Humane Inc.
The Ai Pin is the first product launched by Humane Inc., a startup founded by former Apple designers Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno.

For Better or For Worse, Multimodal AI Cultivates New Frontiers

Nov. 21, 2023
Integrating AI tools, such as prompt engineering and conversational AI, can be transformative.

Not even a sick day could shelter me from the deluge of ping notifications emanating from the Teams app on my laptop. 

Humane, a startup founded by former Apple designers Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, had officially launched their Ai Pin—a wearable device designed to replace your smartphone—and my colleagues (mostly tech editors) were having a kerfuffle.

They went full-bore Star Trek. “It’s the wrong shape,” was one comment. “You should be able to use it by just tapping it,” was another. 

“I don’t know; the fact that it doesn’t really have a display and you have to talk to the device could help curb some of my worst smartphone habits,” was yet another. 

READ MORE: Making Conversation: Using AI to Extract Intel from Industrial Machinery and Equipment

Much like the Star Trek communicator badge, the Ai Pin can be worn on your lapel. Users interact with it using an intuitive touchpad and by speaking naturally. The Ai Pin is equipped with a built-in speaker and camera, along with a few neat functions. The founders demonstrate online how one can use the AI Pin as a foreign language interpreter, stay on target with nutrition goals by using the device’s computer vision to identify food, or interact via a laser ink display projected onto your palm.

But should it replace the smartphone? Technology will inevitably be rolled back or replaced with innovations that have greater appeal. In 2015, Google dabbled with a similar prototype. Their circular device came with a built-in microphone and Bluetooth, which merely allowed it to connect to a smartphone and enable users to conduct searches without reaching for their cellphones. It flopped. 

The Ai Pin, however, advances to a whole new category of emergent tech. With collaboration from Microsoft, OpenAI, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and T-Mobile, the device was designed to bring the power of AI to commercial users. Not all of the kinks appear to be ironed out yet, but the technology conceivably launches us into the next iteration of mobile tech.

The same holds true for some of the more rugged algorithmic-driven tools showcased in our upcoming Nov./Dec. issue. Consider for instance how iNAGO’s context-aware and automated dialogue management system is going beyond the usual parameters of speech recognition. 

READ MORE: Big Tech & Big Ideas Permeate Industrial Thinking in 2023

In attempting to simplify the purpose and scope of the technology, iNAGO’s founder Ron Di Carlantonio channels yet another blast from our sci-fi past when he conjures up memories of KITT, the sentient, talking, bulletproof car popularized in the television series “Knight Rider.” iNAGO’s conversational AI platform enhances the communication experience by analyzing the context and then determining what the correct response should be. 

We are nowhere near a true understanding of generative AI’s power, nor the limits of its capabilities. Manufacturers are just beginning to discover they can work with AI specialists to develop custom models to power their machinery.

READ MORE: AVEVA Conference 2023: Sustainable Industrial Economies Will Depend on Digital Insights

What we do know is that it is transformative. Given the proliferation of AI-enabled products, it is reasonable to expect advanced machine-learning models will unlock new applications and bolster performance parameters in unimagined ways. 

Even if your organization is not yet ready to adopt the latest and greatest iteration, it pays to keep an eye on the best use cases and to be ready to support your teams with the tools they’ll need to be their most productive and to significantly improve their experience. 

What do you think? Reach me at [email protected].

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