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The Humane AI Pin is lost in translation

A photo of a person tapping on a Humane AI Pin.
As funny as it was when the AI Pin utterly failed at translating Korean and Japanese, it also broke my heart. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Of all the things the Humane AI Pin promised, I was most intrigued by translation. In a demo, a man speaks to Humane co-founder Imran Chaudhri in Spanish. The AI Pin automatically translates it to English. Chaudhri replies in English. Again, the AI Pin translates his words back into Spanish. There are notable pauses when the AI is processing, but it’s a powerful concept. Unlike with Google Translate, there was solid eye contact between both people. The AI voice sounded more natural and less robotic. And crucially, there were no screens. The language barrier was still there, but it was much more permeable.

That’s not what happened when I tried it myself.

I spoke some simple phrases in Japanese and Korean. Instead of translating, the AI…

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