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October 26, 2023

AI is so popular, even fashionistas might wear it

Despite challenges, wearable AI offers the potential for improved productivity, safety and convenience.

In the news

If you attended last month’s Paris Fashion Week, you may have seen a preview of a bit of jewelry that, while not especially lovely (to our eyes, anyway) could be an important harbinger.

Offered by Humane and dubbed the Ai Pin, it’s a screenless, stand-alone device and software platform “built from the ground up for AI,” according to the company. The wearable uses sensors said to enable intuitive computing interactions, and its full unveiling is set for early November.

As this piece notes, the Ai Pin is just one entrant in the “race to make AI you can wear.” Already, it’s competing against other jewelry items, glasses and a few hopefuls that remain too vague to describe.

Wearable AI is intriguing for multiple reasons, one being privacy. Is the person you’re chatting up at a party just wearing a funky, chunky necklace? Or is it a hunk of AI-loaded hardware that’s recording the entire conversation, not to mention myriad details about you?

What may be most interesting, though, is what’s driving this land rush: a desire to dethrone Google and Apple, the giants of the smartphone. Fellow tech titans Meta and Amazon, among many others, hope that wearable AI, which is typically voice-controlled, will reduce the phone’s digital dominance.

The Cognizant take

The global wearable AI market is expected to hit $230 billion by 2033, a 27.6% compound annual growth rate between now and then. Aakash Shirodkar, a Senior Director in Cognizant’s AI Analytics Practice, says the impressive growth will be fueled by the adoption of 5G and cloud-based computing, as well as increased investment in AI tech in general.

“Smart watches, healthcare-based wearables and monitors for sports enthusiasts are currently the most popular types of wearables,” he says, “but I believe the highest growth will occur in enterprise and industrial applications.”

Wearable AI can be leveraged in the enterprise, he notes, to improve worker performance, productivity, process efficiency, automated checking, ease of operations and safety. In the healthcare arena, for example, wearables that detect a fall are available today. It’s easy to envision AI- and Bluetooth-enabled wearables (glasses, watches, pins—the form factor is almost irrelevant) that monitor and warn of tiredness, emotional stress, physical fatigue and more.

“While the potential is great, enterprises should be wary of the challenges of integrating AI into wearable technology,” Aakash points out. “These need to be addressed to ensure the security, privacy, accuracy, reliability and functionality of the devices.” Such challenges include computational limitations, power consumption, real-time processing requirements, data reliability, data bias, accuracy, technical challenges and social challenges, such as data security and privacy concerns, user experience and regulatory compliance.

Wearable AI is here, and it’s poised for exponential growth in coming years. “While challenges exist around responsible and ethical deployment,” Aakash says, “the potential for improved productivity, safety and convenience make wearable AI a promising frontier.” Fashion brooches aside, the real action for wearable AI will take place in work environments.

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