What the AI Pin misunderstands about Star Trek | by Daley Wilhelm


Humane’s Ai Pin “marks a new beginning for personal consumer technology, offering users the ability to take AI with them everywhere in an entirely new, conversational and screenless form factor.” In plain English, it is a wearable with an artificial intelligence-powered assistant that does everything your phone can, but without a screen. It is remarkably similar, in both function and design, to the communicator pin or “combadge” that the likes of Kirk, Spock, and later Picard wore.

A woman in a Starfleet uniform taps the Starfleet pin on her chest.
Essential to any Star Trek cosplay. Image from — https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/your-working-star-trek-next-gen-comm-badge-has-arrived/

I’m far from the first person to compare this futuristic pager to Star Trek’s standard combadge. Starfleet personnel are outfitted in uniforms complete with a pin of Starfleet’s iconic crest. This pin is the communicator, which can be activated with a quick touch. From there, users execute voice commands like, “Computer, locate Commander LaForge.” or “Computer, run whole crew diagnostic scan.”

Commander Riker reports in to the Enterprise by tapping a silver command pin on his chest.
Quick communication is key when you’re exploring the galaxy. Image from — https://scifiinterfaces.com/2014/01/23/the-wearble-combadge/

Humane’s Ai Pin not only takes inspiration from Star Trek’s communicator’s wearability, but also from the 1960’s vision of human-computer interaction. Voice commands are king, and there are no apps to download and manage, just the user and the omnipotent, all-powerful computer.

This was the vision of the future Rodenberry envisioned decades ago. In his endorsement of Humane’s Ai Pin, Bill Gates seems to concur. He has foretold the death of apps and the rise of “agents.”

The Ai Pin is a square 2x2 inch square with a small orange light on the top left corner.
Quickly read texts, take pictures, or ask questions with a quick touch. Image from — https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/humane-ai-pin-looks-like-a-miserable-smartphone-replacement/

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