Humane Is for Sale, But Who Would Buy Them?

Liana Baker, Mark Gurman, Shirin Ghaffary, and Katie Roof, reporting for Bloomberg:*

Artificial intelligence startup Humane Inc. has been seeking a buyer for its business, according to people familiar with the matter, just weeks after the company’s closely watched wearable AI device had a rocky public launch. [...] Humane is seeking a price of between $750 million and $1 billion in a sale, one person said. The process is still early and may not result in a deal.

Last year it was valued by investors at $850 million, according to tech news site the Information. The company has raised $230 million to date from a roster of high-profile investors including OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman.

I suspect they’ll sell for a pittance — way less than the $230 million they’ve raised. I just don’t see what they have to offer. Humane doesn’t own the AI that powers the AI Pin — that comes from OpenAI, which seemingly not only doesn’t want to buy Humane, but is supposedly in exploratory talks with Jony Ive’s LoveFrom to design and build their own AI devices. The laser projector idea seems to be a bust, and the hardware’s battery life is measured in hours between battery pack swaps.

Off the top of my head, the only company that could afford a $1 billion-ish price for Humane and is dumb enough to do it is HP.

* Bloomberg, of course, is the publication that published “The Big Hack” in October 2018 — a sensational story alleging that data centers of Apple, Amazon, and dozens of other companies were compromised by China’s intelligence services. The story presented no confirmable evidence at all, was vehemently denied by all companies involved, has not been confirmed by a single other publication (despite much effort to do so), and has been largely discredited by one of Bloomberg’s own sources. By all appearances “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Yet Bloomberg has issued no correction or retraction, and their only ostensibly substantial follow-up contained not one shred of evidence to back up their allegations. Bloomberg seemingly hopes we’ll all just forget about it. I say we do not just forget about it. Everything they publish should be treated with skepticism until they retract “The Big Hack” or provide evidence that any of it was true.

Friday, 24 May 2024