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What Are These Companies Hiding?

There are two of these ai assistant devices that are shipping really soon there's the rabbit r1 and then there's the humane ai pin and both of these companies have made some very impressive but questionable claims as to what these products are capable of doing so they've shown examples of you know these devices you can just talk to them have two or three voice commands and it's booking an entire trip for your family to europe it's wild and they also have examples where they're like you know showing the device a handful of almonds and it's able to calculate calories or the amount of protein that's in it and you don't need your phone there's no launching of apps the idea is that these devices will make your life easier like you can use ai to assist you with those different repairs you can do like live translation they allude to the idea that you could replace your phone with one of these devices down the line now as we get closer to these ship dates i couldn't help but just look more into these companies like why is it that these things are weeks away from shipping and no one has handled one of these things. Yet right it's kind of weird. So i went in and having done a little bit of research i feel like we might be getting fleeced. Okay. I'm going to start off with the rabbit r1 so this is the more popular of the two this thing is a $200 device cute looking hardware. It's got some teenage engineering design language going on has a small screen a camera a analog scroll wheel a speaker a button. It's got very simple hardware and at the time of shooting this video they've supposedly sold over 100,000 units on pre-order this thing has popped off and then the other device the humane ai pin this is by contrast a $700 device and it also needs a $25 monthly subscription but this is also an ai assistant but instead of a screen this uses a projector that projects the image of the ui onto your hand it's a neat party trick maybe a little gimmicky but this device is not handheld it's a pin that can attach to your clothing now they haven't revealed sales figures or anything. But it seems just by looking online that this product hasn't had as successful as a launch as a rabbit r1 probably because of it $700 price tag with its monthly sub description now the first question you might have having seen these two things is what do they even do.

And that's a really important question. Right. But every single time i've seen these companies answer that question they skirt around it they talk about these like ai buzzwords they talk about you know. Contextual computing i think the reason why they don't like answering this question is because it's an uncomfortable answer the answer i think of what do these things even do is that right now these products they basically do what your phone does. But they're just not as good at doing it your phone's better at it that means you can use it however you want like what tell me something you would use that for so you use it for just about anything like sending texts or checking up on any notifications that you've gotten stuff that you do just all the time how would i know without seeing a screen that somebody was texting me. And i'm your phone is more versatile it's more powerful it's more private because these ai assistant devices lean on voice interaction to be able to do what they do you can't really watch videos on these things or play games on them and because you still have to carry your phone around with you now have two devices you have to manage but these ai assistant devices are rooted in ai like they're built from the ground up with operating systems that are entirely based on ai and because of that you have the ability to be able to talk to these devices with voice commands and they can carry out a task when is the next eclipse and where is the best place to see it the next total solar eclipse will occur on april 8th 20 4 one of the best places to see it is naz durango mexico it can give you answers it can perform a sequence of tasks that would normally take like five to maybe even 10 clicks on a phone so there is value to that right if you can just talk to something with your natural language and this device will just do stuff however the follow-up question is okay if that's what this thing can do why is it not an app like why is this a piece of hardware that you have to buy why isn't it just something you can download from the app store or the play store. Okay this is a very important question and every time they've been asked this question these companies again they dodge it i feel like they're just they won't just admit the simple reason as to why it's a piece of hardware well there's a few reasons number one in order for an app to exist that has the type of capabilities that we're talking about here this app would need elevated access to the operating system like you would need access to like passwords credit card info it would need access to like the microphone the camera the gps like all of that stuff off of a single tap of a button and those things are locked out from developers rightfully so right apple and google there's no way they're giving developers that type of access on one click certainly not right now but the other reason is that even if in the future if apple and or google decide hey you know we're going to allow app developers to have access to this off a single click apple and google are actively working on their own versions of these things and when they do come out like it'l have awesome hardware integration and integration with partners and stuff they're in app would absolutely destroy any kind of third party app. So right you don't want to touch apps but the third reason and the main reason is for attention because if this was an app no one would care i wouldn't been having this conversation with you if they had an app that did exactly what the rabbit or the ai pin did. But it was just an app that was on your phone you had to pay 25 bucks a month truly no one would care. But because it's a beautiful piece of hardware particularly the rabbit we're talking about it like if you think about it just my hot take half the reason why the one got the attention that it did cuz it looks like that it's got teenage engineering aesthetics.

