Inside a former horse stable in the San Francisco neighborhood of SoMa, a wave of gentle chirps emerged from small, blinking devices pinned to the chests of employees at a startup called Humane.

It was just weeks before the Ai Pin would be revealed to the world — a culmination of five years, $240 million in funding, 25 patents, a steady drumbeat of hype and partnerships with top tech companies, including OpenAI, Microsoft and Salesforce.

Their mission? No less than liberating the world from its smartphone addiction. The solution? More technology.