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Apple’s big move into AI: The intelligence to help you, but Elon Musk thinks otherwise

Apple’s big move into AI: The intelligence to help you, but Elon Musk thinks otherwise

Apple‘s AI party today has been spoiled by one of the most vocal and prolific social media posters in the world, with Elon Musk raising questions about the privacy and security of Apple’s integration of ChatGPT into future devices via software updates.

Let’s rewind a bit.

Apple today kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at its Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California.

READ MORE: Apple unveils major iPhone software overhaul

Along with announcements around new software features for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Vision Pro and more – the company made its first big public move into the AI space, but didn’t brand it “artificial intelligence”.

Instead, it’s called Apple Intelligence.

A nifty way to perhaps soften the concerns of many over the rise of artificial intelligence, but also to redirect the focus of their concept of AI.

To quote Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering: “You should not have to hand over all the details of your life to be warehoused and analysed in someone’s AI cloud – with Apple Intelligence, powerful intelligence goes hand-in-hand with powerful privacy”.

Big claims and entirely in line with Apple’s years-long push for privacy as a core tenet of its products and ecosystem.

Apple Intelligence is built to do things that regular iPhone and Apple product users might do on a day-to-day basis, things like help with writing or proofreading text.

Perhaps you can’t find an emoji to suit your mood or conversation?

Easy – you can use Genmoji – generate an emoji!

These are simple, almost inane things that can be done on your device because these things are just so powerful now.

At the same time, Apple does have some additional support if your request is a bit complex.

Its own “Private Cloud Compute” allows a secure private online connection to assist with your query.

All of that is great, private and very secure as Apple would love it always to be.

However, then there’s the announcement of integration with ChatGPT.

Apple says this won’t be the only AI model it supports, allowing more gateways out of the Apple Intelligence ecosystem.

In explaining how these models would come into play, Apple explained that it built support for ChatGPT into Siri, saying: “First we built support into Siri, so Siri can tap into ChatGPT’s expertise when it might be helpful for you.”

Ask Siri a question that frankly has no relationship to your personal information, emails or other data, and “Siri determines that ChatGPT might have good ideas for this, asks your permission to share your question and presents the answer directly”.

It seems, though, that the very presence of the OpenAI logo (the company that makes ChatGPT) and ChatGPT within this Apple presentation was a trigger for billionaire Musk.

Musk took to his social media platform X to express his concerns, saying: “If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation.”

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1800265431078551973?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

It should be noted that Musk has a history with OpenAI and it didn’t end well, as the company has outlined on its own website.

Musk and OpenAI disagreed about the direction of the company, Musk withheld funding and the rest is history.

Clearly, though, Musk is not keen to see OpenAI succeed.

Musk has his own AI operations at X (formerly known as Twitter) and has been frequent in his posts to X today about the Apple and OpenAI deal, even arguing with people who have clearly spent time investigating his concerns.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1800269249912381773?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfwhttps://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1800273632687521846?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The fact is, Apple has been very clear about how the OpenAI-ChatGPT integration will work – “your requests and information will not be logged” – and most importantly, “You’re in control over when ChatGPT is used…” – it literally asks you on-screen.

Interestingly, 9news.com.au understands using ChatGPT functions via an Apple device without being signed in as a ChatGPT subscriber is actually more secure and private than using ChatGPT online, because Apple has explicitly negotiated to anonymise the requests and ensure data is not retained.

Sadly for Apple, Musk is just out to discredit what is, in fact, a very strong AI announcement today.

Fortunately for Apple, most people are aware of Musk’s delusions – in particular, when they are based around favouring his own companies or goals.

READ MORE: Apple Vision Pro is coming to Australia

Apple Intelligence is a quirky name for a great set of new features coming to Apple devices.

A simple thing like email will become easier to manage thanks to email summaries appearing in the preview text of a message, instead of the opening few lines of the email.

This means you can action at a glance of the inbox overload in front of you.

Add to that the writing tools and image generation potential and Apple is fairly and squarely in this AI race, perhaps not neck-and-neck with Microsoft or Samsung yet but gaining pace which will bear dividends in the next few years.

Apple Intelligence is coming to Apple computers with Apple silicon, and to iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models and newer ones from this point on, with existing devices to get some of the features later this year.

Trevor Long travelled to the US as a guest of Apple Australia.

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