The Humane start-up was founded by two ex-Apple executives. It is in partnership with Microsoft or OpenAI, has raised 100 million dollars and aims to release a “wearable” in the coming months that will work thanks to artificial intelligence. Simple gadget or future revolution on the market? The project is still too vague to determine.
Humane is another mysterious start-up that plans to launch its first product based on artificial intelligence in the spring of 2023, without anyone really knowing what it is. Until then, we could say that this is yet another project that will fail as soon as it is launched. But behind the scenes, that’s not what we can see: Humane has just completed its third fundraiser, raising no less than $100 million, for a total of $230 million.
Humane: what are the plans of this mysterious start-up?
Humane was founded in 2018 by two former Apple executives, Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. They were respectively design directors in the human interface team and operations director. A business that has become a family affair, since the two founders are now married. In addition, many employees are also former members of the Cupertino company, having left the ship. The start-up’s website is still a little empty: most of the pages only provide sentences with vague and consensual concepts. However, there are a few press releases about fundraising.
What we do know is that a product will be released this season that will incorporate artificial intelligence. As reported by wall street journal“ published patents suggest that Humane intends to build a portable device that might be able to project a screen that users could interact with. A patent that specifies that users could control the interface by air gestures or with their fingers.
A wearable powered entirely by AI
For his part, John Gruber of Daring Fireballshared ” a low definition copy of a Humane presentation to an investor in 2021 “, writingPhone Arena. It would be a connected and AI-powered camera: it would save photos and videos in the cloud. Nevertheless, this would not necessarily be the product launched in the next few months. The marketing presentation mentions the use of a LiDAR which would answer certain questions. One could ask thiswearablewhat is the model of car that we show him, the price of an object that we see, what is the building in front of which we are, etc.
Also according to the shared presentation, the device can “support microtransactions that once required a smartphone and are now even faster, easier, and smoother with view-assisted context awareness“. The question that remains unanswered is still the obligation to have a smartphone for this product to work. But we know that the camera feed could be used for applications and in particular social networks like Instagram and Snapchat.
Renowned partners and major fundraisers
Humane announced on March 8 that it had completed a third fundraiser which raised no less than $100 million. In addition to these 100 million dollars, 130 million dollars had already been collected during two previous rounds.
Beyond the amount of the transaction, it is also the names found in the list of participants that can impress. Microsoft, LG, Volvo, Qualcomm, Forerunner (Garmin) as well as Sam Altman, founder of OpenAI (in which Microsoft has invested $10 billion). A list that should however be put into perspective: the major companies in the industry all invest in different projects, in order to see them grow and why not to democratize their products/services on a larger scale. This allows them to predict future trends while having their hands on the next technologies.
Moreover, we learn that Humane will rely on Microsoft for the marketing of its future product and that it will use its cloud service to operate its artificial intelligence. In addition, the start-up will use OpenAI technology for its device. We can think that this product will integrate a language model like GPT 3.5, the one currently used by ChatGPT. The published press release also adds that Volvo will work with Humane “about a potential future collaboration that would be the first example of applying Humane’s offering to the automotive industry.»
Why Apple is not in the game
According to information from John Gruber, Apple would not be interested in taking a stake. We can think that the apple brand is very focused on its Apple Glass mixed reality headset. The helmet is rumored to be in an advanced stage and a presentation could take place at the next WWDC next June.
But one explanation put forward by John Gruber is the relationship between Apple and its two former top executives. It indicates that “Bongiorno and Chaudhri did not leave on good terms, with Chaudhri in particular seen as taking excessive personal credit for the work done by a larger team.One thing is certain, the two parties no longer want to establish human relations.
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