Rabbit r1’s AI companion is the CES gadget I want to hate but may end up loving

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The Rabbit r1 is the most interesting product at CES 2024 and almost no one has seen it. There were no pre-show rumors and the launch show was held on X (the site formerly known as Twitter).

However, if you look at it, it is undeniable that the R1 represents the arrival of a new type of technology: an artificial intelligence tool.

The idea is that you can talk to r1, and it will not only provide you with information but will also be able to perform actions in all the big applications for you, without the need for special integrations.

To borrow a phrase, it has to work.

Speaking about our current world of mobile technology, especially app-driven smartphones, Jesse Liu, founder and CEO of Rabbit, said, “These people have been around a long time and we’re tired of them,” and I angrily responded to bullshit calls.

Everyone has smartphones, trusts apps, and sometimes loves them.

Good luck wresting smartphones from our cold, dead fingers. Bunny r1 will not impersonate them.

However, after watching the 25-minute presentation, I’m convinced there’s something here.

Yes, the $199 device is affordable and cool, too.

The bright red color, the palm-sized size, and the rabbit avatar icon are cute and more attractive than they should be.

The old look is carried over to the physical buttons and the small touchscreen: it’s a bit reminiscent of PlayDate.

If this was all there was to Rabbit r1, I could declare it a failure before it even jumped out the door.

But it’s more convincing than the Humane AI Pin, which asks us to wear an oversized button on our clothes and read projections on our palms.

For me, nothing is inspiring about that.

media.wired

Rabbit Race

Rabbit r1 takes a different path. The devices and their disturbing appearance are merely catalysts for a radically new way of looking at interfaces and interactions between humans and computers.

There are some difficulties in reaching this goal.

Still, the Rabbit r1 appears to be the first consumer electronics device to break down operating system and interface barriers to provide a comprehensive human-computer interface.

Leveraging large language models (LLMs) to talk to r1 is only one part, and in the demo, Rabbit OS appeared to be a capable interlocutor.

However, it is Liu’s efforts to make AI action-oriented that offer the most potential.

We all talk to our chatbots, but it takes some effort to get what we want because of the need to be very specific.

Rabbit realizes that action-oriented AI can only work if it understands the systems it is trying to reach.

Essentially, the Rabbit OS and its Large Business Model (LAM) could be the system that knows how each platform (Android, iOS, Windows) works and how the services and applications that run on them work.

If it works as advertised, it takes the multi-layered hidden menu system and explodes it into a flat plain of possibilities.

This means that you can ask Rabbit r1 to perform actions spanning multiple services and accounts: Plan a trip where you find flights, hotels, Uber, activities, and maybe a playlist to take on the road.

It is not necessary to identify each service by name, although you can do so.

Rabbit r1 seems to sense what needs to be done in each application or service, as good AI should.

Informative Rabbit

Naturally, Rabbit requires access to your accounts to create this interface, and you will log in to all of your accounts through the Rabbit web portal.

Lyu insists that you remain logged into your services and that these details are not shared with Rabbit, just how things get done for you.

This will be the riskiest part, and I’ll reserve judgment, but only because I think this might be the right way to go: spending less time on apps and interfaces and more time simply telling the AI chatbot what you want.

The 360-degree computer vision-powered camera looks equal parts useful and intimidating. At least he’s not staring all the time.

AI is everywhere here at CES, but it’s often built into a product or has no purpose at all, or maybe it’s just another companion to your AI robot that will require a little extra housing as it roams your home (don’t get stuck with the). . .

The Rabbit R1 looks only to your pocket, your touch and your voice.

The launch and product were reminiscent of another non-society product: the iPhone (the Rabbit r1 was released on the 17th anniversary of the iPhone).

You can make calls (although interpretation and note-taking are very modern).

As for how much beta has been prepared and whether the promises made now can be fulfilled in the spring when Rabbit r1 is released, no one knows.

(The first 10,000 units sold out immediately, and Rabbit will now accept pre-orders for its second production run.)

However, there’s no denying that the Rabbit r1 has real potential, stealing the spotlight from almost every other product at CES 2024 and making me frown.

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