"Scathing" reviews of AI Pin that's supposed to replace your cellphone

For $700 and a $24 monthly subscription, a tiny wearable computer—the Humane AI Pin—will free you from your phone. Just tap it, talk to it, and it'll do what you ask, be it make a call, send a text, or answer questions. The problem is, as David Pierce writes among others, is that it just doesn't work. It's nearly useless: "The AI Pin doesn't work. I don't know how else to say it."

The AI Pin is an interesting idea that is so thoroughly unfinished and so totally broken in so many unacceptable ways that I can't think of anyone to whom I'd recommend spending the $699 for the device and the $24 monthly subscription. … Every time the AI Pin tries to do seemingly anything, it has to process your query through Humane's servers, which is at best quite slow and at worst a total failure. Asking the AI Pin to write down that the library book sale is next week: handy! Waiting for 10 seconds while it processes, processes, and then throws a generic "couldn't add that" error message: less handy. I'd estimate that half the time I tried to call someone, it simply didn't call. Half the time someone called me, the AI Pin would kick it straight to voicemail without even ringing. After many days of testing, the one and only thing I can truly rely on the AI Pin to do is tell me the time.

At best it answers maybe half the time, he writes, and sometimes produces error messages, but more often than not it just silently fails to do anything at all. One wow feature: stand in front of a restaurant so it can see it with its camera and you can ask it for the reviews. Clever stuff, and a glimpse of the future. Beam me up! But… not yet.

There are more scathing reviews. It "solves nothing and makes me feel stupid." The company is tweeting through it.

Here's a funny remark from John Gruber about it getting a 4/10 rating: "How bad, how broken, would a product experience have to be to get a lower score? Would the reviewer need to be electrocuted by the device to rate it lower?"

I want to make a device that discharges its battery into my fingers just to get that coveted 3/10!

Rating systems are always full of ironic sighs. There's a fundamental absurdity and humor in the idea of assigning linear scores to technological experiences. But readers want it. They get really mad about it, too if you try and apply any editorial standard other than the rigid quasi-Jungian meanings they bring to specific numbers. You give a Zelda game 8/10 instead of 9/10 and you'll get death threats even if that's the highest your publication ever rated a game. In the olden days you really might have read in a game mag's rating explanations page something like "2/10 means the game gave us rickets".

Previously: This new $199 AI gadget is no-subscription pocket companion