Apple reportedly developed its own generative AI chatbot that’s very similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. While this might never be released, the underlying tech is already going into the company’s applications and services.
If true, the chatbot’s technology could be a significant upgrade to the Siri digital assistant that’s built into so many Apple products — and that currently draws so much criticism.
Apple isn’t ignoring generative AI or ChatGPT
In recent months, ChatGPT took AI out of the realm of sci-fi and into reality. Despite calls to slow down the tech, big names have introduced their own AI-powered chatbots, such as Google Bard. So far, Apple has been conspicuously quiet on this front, but that could change soon.
Apple has developed an AI framework called Ajax, according to Bloomberg, citing only unnamed sources “with knowledge of the efforts.”
“The company has already deployed AI-related improvements to search, Siri and maps based on that system,” says the unconfirmed Bloomberg report. “And Ajax is now being used to create large language models and serve as the foundation for the internal ChatGPT-style tool.”
We might never see ‘Apple GPT’
As noted, Apple’s efforts include a ChatGPT-like chatbot that has the nickname Apple GPT. It’s supposedly similar to other AI chatbots, and is allegedly already available to a limited number of employees for internal testing. But the company has no plans to release it to the public.
However, that only means the company isn’t going to introduce an application or website with a chatbot on it, as OpenAI did. Apple could use the underlying technology someday to make Siri more intelligent — and therefore more useful.
Apple AI vs. privacy
Although Apple has drawn criticism for apparently dragging its feet on generative AI, the company supposedly has a good reason: privacy concerns.
An AI assistant becomes more useful as it learns more about its user. It can make increasingly helpful suggestions as it learns the interests, needs and preferences of the person it communicates with. All of this could be a huge privacy violation if that data is accessible by the company that developed the AI.
Apple is, of course, aware of this. As Bloomberg noted in its piece on Ajax, “The work includes trying to address potential privacy concerns related to the technology.”
It’s worth noting that one of the reasons Siri isn’t smarter now is because of Apple’s concern that its digital assistant could violate user privacy. The same concerns already slow down the Mac-maker’s generative AI efforts.