We Can, and We Must, Clown on the Humane AI Pin Forever

The Humane Ai Pin joins a rich tradition of terrible tech products that includes the Juicero, Coolest Cooler, and Magic Leap that we must remember forever.
We Can, and We Must, Clown on the Humane AI Pin Forever
Screengrab: MKBHD
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In April 2017, Bloomberg published an article about the Juicero, a product that was intended to be essentially the Keurig of juice but ended up being an expensive, over-engineered, $700 disaster of a product that exemplified Silicon Valley’s obsession with the internet of things, digital rights management, flashy hardware startups, and solving problems that do not exist. 

The article found that Juicero’s proprietary juice packs, which couldn’t be used by the machine after their expiration date, didn’t actually need to be run through the machine at all. They could be “squeezed by hand” to create juice of roughly the same quality. The article led to one of the more entertaining tech news cycles I can remember: Juicero, which had raised $120 million in venture capital funding, was righteously, relentlessly, and rightfully dunked on and clowned upon by the masses. The company shut down several months later. Its founder, Doug Evans, disappeared for a while, and later got really into harvesting “raw water.” 

This was a better, simpler time when people who took gigantic sums of money to make shitty products that sucked were widely dunked on for lighting that money on fire and for disappointing or ripping-off customers. Juicero was not the only hardware startup to meet this fate: The Coolest Cooler, a cooler/speaker/blender/iPhone charger hybrid that was at the time the most-funded product on Kickstarter, had to admit that its own product was a “clusterfuck” and essentially disappeared. There are many such cases: Ouya, Magic Leap, the hyperloop. For the gadget historians out there, there was the N-Gage.

An entire culture arose around exposing “Shitty Kickstarters” and other startups that promised society-shifting products then delivered either nothing or something deeply underwhelming. A new slogan arose: “Hardware is hard,” which was a warning both to founders and to the general public: Making a new product is hard, and we should be suspicious of relative newcomers who promise some huge leap forward. 

Last week, a company called Humane launched the Ai Pin, a $700-plus-$24-monthly-subscription AI assistant gadget absolutely savaged by a group of reviewers who were obviously open-minded about the product but found it to be incredibly lacking in the ‘does this thing actually work’ department. 

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