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Jan 17, 2024

Is the Humane Ai Pin the tech breakthrough of 2024?

Someone says that a tiny accessory sported by supermodel Naomi Campbell during the Coperni Spring-Summer 2024 show at the latest Paris Fashion Week could be the new smartphone. Can we believe it? 

@anothermag The iconic Naomi Campbell walks for @coperni Spring/Summer 2024 ❤️‍🔥 #tiktokfashion #parisfashionweek #pfw #fyp #runway #coperni #naomi #naomicampbell ♬ original sound - anothermag

Time will tell. Meanwhile, we are pleased to see how the Paris-based disruptive brand Coperni is dealing with making a sensation in the tech-forward field without making any fuss. 

First of all, let’s try and understand what the hype is about. Humane Ai Pin is a little pin with a display and a camera, connected to the internet and infused with Artificial Intelligence. It was officially presented in November, just a few months after its public debut on the catwalk.

Humane's AI Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

Humane's AI Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

Although launched as a potentially disruptive product and a device that might replace the smartphone in the years to come, it has not taken off yet. We’re keeping an eye on it.

Humane and Coperni share the belief that design, creativity and technology can be huge drivers and cultural forces for change. They’re not alone in this. 

Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, founders of Coperni, along with Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, founders of Humane and former Apple executives, share the same vision of forward-thinking fashion. In the official statements and press releases, they describe it as a “passion for innovation,” presenting the Ai Pin as a beacon of the future.


Tech’s New Frontier: Making an Impact with Understatement 

After Bella Hadid’s spray dress and Boston Dynamics robotic dogs, the Humane Ai pin stunt at the Coperni fashion show did not impress the public so much. 

Bella Hadid with Sébastien Meyer e Arnaud Vaillant at the end of the Coperni spring-summer 2023 show

Bella Hadid with Sébastien Meyer e Arnaud Vaillant at the end of the Coperni spring-summer 2023 show

It was something very subtle and discreet that went almost unnoticed partially because the product had not been launched yet, so nobody had a clue about what it was.

Is it a smart pin, a tech jewel, or a virtual assistant masquerading as a micro smartphone? Perhaps an anti-smartphone aiming to replace smartphones as we know them? All definitions fail to fit, also because we are so dependent on handling our smartphones like transitional objects that we are constantly referring to them as a main reference for future tools.

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It was intended to make a statement with understatement. It’s so tiny and almost invisible and has a name that addresses humanity that, in the foreseeable future, can be an extension of our own selves. At the very least, it’s something we can forget we are wearing and can merge with our outfits.


Brands Courting Technology. The Watchmaking and Wearable Device Extravaganza

Brands have been flirted with technology for centuries, dating back to the inception of watchmaking.

Watchmaking is an industry that has thrived by combining high-end luxury with cutting-edge technology. This success is credited not only to the intricate mechanisms and complex engineering involved but also to how this sector elevates timepieces beyond mere functional devices to status symbols with branded designs. Notably, watches like Rolex have become more than just timekeeping instruments; they are family treasures that accumulate value over time. 

This stands in stark contrast to contemporary tech devices like smartphones, TVs, or cars, which are often subject to planned obsolescence with the introduction of new models. Infusing technology with a fashion design status appears to act as a safeguard against ageing. Through the introduction of limited editions and strategic marketing drops, technology transcends its practical purpose, gaining prestige and resisting the typical trends of obsolescence.  

Hermès straps for the Apple Watch and the Gucci x Oura fitness tracker exemplify how luxury brands engage with technology, particularly in the watchmaking domain. They strategically align with their expertise, leveraging the tech hype while riding on the shoulders of prominent tech brands. Naturally, the collaboration’s success hinges on the involvement of a major tech player.

Something different is happening with Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, which are rebranding after the Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer flop. The product can record and stream on social media what you see, freeing your hands from the burden of a smartphone.

Humane's AI Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

Humane's AI Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

Humane Ai Pin is crafted to achieve the same and more without the need to wear it on your nose all the time. You can simply hook it to your jacket lapel or shirt pocket. Perhaps the world of fashion design will embrace this innovative tech trinket by creating complementary designs around it.


Will Humane Ai Pins Replace Smartphones? Exploring the Shift in Tech Trends

The actual question is when. The adoption curve of new technology aligns with the rise and fall of fashion trends. A few enthusiasts become early adopters and endorse the technology, serving as opinion leaders.

People start to develop an interest in a product, and then after an amount of time, the product reaches its maximum potential to appeal to consumers and be purchased. However, not all designs or products are popular with the masses, and some remain niche products.

The interactions of Humane's Ai Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

A interaction of Humane's Ai Pin. Photo courtesy of Humane

When a tech product becomes widely available, and zillions of people own and use it daily (think of smartphones) and incorporate it into their lives, it has reached a cultural breaking point.

Obsolescence kills fashion trends and tech items at a fast pace, but some can thrive and stay relevant for decades, evolving from something to something even better. For example, smartphones evolved from mobile phones, which evolved from landline phones.


Should the Humane Ai Pin Amaze Us As Next Big Things Do? 

The Humane Ai Pin represents the next step in the evolution of smartphones. Why? Wearable tech is not a novel concept; this Ai Pin is comparable in size to a smartwatch, and we can expect powerful processors to shrink down to a pin’s dimensions in the near future. Additionally, the permanence of AI is undeniable; it’s here to stay, and we are well aware of it.

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So, why do we sense a shift, even when no new, groundbreaking developments are taking place? Coperni’s Spring-Summer 2024 collection, titled “Forms of Attunement”, offers intriguing insights into the fusion of fashion design and high technology. It’s crucial to tune in to the context: devices are progressively becoming smaller.

Nowadays, it’s possible to pack advanced abilities for data processing, connectivity, and extensive language models into incredibly small physical objects, so tiny that you forget about them.

At the Coperni show, the Discman made a comeback, integrated into a Y2K nostalgic it-bag with a sleek futuristic look. This may suggest that while some technologies are destined to fade away, they can be cherished as beloved relics of the past in a branded design accessory. However, the Discman’s presence seems more like a nod to the Nineties than a genuine attempt to revive CD players.

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The Humane Ai Pin is no different; it looks to the future instead of dwelling on the past.



Gaia Giordani
Generative AI explorer and New Media Communication expert



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