Humane AI trims 4% of its staff ahead of the AI Pin launch, citing a broader organizational refresh for growth, as CEO Bethany Bongiorno emphasizes. The decision follows budget adjustments, impacting 10 employees, raising questions about the company’s trajectory. With the AI Pin set to ship in March 2024, the tech community closely watches how this workforce reduction will influence Humane AI’s standing in the competitive AI device market.
The news of the staff reduction comes from reports by The Verge, a tech news outlet. The company, founded by former Apple leaders Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chaudhri, is getting ready to launch the AI Pin, a unique wearable device designed to be a personal AI assistant. The move to cut staff is part of a larger plan for the company, aligning with its vision for the next phase of growth.
In a post on LinkedIn, Bethany Bongiorno, the CEO of Humane AI, explained the changes, saying, “This is part of a wider refresh of our organizational structure as our company evolves with purpose for this next phase of growth.” The post also mentioned that CTO Patrick Gates would be transitioning to an advisory role, highlighting the internal changes happening at the company.
The decision to cut staff coincides with the announcement that budgets at Humane AI would be lower in 2024. The cuts, affecting around 10 employees, happened earlier this week. While the company insists that these changes were not communicated as layoffs, sources claim otherwise, stating that employees were informed both verbally and in writing.
The Verge also provided insights into the financial backing of Humane AI, revealing that the company has raised over $200 million from influential figures in Silicon Valley, including Sam Altman from OpenAI. Some see the layoffs as a cost-cutting measure before the release of the AI Pin, a screenless, AI-powered pin that aims to be a substitute for smartphones.
The journey of Humane AI has been closely followed since it unveiled the AI Pin in November. Priced at $699, the device is designed to be a wearable AI assistant. It responds to voice commands, projects information onto the user’s hand via a built-in projector, and uses AI-powered optical recognition through a camera.
The AI Pin is equipped with a quad-core Snapdragon processor, a dedicated Qualcomm AI Engine, and runs on Cosmos OS software, promising a user-friendly and intuitive AI experience. Although the device has undergone limited testing, the founders demonstrated its capabilities in a video released last month, showing how users can give specific commands and interact with the AI Pin in creative ways.
Despite the company’s attempt to downplay the workforce reduction as part of a broader restructuring, questions remain about its impact on the company’s overall dynamics. With the AI Pin set to start shipping in March 2024, the tech community is eager to see how this strategic move will affect Humane AI‘s position in the competitive market of wearable AI devices.
Humane AI‘s decision to cut staff before the AI Pin release adds an unexpected twist to the story of this ambitious startup. As the company navigates this critical phase, balancing growth and fiscal responsibility, the industry watches closely to see how things unfold and whether the AI Pin lives up to the excitement surrounding its upcoming launch.