Ai Pin raises ‘creepy camera’ fears, but this is how Humane is protecting people’s privacy
Humane’s Ai Pin features a 13MP camera, that can raise some privacy and consent red flags. But the company has added some important features to ensure it doesn’t become a ‘creepy camera’.
Humane's Ai Pin is a unique device that can perform the majority of the tasks that a smartphone does, without a display or requiring to touch it even once. Its cofounder Imran Chaudhri called this new technology “AI as an interface”, where you only had to make minimal interactions with the device in order to get things done. However, there were some concerns raised by skeptics as well. One of them pointed out that the 13MP camera on the device, when worn on clothes, also stares at whatever you're looking at. Such a pointed camera can make people feel uncomfortable due to the risk of their privacy being violated. But it turns out that the company has planned some safeguards to ensure this does not happen.
Ai Pin's camera and a look towards privacy
Ai Pin is a small boxy device with a 13MP ultra-wide camera, a bunch of sensors, a speaker, a laser ink display, and a microphone. So, it can see, sense, speak, and listen. It is powered by an unnamed Snapdragon chipset and its brain is a GPT engine, although the details are not known.
And it is the 13MP camera that has sparked some privacy concerns. It is felt that since the device is meant to be worn over clothes, it will see whatever the user sees. This includes public places, private establishments, and even sensitive places such as hospitals and funeral homes. The presence of an all-seeing eye can be uncomfortable to many.
However, this is where the ‘trust' features of the Ai Pin come in. The Ai Pin is deactivated unless it is explicitly turned on using a double tap and swipe-down gesture. When it is in sleep mode, it does not listen to or record images and videos. It does not even listen for wake words since it can only be turned on using gesture control.
Even when turned on, whenever the device captures audio, photos, or video, a light turns on which the company calls ‘Trust Light'. This is to indicate that the device is currently in recording mode, so no one can sneakily record others. There is a Trust Lock in place as well to avoid incidents where the device can accidentally begin recording.
These features highlight Humane's approach towards privacy and how it is solving the pain points around the perception of its device.