See full demo of Humane’s AI-powered ‘iPhone killer’


You call that an iPhone killer? See Humane’s first public demo.
Screens?! We don't need no stinkin' screens!!"
Screenshot: Humane/TED Talks

Humane, a startup founded by Apple veterans, recently gave a demo of a device intended to kill the smartphone. The new device doesn’t have a display — instead, it projects information onto the user’s hand. But that’s just hardware — the company’s real goal is creating a personalized artificial intelligence that can go everywhere.

Initial details of the as-yet-unnamed product leaked out a few weeks ago. The full video demonstration is now ready to be watched.

Humane wants to make the computer invisible

Computers used to fill rooms, then they shrank to fit on a desk, then our laps. With smartphones, our personal computers go into our pockets. Humane designed what it thinks is the next step.

It’s not a virtual-reality helmet. “The future is not on your face,” said Imran Chaudhri, Humane’s chairman and president, in his TED Talk demoing the upcoming product.

The device has raised eyebrows because it does not have a screen at all. It rides in a pocket, and the primary way of interacting is with voice.

It’s always ready to talk to the user. Or to other people: The demo shows the device translating English comments into French, spoken in Chaudhri’s own voice.

But the device occasionally needs to show the user something. For that, the wearable depends on a projector. During the demonstration, Chaudhri received a phone call. He then held up his hand so he could see info projected onto his palm that indicated his spouse and company co-founder, Bethany Bongiorno, was trying to reach him.

The TED Talk is not a product announcement. Chaudhri was only showing off possibilities and potential, so he didn’t try to explain everything. Like, for instance, how users will carry Humane’s computer if they don’t have a shirt pocket.

It’s all about the AI

In his demonstration, Chaudhri said, “AI will be the driving force behind the next leap in device design.”

That’s why his company’s device doesn’t have a screen. He thinks that, because AI is integrated into all the gadget’s functions, it doesn’t need one.

Obviously, Chaudhri is very upbeat about the potential of artificial intelligence.

“If we get this right, AI will unlock a world of possibility for all of us,” he said.

Humane’s device will, for example, look over the user’s calendar and tell them a synopsis of the most important events of the day — and not just read a list of names, times and locations. Chaudhri also mentioned showing a candy bar to the AI’s built-in camera to get its opinion on whether the sweet would trigger his food allergies.

Watch his full TED talk to see the demo for yourself.


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