Apple can learn a valuable lesson from the Humane AI pin disaster

Son, your mother and I want to talk to you about AI.

No, don’t get up.

Look, we don’t want you to learn about it on the streets. Because it’s an ugly business.

The Macalope probably doesn’t have to detail the many problems with AI. First of all, it’s a misnomer. Calling today’s large language models “artificial intelligence” is like calling the first combustion engine a warp drive. Second, much like a coal furnace, all these various constructs have to be fed a corpus of content in order to be able to generate anything at all. Where does all the come from? Uh, blurgle frangle blooble hammer, we, uh, just found it lying around! No, actually, you didn’t, you used a whole bunch of other people’s work and you didn’t pay a damn thing for it.

Then, of course, the results you’ll get from your model will vary based on the inputs. If you only 4chan comments, I wouldn’t go asking it for any medical advice. Part of which is why the result are spotty or often just really bad and verging into dangerous.

Other than these problems, though, it’s great and this is why Apple needs to have AI right now! Look, if even Jony Ive is jumping off a well-chamfered bridge, don’t you want too as well, Apple?

“Jony Ive AI device could get $1B funding from Laurene Powell Jobs”

And what is this device, exactly? Well, we don’t know and, while it’s possible that Ive and collaborator Sam Altman have a rock-solid idea of what it should be, we have a very real example of people being given a mess of money before they really knew what they were doing and also shipping before they knew what they were doing.

That is the Humane AI pin.

And how did that work out? Well, Marques Brownlee called it “the worst product I’ve ever reviewed” is how that worked out, thank you for asking.

The Macalope would like to talk to a market purist about this because this is not an efficient distribution of capital. It is rich people who know each other throwing big piles of money at one another and hoping something comes of it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Macalope’s been hard on Humane mostly because his instincts are activated by the smell of flop sweat. He doesn’t know anything about the funding behind the Limitless pendant, but it doesn’t have that. The horny one doesn’t know if it’ll be successful, but it is at least a thing that knows what it wants to be: a device that helps you keep track of things. That’s not to say that it doesn’t come without its own concerns–privacy and consent being at the top of the list–but Limitless addresses those issues head-on. It remains to be seen if their technology works like advertised or offers the protections they claim, but it’s nice to hear someone talking about it.


It also costs just $99 and doesn’t have a recurring subscription (which they announced by cleverly jabbing Humane’s price).

Not only is the AI realm woefully short on discussions of its problems, but a lot of its proponents seem to be saying “Please don’t talk about its problems (such as licensing) because if we do then we can’t have AI and we really want it.”

AI is the hot new thing right now, so Apple has to be in the game, or at least appear to be in the game. Or just say it’s about to be in the game as the case may be. Is it surprising that our quarterly-results-driven financial community wants results on AI now no matter what the consequences? Ha, no. The Macalope’s kind of surprised Wall Street hasn’t demanded someone make the Torment Nexus already.

Apple is not immune to such pressure, but it still does things its own way. On the licensing front, at least Apple seems to be paying for access to works that it uses to feed the hungry maw of its AI efforts.

“Apple struck deal with Shutterstock to license millions of images for AI training”

Which is good because, like it or not, it seems that AI is coming to its products.

“The M4 chip is coming sooner than we thought–and it’ll be packed with AI tech”

“Some iOS 18 AI features might be limited to the iPhone 16 Pro models”“

Limitless notes the inherent difficulties in doing everything on-device and says its Confidential Cloud technology will keep your data safe, even from the prying eyes and ears of the government. They even say they’ll be HIPAA compliant.

Great! Because we’ve certainly never gotten a notice from a company in the healthcare industry saying “Oopsies! Data breach!” have we? Ha-ha!


The Macalope doesn’t even know why someone would want his medical records. They’re disgusting. It’s 99 percent “Is this mole cancerous?” “No, this is a deer tick.”

In this furry observer’s opinion, on-device might be slower, but maybe slower is better here. Paying for content might be more expensive, but it’s the right thing to do.

Source : Macworld