It's not an official collab or anything it just has te hot sauce all over the design language and so now you know what it is and why it's not an app let's talk about problems so the first problem i have is that both of these primarily run off voice commands where should ken and i grab dinner tonight here are some recommendations for you sushi ron shisen and elephant sushi they lean on voice as the main way to be able to interact with these two devices but right now when we use our phones and our regular apps there is a lot of fine-tuning that we do like on the screen by poking things and reacting to stuff that happens on our phone in real time like it doesn't matter what you're doing if you're like you know ordering food or trying to book a hotel or a flight you are making decisions and adjusting your thoughts looking at the screen like you're seeing reviews or you know an appealing photo or pricing like there's stuff that's actively affecting what you're going to click and tap next and same with an uber like i'l often adjust my pin be like you know pick me up across the street because that's going to save me 5 minutes for like the turnaround. Right so there's stuff that we actively do in our apps because apps are built and optimized for human interaction right now but to remove all that stuff and to just have voice commands with like a little bit of adjustment on like a tiny screen that's not how we use things the moment there's some kind of like option assessment that we have to do i think this whole voice interaction thing falls apart it's unfortunate but i think that's just the way that humans interact with online decisions right now and to expect an ai to like my wife will spend two or three days like full ass days focusing on how to book a vacation you know what's the exact thing that we're going to do you think an ai can do it in two voice commands bro come on man that's not realistic and the fact that they're showing it like that is i think misleading the other thing they have shown in some of their demonstrations and also in released videos like on their social media people interacting with these devices like kind of the pre-release devices and they're editing the videos on the wait time like they'l ask it a prompt who designed the williamsburg bridge the williams and instead of letting the video run so that the viewers can get a sense of how long these things actually take to respond to things they'l cut the video and just edit it to when the response happens it is so weird it's like that weight time that lag is a big factor in determining how good or useful these things really are there's the argument to be made like okay this is pre-production engineering stuff. So the wait time that's live right now isn't actually representative of what the product will be in the future sure throw some text up why are we hiding the latency of this stuff behind edits i hate.

That okay another thing i want to talk about is in regards to the humane ai pin. Specifically. So i remember when they first showed off this laser projector tech at a ted talk and it was really cool. Right it looked like it could be really small. But now that it's out it turns out it's actually a fairly chonky device. But it's quite heavy so unless you're wearing like a thick material or you're wearing like really tight fitting clothing this thing tends to just flop around when you're using it now it is strange to me that we're i don't know a few weeks out from their ship date and they still have not allowed people to demo this thing live like if you went to mwc you couldn't handle these things you had to watch the humane employees demonstrate the product for you to look at it was it's so weird. It's like people should at this point have a good idea of what these things feel like when they're being worn and there were reports of the devices overheating because the laser projectors were being used too much like it's just so strange that this is the state that the product is in just weeks out from the ship date i honestly think that the whole idea of the laser projection is like it's a cool idea. But i'm worried it's a gimmick and my simple reasoning is that if that feature was actually good if a laser projected screen onto your hand was something that people actually wanted we would be able to go to the store and buy that like you can create that tech today like you could have a wireless like a device that just your screen from your phone is transmitted wirelessly and it's projected to your hand you could make that. But it doesn't exist because i just don't think people want that but humane is telling us that well that product's not good what you just described dave.

But if you add ai to it and just make it voice operated now it's good. I don't buy it. I really don't okay the last thing i want to talk about pertains specifically to the rabbit r1 so this device has something kind of special it's their large action model the lamb and it's the feature that gives me the most hope for what they're trying to do with the r1 so the easiest way i can think of to describe what a large action model is. Is that it's an ai model that performs actions based on your prompting so instead of just reacting to language and text and stuff like that this can actually do like mouse clicks and scrolling and it can be trained just like a language model so if you just showed this lamb how you edit a photo in photoshop let's say. And then you got 5,000 people to show this lamb how they do it would learn and then in the future it would be able to make its own decisions or the lamb would be like hey if you want to make a warm looking photo this is what you do because i saw what all these other people did in photoshop. I click this i click that i scroll here and that is a lamb a very primitive description of it now i think the idea is very cool. But when they showed it during the presentation they were first of all they were showing the use of their lamb on services that have apis so i don't even know if they're actually built lambs that function the way they did in the presentation but also i imagine that people that are pre-ordering this device think that these lambs are going to be available right off the bat.

And they i don't think they will be how could they be. I think the 100,000 people that pre-ordered this thing they will be the ones responsible for training these things to be able to do whatever they end up doing in the future. So if you bought one you're expecting to be able to do anything other than like simple gpt instructions or perplexity instructions i don't think it can how could it that has no training data as of right now at least not enough of it to make it actually functional or useful and that i felt was a little bit misleading now they're a business. Right they're they have to show the best case scenario of what this thing can do. And i respect that. But it's just when i see the presentations when i see the demos i'm like come on man there's no way this thing can reliably book a vacation in three voice prompts like there's no way and also errors like ai hallucinations right now when you have an ai error like a hallucination in mid journey you just get a dude with 12 fingers we laugh at it. It's hilarious. But if you have and hallucination with large action models you're talking about ordering 50 pizzas or like you know ordering a booking a vacation that's $20,000 over budget like this is real stuff here because these are action models i feel like it's irresponsible for them not just to market it like they it can do it but also to even have that ability right now like it should be super beta and people should be aware that this is not something you can do right now the thing i have to keep in mind. And i think you guys also after hearing my rant about this the thing we have to keep in mind is like when it comes to the technology that we have access to today the things that we use every day all of the stuff we use came from lots of companies trying lots of weird stuff and most of them ended up in failure but the result in the end is awesome products for consumers. So i think these two products that's part of it right that's part of the process to get there i respect that. And i want these guys to succeed i don't want to see them fail i want to see this stuff pan out the way that it could but the marketing right now is just so strangely optimistic and like both of them it doesn't make sense to me how can you how can you be responsible and put marketing material out like that's all.

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