and a laser projector in a relatively small device. With the technology it packs and factoring in the research and development that went into making it, it is understandable that the hardware itself could be expensive. The question is: is the expense that went into it and the price it needs to be at worth the service it provides?

At the moment, I don’t think so.

In Conclusion

Getting back to the main point: why were people debating MKBHD’s review? Well, some people say that harsh reviews can destroy companies, and that is true. Reviewers with a large audience (like MKBHD) can influence many people. They do have some responsibility that comes with their position. Honestly, it would have been easy for anyone to be completely frustrated with the Humane AI pin and give it a much harsher review without being objective (like some already did), but MKBHD did their best to give the Humane AI Pin an objective review.

A comment I kept seeing when reading about this review issue is “A bad review doesn’t kill companies, bad products do“. While it was annoying seeing this everywhere I turned, it is true. I feel like the Humane AI Pin came out too early and that could be their undoing.

This article was meant to shed light on this interesting and controversial product and to allow me to vent a little bit about my frustration with it. You can watch MHBHD’s review yourself below.

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Mo Darasi
Mo Darasi
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