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Apple faces pressure from major shareholders to disclose safety risks about AI

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With the annual shareholder meeting coming up tomorrow, Apple's shareholders are pressuring the company to reveal risks associated with AI advancements. Two major shareholders, Norges Bank Investment Management and Legal & General, are among the leading investors voting on a resolution for the company to disclose details about its operations.

The shareholder proposal urges the company to talk about the social impact and ethical concerns revolving around the deployment of AI in business operations. The investors mentioned the company shares "very little" information about its risk management strategies regarding AI.

The proposal was initially presented by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and is being supported by Norges Bank Investment Management (Apple's eighth-largest shareholder) and Legal & General (Apple's tenth-largest shareholder).

Major concerns of the proposal include the impact of AI on jobs and rising unemployment rates, privacy and security of user data, and how AI is increasingly being used for deep fakes.

While Apple has not commented further about this issue, it stated in its annual meeting notice that revealing such information could give competitors insights into upcoming projects. It wrote:

“We are committed to responsibly advancing our products and services that use AI,
have a robust approach to addressing ethical considerations across our business
operations, and already provide resources and transparency on our approach to
artificial intelligence and machine learning. The scope of the requested report is overly broad and could encompass disclosure of strategic plans and initiatives harmful to our competitive position."

That said, Apple is one of many companies facing growing concerns of stakeholders such as governments and investors. In December's meeting, Microsoft's shareholders urged the company to "evaluate the risks posed by misinformation and disinformation generated and disseminated through artificial intelligence, and to report on plans to mitigate these risks."

According to Tim Cook, the iPhone maker intends to reveal new AI capabilities at the WWDC 2024. While the company isn't bound to act upon the request of shareholders, if 30% of company investors support the proposal, then the company is pressured to address the situation.

Source: Financial Times

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