Humane thinks we hate our phones

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Image by Humane

Say it enough times and it becomes true.

“Everyone hates their phones.”

That rings true. I hear my friends say it. I might even say it myself sometimes as I cast a furtive glance at my phone screen when I really should be paying attention to the person in front of me.

We all feel like we should probably spend less time staring at our phone screens.

After all, our attention spans are shot, are they not? All that swiping and scrolling cannot be good for us. Who knows what staring at a screen at night is doing to our eyesight.

And what parent does not want their child to have less screen time.

Apple responded to this with the introduction of parental controls with fine grain screen time settings baked in.

“Kids are born digital, they’re digital kids now. And it is, I think, really important to set some hard rails around it,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook this year.

“We make technology to empower people to be able to do things they couldn’t do, to create things they couldn’t create, to learn things they couldn’t learn. And I mean, that’s really what drives us. We don’t want people using our phones too much. We’re not incentivised for that. We don’t want that.”

And so it makes a kind of warped sense that companies from the same part of the world that gave us the personal computer, smartphone and tablet are now launching the products that they promise will address this issue.

Humane, a startup based in San Francisco, and co-founded by former Apple designers and engineers, is launching a new device called the AI Pin.

Looking a bit like the security tags retailers attach to clothes, AI Pin is designed to be clipped to your shirt and features a camera, Alexa-style virtual assistant (powered by ChatGPT) and a laser to project onto nearby surfaces, including the palm of your hand.

“AI now has become something that everyone is curious about and really wants to know how it’s going to change their life,” Humane CEO Bethany Bongiorno told Wired last week.

“We’re offering the first opportunity to bring it with you everywhere.”

Making predictions about the future of tech is a dangerous game, but I remain to be convinced that wearing an all-knowing body cam is any kind of improvement.

Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for. 

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