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Rabbit’s Pocket AI Device Goes Viral

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A new AI hardware device is going viral online after debuting at CES.

It's called the Rabbit R1 and it's built by a company called Rabbit. The R1 is a standalone hardware device with a touchscreen, camera, and scroll wheel.

But the real draw of the device is how it uses AI.

Rabbit says it uses a type of AI called a "Large Action Model" to do some pretty neat thing. The Verge describes this AI as a “universal controller for apps.” In theory, that means it can interact with and control all the apps you use every day.

So, just tell it want you need and it uses your apps to do it. It's able to do that because Rabbit has trained the AI on how to use existing apps on its own.

The company even claims you’ll be able to teach the device how to do new things, so it can do them on its own moving forward.

One hypothetical example given by the company:

You could teach the AI how to remove watermarks from photos using Photoshop by showing it how.

These details were enough to send consumers into a frenzy…

After debuting at CES, the Rabbit R1 pre-sold 10,000 units in a single day. It has since sold out multiple production runs.

Don't worry:

You can still pre-order the device for $199, though you'll have to wait for it.

Is the Rabbit R1 worth paying for—and paying attention to?

On Episode 79 of The Marketing AI Show, I spoke with Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer to find out.

Will the Rabbit R1 Replace Your iPhone?

The Rabbit R1 has some things going for it, says Roetzer. It's beautifully designed. The website marketing the product is awesome. And the company has $30 million in funding.

But Roetzer is skeptical the product will achieve lasting relevance.

“Apple is going to do this on your phone and your watch,” he says. “I already have both with me.”

Today, it’s true that nobody wants to go open a bunch of different apps on their phone to do things. It’s a less than ideal experience, and one that Rabbit aims to address. But Roetzer says it's only a matter of time before Apple addresses it—on the devices you already use.

Trust could also present a major barrier to widespread adoption and usage.

For Rabbit’s AI agents to do what they’re promising, the company needs access to all of your accounts and apps. This begs the question: Do you trust them completely with that access?

If not, the device becomes of very limited utility very quickly.

None of this is to hate on Rabbit, says Roetzer.

“This is what technology is supposed to be. People are supposed to be on the frontier, trying things, doing things, taking risks, building things that other people aren’t willing to build.”

Without a doubt, what they're doing is cool and interesting...

“But I just think Apple is going to crush people like this.”

Now, this doesn't mean companies like Rabbit can't thrive in the shorter term, he says. Some may raise a ton of money, be successful, and have exits.

And, regardless of how Rabbit does, it's yet another signal we're getting closer to AI agents. AI agents, or autonomous systems that can take actions for you online, are likely to make a big splash in 2024.

“The belief is we can now make agents that take action a reality, says Roetzer.

“Everyone’s building agents.” That includes OpenAI, Adept, HyperWrite, and most other major AI players.

Make no mistake: We're a long way off still. The AI agents we have today don't work very well. But enough people and money are focused on AI agents that we're probably going to see significant advancements in this space by the end of 2024, says Roetzer.

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