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Apple teases generative AI plans, hints at user devices playing a role

Apple hinted at upcoming plans involving generative artificial intelligence (AI) during its latest shareholder meeting, according to a report from CNBC on Feb. 28.

Cook said during the call:

“Later this year, I look forward to sharing with you the ways we will break new ground in generative AI, another technology we believe can redefine the future.”

Cook explained that Apple sees “incredible breakthrough potential” for generative AI and is investing significantly in the area. He added that generative AI can create transformative opportunities for users by improving productivity and problem-solving, among other things.

User devices

Cook said some Apple services already use AI, including the hand-tracking tool in its Vision Pro VR headset, heart rate alerts in the Apple Watch, and automatic emergency calling on the iPhone. Cook made similar comments in August 2023 when he said that AI is part of “virtually every product.”

Separate reports from Reuters imply that, unlike certain cloud-powered AI services, Apple’s AI services may partly rely on its users’ machines. Cook said:

“Every Mac that is powered by Apple silicon is an extraordinarily capable AI machine … there’s no better computer for AI on the market today.”

Apple has yet to announce new AI features publicly, but a Feb. 15 report from Bloomberg suggested that the firm is developing a feature for its Xcode development software that will compete with Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot — both tools use AI to predict and complete code.

Other possible features include AI-created music playlists, Keynote slideshows, and an AI-powered Spotlight search tool.

Meanwhile, a separate Bloomberg report revealed that Apple has canceled its decade-long electric car program and will move some staff to AI development.

AI risk disclosure plan rejected

Bloomberg also reported that Apple shareholders have rejected a proposal requiring the company to produce a transparency report focused on the ethical use of AI.

The proposal aimed to have Apple share information about several AI-related social policy issues, including the possibility of biased decisions against employees, privacy violations against customers, and the risk of layoffs resulting from automation.

AFL-CIO Equity Index Funds, which proposed the disclosure plan, has also made similar requests to other firms such as Disney, Netflix, and Warner Bros. The group has also expressed concerns about using intellectual property in AI training.

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