Apple Inc logo at Hong Kong Apple store

Apple experiments with generative AI chatbot without signaling commercial rollout

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reportedly developed an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot for internal use by its employees, according to a Bloomberg report.

Ajax, Apple’s new AI chatbot, is a generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) model designed to be used by employees for product prototyping. The company has not disclosed any plans to release a commercial version of the generative AI platform.

The AI platform was developed using Google Jax, a machine-learning platform that runs on Google’s Cloud (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Experts have pointed to the reliance on Google Cloud as proof that a full-scale rollout for consumers is unlikely for Apple. The close-walled AI tool is open to only a select number of Apple engineers after overcoming several security challenges early in the year.

In terms of functionality and design, Apple’s AI tool is no different from OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard. Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed that while the firm is keen on adding AI to its offering, it will proceed on a “thoughtful basis” with consumer privacy at the top of its concerns.

Given Apple’s previous exploration in AI, it is safe to assume that the company will not be relying on cloud-based services like ChatGPT or Bard. Rather, a potential Apple AI offering for the mass market will operate onboard processors with the firm trading privacy for deeper AI capabilities.

Apple has been slowly bolstering its ranks with generative AI talent and machine learning specialists since the start of the year. A glance at the firm’s career page indicates over a dozen job listings for individuals “passionate about building extraordinary autonomous systems.”

A large chunk of the listings focuses on visual generative AI, bordering on the use of AI in avatar creation, video editing, and motion reconstruction.

Apple gained pioneer status in AI following the development of its voice assistant Siri in 2011, but it has taken a back seat in AI development in recent years. The slow pace of Apple’s AI development has seen several of the firm’s AI talent leave their roles in the company for rivals.

Dire risks posed by AI

As more Big Tech firms throw their hats in the ring for AI developments, experts have warned of the pitfalls associated with rapid industry innovation. OpenAI has created a unit to find solutions to the brooding challenge of AI superintelligence, while others have called for a pause in AI development to allow regulations to catch up with the pace of innovation.

The first glimpses of AI risks have been identified in Web3, with digital currency AI trading bots experiencing hallucinations. The United Nations economies have likened AI risks to nuclear weapons, while others have pointed out breaches of existing privacy and copyright laws by AI chatbots.

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