Home Money No matter how you package it, Apple’s intelligence is AI

No matter how you package it, Apple’s intelligence is AI

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No matter how you package it, Apple's intelligence is AI

While companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others had been candid about their AI efforts, Apple had been silent for years. Now, at last, his executives were speaking. One day they gave me an early look. Eager to shake off the impression that the most innovative of the tech giants was lagging at this vital technological moment, its software leader Craig Federighi, services czar Eddie Cue and top researchers argued that Apple had been a leader in artificial intelligence for years, but he just didn’t give it much importance. Advanced machine learning was already deeply integrated into some of its products and we could expect more, including advancements in Siri. And since Apple valued data security more than its competitors, its AI efforts would be distinguished by demanding privacy standards. How many people work in AI at Apple? I asked. “A lot,” Federighi told me. Another executive emphasized that while AI could be transformative, Apple wanted nothing to do with the exciting aspects that excited some in the field, including the pursuit of superintelligence. “It’s a technique that will ultimately be a very Apple way of doing things,” one executive said.

That conversation took place eight years ago, when the technology of the day was deep learning AI. But a year later, a groundbreaking breakthrough called Transformers led to a new wave of intelligent software called generative AI, which powered OpenAI’s groundbreaking ChatGPT. In an instant, people began judging technology companies by how aggressively they jumped on the trend. OpenAI’s rivals acted quickly. Apple, not so much. Many of its top AI scientists had been working on autonomous vehicles or its expensive Vision Pro mixed reality headsets. In the last year, Apple has pulled its talents from such projects (no more self-driving cars) and instead devised its own AI generation strategy. And at this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed what it was doing.

Unusually, for an event of this type, the news was less about products than Apple’s statement that when it comes to generic AI, We’re on that. In an interview after the keynote, CEO Tim Cook explained the anomaly. “It became clear that people wanted to know our opinion on generative AI in particular,” she said. But just like in 2016, there was a cautionary note: While the company would now embrace generative AI, it would do so in a very Apple way. The company refused to even label its technology as artificial intelligence. Instead, he coined the phrase Apple Intelligence, a made-up technical name whose purpose seems to distance Apple from the scary aspects of this powerful technological wave. Apple isn’t interested in chasing uniqueness or making the movie. His come to life. You’re using this new tool to improve productivity and creativity, and just like the intimidating technologies of the past, Apple’s AI will make it easier.

The approach is timely. I date the era of generative AI from the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. We spent the entire year of 2023 trying to digest what it meant and many people are now experiencing an impulse of rejection. They are repelled by the hallucinations of AI and angered by the prospect of losing jobs. And most people still haven’t discovered what AI can do for them. In 2024, smart companies have focused on how this amazing technology can be used in prosaic scenarios. Apple proclaimed: “AI for the rest of us.” (The only time the letters “AI” were used in the keynote). It was a conscious invocation of the original Macintosh slogan. Presumably, Apple will spread AI to the masses in the same way it promulgated the graphical user interface with the Mac.

In contrast to that grand ambition, the products Apple touted during the keynote weren’t exactly revolutionary. Many of the demonstrations involved summarizing, transcribing, auto-completing emails, organizing inboxes, writing paragraphs from prompts, and removing image photobombers. Those are issues at play for the era of AI generation. Apple’s argument, as always, is that it will offer these advancements organically integrated into your normal workflow so that you can actually use those features and love them. Apple has also brought some interesting new features to these products. Its Photos app promises deeper search capability, using AI to figure out what an image is showing and who is in it to search for specific images from vague prompts. In automatically generated email responses, Apple may in certain cases ask you a simple question, which can be answered with a single click (Do you really want to meet this person and when?) and then generate a response that reflects your intent. More importantly, because users in Apple’s ecosystem have a wealth of personal information on their phones and computers, Apple’s AI can use that data to deliver relevant results while keeping those details on the devices, protecting privacy. of the users. Apple senior vice president Federighi, who is still on the case, describes it as “intelligence that understands you.” (Apple even says it will use third-party researchers to verify that the data is truly secure.)

The most interesting of Apple’s announcements involved its AI assistant, Siri, which seems like an antique in the age of generative AI. Apple promised that in the future (maybe 2025?) Siri would not only become a better conversationalist, but could also be an exceptionally powerful personal assistant when making complex requests that involve multiple apps. Ironically, this was the vision of the original Siri team in 2011, dismissed by Steve Jobs for simplicity and because the underlying technology simply wasn’t ready. “This is exactly the missing link in the original Siri,” says Dag Kittlaus, who was in charge of that team when Apple launched the product. Kittlaus and a few key colleagues later tried to make the vision a reality with a startup called Viv, which now lives on as a Samsung product called Bixby. For a complex system like this to work, it is imperative to get a critical mass of developers to sign up. The WWDC program included sessions that educated developers. how to make your apps work with Siri.

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