With Microsoft, Google, and a host of other companies racing to perfect their version of chat-friendly artificial intelligence, you have to wonder what the biggest tech company has to say about it.
The answer is: not too much. Answering a reporter’s question on the company’s earnings call on Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged AI as having enormous potential.
“I think it’s really important to be deliberate and thoughtful about how you go about these things,” Cook said. “There are a number of issues that need to be solved … in a number of different places, but the potential is certainly very interesting.”
Apple and Google team up to stop stalking Bluetooth trackers
Cook went on to explain how Apple had already integrated AI and machine learning into its own products, including the fall detection and crash detection features in the Apple Watch and the iPhone. However, he wouldn’t directly address the subject everyone is curious about: generative AI. That’s the technology behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the company’s multipurpose chatbot that everyone seems to be using for something these days.
“We view AI as huge, and we will continue to weave it into our products on a very thoughtful basis,” Cook concludes.
Cook’s comments can be interpreted as critical of Microsoft and Google, which have rushed to integrate generative AI into their search products.
Apple has an absolutely massive platform it could deploy generative AI on, including hardware products like the iPhone, which comes with the virtual AI-based assistant Siri, as well as software like Safari and Maps. But the company seems in no hurry to integrate a language-based AI model like ChatGPT into its products, instead relying on AI for very specific functions.
Besides avoiding launching a half-baked product (we’re looking at you, Bing, and Bard), Apple has other reasons to be wary of integrating generative AI into any of its widely available products. In March, Italy’s data protection agency banned ChatGPT in Italy due to insufficient protection of user data and the lack of a mechanism to prevent minors from using the service.
You can listen to a replay of Apple’s earnings call here(opens in a new tab).