Can AI Give Us A Self-Defense Edge?



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A couple weeks ago, reviews for a new wearable AI device started hitting the market. While the device reviews aren’t great, they do give us a hint at the future of wearable technology. If used right in the future, the technology could be used to make people, armed or unarmed, a lot safer from criminal attackers.

But, before we get to my ideas on the potential for this technology, let’s first share one of these reviews and discuss what the technology is supposed to do:

What It’s Supposed To Be, But Falls Short Of

In short, the Humane AI pin is something that you wear on the front of your shirt. But, instead of being a decorative thing like a brooch or a body camera, Humane’s device aims to be a lot like the latest Star Trek Combadges, giving you access to computing power, a translator, a projector display and more (sorry, no transporters though). Using chatbot technology, you can get the benefits of a computer without having to have a screen in front of your face.

But, to get all of this cool stuff, you’re talking about spending $700 and paying $24/month. So, it had better work well.

Sadly, it just doesn’t work well, yet. The hardware is great, packing a lot of computing power, battery, sensors and more in a small and elegant package. But, the software just doesn’t make effective use of it. It’s often very slow, and it often gets things wrong, just like a chatbot. Battery life is poor, and often unpredictable, making it hard to keep it running all day. It’s also shedding a lot of heat, making it uncomfortable to wear at times, and other times the device stops working due to overheating.

The video goes into depth about many other things it’s doing wrong, but suffice it to say, it seems like a very early take on wearable AI technology. There’s still a lot of work yet to do to deliver on the promise.

What We Might Look Forward To

When companies get this idea going, the end result will kind of be like an extension of the human brain and our normal social skills. Like our own brains, the device has sensor inputs that get processed to create outputs. Because we’re social animals, we are already accustomed to using other people, machines and even animals as extensions of ourselves. Instead of remembering some things, we know who or what to check with instead (a family member, a friend, a book or your phone for example).

Once the device is ready to join our social circle and contribute, it will make valuable contributions.

When it comes to depending on our social circle, the English language is full of expressions and idioms. There’s safety in numbers. Two heads are better than one. It takes a village. Many hands make light work. There’s strength in unity. Collaboration is key. Teamwork makes the dream work. We’re all in this together. Sí, se puede.

That last one was Spanish, but you get the point. Everyone sees the value that this device can bring to the table once it’s capable of acting like a person and joining the cybernetic collective.

Something To Watch Our Sixes

It’s always good to have someone watch your back. But, what if you didn’t need a fellow human to do that? The pin in the review obviously isn’t going to see behind you, but a pair of them probably could. Or, a future 360 camera accessory could provide your AI friend with the ability to see in all directions at once.

I’d really want such a device to use its additional cameras to look out for signs of trouble. A person advancing on me too quickly, a weapon, a facial expression indicating aggression and many other things could be watched out for by the AI system. I wouldn’t hand an AI a gun and let it make use of force decisions on my behalf (at least not for a decade or two), but getting a quick, “Watch out behind you!” or, “Duck!” would be useful, while letting me decide how to respond.

Nobody can pay 100% attention all the time. The human brain gets bored, tired and distracted. But, an AI system trained to look out for signs of trouble might be able to do that when we can’t. That would make such a device worth several times its weight in gold-pressed platinum.

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