Apple to disclose AI plans later this year, CEO Tim Cook says

Company will join competitors when it eventually unveils generative artificial intelligence technology

Apple's Tim Cook foresees 'incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI' for the company. EPA
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Apple plans to disclose more later this year about its plans to put generative artificial intelligence to use, chief executive Tim Cook told the company's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Cook said that the iPhone maker sees “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI, which is why we're currently investing significantly in this area”.

'We believe that will unlock transformative opportunities for users when it comes to productivity, problem-solving and more.”

Apple has been slower in introducing generative AI, which can make humanlike responses to written prompts, than rivals such as Microsoft and Alphabet's Google, which are weaving them into products.

Mr Cook said AI is already at work behind the scenes in Apple's products, but there would be more news on explicit AI features later this year.

Bloomberg previously reported that Apple plans to use AI to improve the ability to search through data stored on its devices.

“Every Mac that is powered by Apple silicon is an extraordinarily capable AI machine," Mr Cook said. "In fact, there's no better computer for AI on the market today."

Apple shareholders on Wednesday rejected a measure asking the company to disclose more information about how it uses AI in its business and its ethical guidelines for the technology.

The proposal was put forth by the pension trust of the AFL-CIO, the largest American labour union federation, which has also proposed AI measures at other technology companies.

A similar proposal will be heard at Walt Disney's annual meeting in April.

At Apple, the AFL-CIO asked for a report on the company's use of AI “in its business operations and disclose any ethical guidelines that the company has adopted regarding the company’s use of AI technology”.

In its supporting statement in Apple's proxy materials, the AFL-CIO wrote: “AI systems should not be trained on copyrighted works, or the voices, likenesses and performances of professional performers, without transparency, consent and compensation to creators and rights holders.”

Apple opposed the measure, saying that disclosures could tip its hand on strategy as it competes against rivals in the fast-moving AI field.

Updated: March 05, 2024, 10:13 AM