People Gave Them $230 Million For This??

What costs as much as an iPhone but didn’t need to?

Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence
3 min readNov 11, 2023


Nope, not this. Photo by Sabina on Unsplash

Oh, my. Two former Apple employees raised almost a quarter of a billion greenbacks to start Humane and build a quasi-smart-phone that you wear on your lapel. It costs a hundred dollars less than a brand new iPhone 15 and does a whole lot less.

But Sam Altman of ChatGPT fame was one of the, umm, let’s be polite and say one of the people who put money into a startup that has a really good shot at the Ig Nobel Prize for technology.

No, that’s not a compliment.

I just listened to Wired’s Gadget Lab podcast about Humane’s Ai Pin product. The hosts did an excellent job restraining laughter as they valiantly tried to talk about the features and benefits. If I worked for Wired and had been assigned this task, I would not have been able to remain so composed.

In a nutshell, this is a phone that has no screen. It does have a display, or rather, you have it because it can write images and text on your open hand with a laser. You can take pictures and video with it, though you can’t really see what you got until you later log into their website using something that uses a browser like, oh, I don’t know, an iPhone, maybe? Or you can project it on your palm. It’s not exactly 4K, of course.

It can send messages, though rather obviously you can’t write them unless they are going to let you use a keyboard displayed on your hand. Can you picture someone tapping out a message that way? I can’t, but I still bet that will be possible.

You can pair earphones to it, so you can at least listen to messages privately. For extra moolah, you can get music too. I feel safe in betting that won’t be Apple Music.

You surely noticed the AI part of Ai Pin? Yes, the voice assistant is an AI Bot that can access ChatGPT and other chatty savants. Perhaps it will be able to write out answers on your palm? That is so much better than a touch screen, isn’t it?

And wait, there’s more. The founders hope that developers will write apps for the AI Pin. Great apps like, umm, well, not that, but maybe.. oh, hell, I give up. Navigation, obviously, translation, of…



Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence

Retired Unix Consultant. I write tech and humor mostly but sometimes other things. see my Lists if your interests are specific.