Size matters, a lot.

Alin Buda - Size matters a lot

I wanted to write about something other than this, but it gets annoying.

I'll catch you up for those who have a life and don't follow the AI Pin saga.

Humane.com launched a product, the AI Pin. What's AI Pin? It's a dedicated piece of hardware built for this AI trend. What does this thing do? Well, click that link and see for yourself.

Are you all caught up? Okay.

This new product category is a fascinating, unfolding story for anyone who cares about technology. There are so many ways to look at the evolution of this new thing.

A lot is going on, from the problems they are trying to solve to solutions they came up with, obstacles, and context. We have all sorts of geeks, designers, investors, technologists and storytellers trying to figure out what the future would look like for this new type of hardware. It's interesting. I'm interested in the potential of a product like this to disrupt the economy of attention, to disrupt habits most of us have, and, of course, about the technology that goes inside that little thing.

And here comes the distraction. A series of bad "reviews" have surfaced on YouTube, shaping into a PR crisis for Humane. Some of the most prominent influencers with millions of followers have "reviewed" this piece of hardware, and they all have the same recommendation: don't buy this thing.

Why should this concern you? Apart from the story they tell?

It is time to recognise that humans are imperfect at independently forming opinions.

If this were untrue, MKBHD, Elon Musk, Mr. Beast, Joe Rogan, Alex Jones, and others wouldn't have a business. Together, they aggregate the attention big media companies would "kill" for. If this were false, we would not have TikTok and depressed teens.

It is time to recognise that context allowed for the Influencer job to be established—the size of their platform matters. What gets published as "honest reviews", amplified by the size of their platform and brand, can be weaponised in any direction to make or break a product, reputation, or all of the above.

Yes, the NY Times can help elect a president or sink a company. It is a reality we must deal with. But there is a big difference.

Influencers operate without the safety net of a board or guardrails to keep their power and influence in check. I am concerned about this lack of control over their actions and power. MKBHD, Rogan, Musk, Jones, Tate and others can't see it, or they intentionally distract the audience from this aspect.

MKBHD produced this video claiming AI Pin is the worst product he has ever "reviewed."

Another video has surfaced in which he defends his position in the "review" by blaming Humane. They should have done a better job.

I consider this phenomenon dangerous. In specific contexts, influencers can become extremely dangerous. The size of their audience and their influence is a huge responsibility. A responsibility not many are willing to take.

One more thing—we need to clearly distinguish between a review published by a book reader on Amazon and a production of almost an hour delivered by a team of bright, well-equipped, driven, hungry-for-attention people. That's not a review; it is an influence campaign delivered from an asymmetrical position of power. And in some contexts, it can be extremely dangerous. Whether the message is negative or positive makes no difference.

Copyright © Alin Buda. All rights reserved. Trademarks, brands and some of the images are the property of their respective owners.
Some images were sourced from Pexels™ and Unsplash™.