Categories Gadgets

AI Gadgets Could Change Everything About How We Interact With Tech

Happy Friday! Oompa Loompa, doompety-doo. I’ve got a new Willy Wonka character for you.

This just in: Elon Musk has sued ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and its chief executive Sam Altman, saying they abandoned the company’s original non-profit mission.

What’s on deck:

But first, there’s a new trend in AI.

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The big story

AI (literally) in your pocket

humane's Ai pin attached to a white sweatshirt

Tech workers are criticizing Humane’s hotly anticipated Ai pin.
Courtesy of Humane

What if you could wear artificial intelligence around your neck, hold it in your pocket, or pin it to your chest?

AI-powered gadgets might seem like the opposite of progress — isn’t the future supposed to be virtual? — but some don’t see it that way.

In fact, heavy hitters like legendary investor Vinod Khosla believe that AI devices will completely change how we interact with technology.

It’s a prediction that has captivated and divided the tech scene in recent months, Business Insider’s Samantha Stokes and Vishal Persaud write.

Rabbit’s portable AI assistant is an example of the trend. The pocket-sized device can perform tasks on users’ apps via voice controls. In January, its first batch of units — 10,000 devices priced at $199 a pop — sold out in just 24 hours.

According to AI-gadget evangelists like Khosla, these devices will flip the script on human-computer interactions. Instead of figuring out how to work the newest app or tool, the AI will learn how to navigate around you.

Rabbit R1

Rabbit R1

Still, there are reasons to be skeptical about AI devices.

Humane’s Ai Pin, which can project text onto users’ hands and translate voice messages, didn’t get a warm welcome when it launched late last year.

The hardware business is difficult, especially since the SaaS-ification of the world means investors often prefer companies with recurring revenue streams, rather than ones that rely on one-off sales.

But the biggest criticism is much more straightforward:

Why do I need an AI gadget when I already have a very powerful device in my pocket at all times?

That was the perspective of one developer I texted, who said there wasn’t much interest in the trend in their network. They also pointed to rumors that hardware giant Apple is set to make big announcements about AI, which CEO Tim Cook hinted at during the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

In the meantime, though, some of tech’s biggest names clearly believe AI gadgets are the future. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and OpenAI’s Sam Altman are both backers of Humane, while Khosla Ventures invested in Rabbit.

3 things in markets

Paul Krugman

Franck Robichon/Reuters

  1. Don’t trust the “vibecession.” The bad vibes spreading through the economy are unwarranted, according to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. Americans shouldn’t be bitter about Bidenomics just because grocery prices have risen, he said.

  2. Baby boomers are driving the US economy. A hedge fund manager said we’re in a “boomer renaissance” — and told investors to focus on tourism, healthcare, and biotech in order to capitalize.

  3. Bitcoin ETFs could go even more mainstream. Wells Fargo and Bank of America’s Merrill have started offering ETFs that invest directly in the cryptocurrency to some of their clients, according to a report. Bitcoin has started 2024 on a tear and is now trading at $62,000 — just $7,000 shy of the record price it hit in November 2021.

3 things in tech

The trade desk logo as a moon and a cookie creating a lunar eclipse

Burazin/Getty, Tyler Le/BI

  1. The Trade Desk is about to face its biggest test yet. The $40 billion adtech firm’s future hinges on whether it can spread its cookie replacement technology across the digital ecosystem, ad experts and former employees told BI.

  2. Shopify’s ecosystem is becoming oversaturated with apps. The e-commerce giant’s App Store has experienced rapid growth — and developers say it’s getting tougher to stand out.

  3. GTA RTO: Rockstar Games has reportedly given its staff a return-to-office ultimatum as “Grand Theft Auto VI” enters the final stages of development. Security is one factor driving the publisher’s decision after the game’s first official trailer was leaked in December.

3 things in business

A bald eagle holding a football

Movies, TV, music, even other sports are stumbling. But the NFL is the one thing that can still bring Americans together.
iStock; BI
  1. The NFL could change its team ownership rules. The league is inching closer to opening its doors to a slew of institutional investors, including private-equity firms and venture-capital funds. That’d be a massive win for Wall Street.

  2. The New York Times has big plans for its Cooking app. NYT Cooking has helped the outlet become a digital success story at a time when other media companies are struggling. Editors plan to churn out more recipes and videos than ever before as part of the app’s largest expansion yet.

  3. Oprah is leaving WeightWatchers. The media maven won’t seek reelection to WW International’s board, according to a SEC filing. Shares in the diet company, which is already struggling to stay relevant due to the rise of weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, tumbled 18% after Oprah’s departure was announced.

In other news

What’s happening today

  • It’s the first day of spring, according to the meteorological season.

  • Alexei Navalny’s funeral will be held today.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. George Glover, reporter, in London.