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Apple's venture into generative AI: Will it boost productivity or raise ethical concerns?

The Apple logo in fall

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the company is working on generative AI and that it will begin rolling out the technology in its products later this year. Since OpenAI released ChatGPT at the end of 2022, many companies have released their own LLMs including Google and Meta but Apple is still to do so.

Speaking at the company’s shareholding meeting, Tim Cook said that he sees “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI, which is why we're currently investing significantly in this area. We believe that will unlock transformative opportunities for users when it comes to productivity, problem solving and more.”

Over the last several years, Apple has been including Apple Silicon processors in its Macs. According to Cook, these processors are very capable of handling AI workloads and that “there’s no better computer for AI on the market today.”

At the shareholder meeting, the pension trust of the largest American labor union federation, AFL-CIO, put forward a measure that would require Apple to share information about how it uses AI in its business and outline ethical guidelines. This measure was ultimately defeated by shareholders and Apple opposed it saying this could benefit rivals.

In a statement by the AFL-CIO, the organization said that AI systems should be trained on copyrighted works, voices, likenesses, or performances of professional performers without transparency, consent, and compensation given to creators and rights holders.

Adopting the measure could have actually saved Apple from legal trouble. OpenAI has been taken to court by prominent authors and is in a legal battle with The New York Times over copyright infringement claims too.

Given Cook’s comments about the Apple Silicon processors on Macs, we should probably expect to see the new generative AI services across Apple’s line of computers and phones and possibly replace the aging Siri.

Source: Reuters

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