Apple’s push into the artificial intelligence arms race raises red flags over its privacy stance, according to industry commentators.

Apple will integrate AI into a range of products including Siri, covering ground on fast-moving competitors such as Google, Microsoft and Samsung in their AI adoption.

Broad integration in mainstream products like Apple Intelligence will drive new applications and set higher consumer expectations. However, the move could contradict the tech giant’s historical stance on privacy.

“It’s a significant accession from a company that closely guards its walled garden and one that will elevate the privacy debate, given the optics that Chat GPT could utilise phone data for training its model,” Atomic 212 chief data officer and partner James Dixon told AdNews.

“It is also somewhat contradictory that Apple supported the privacy campaign in 2021 at the expense of digital media targeting, but now relaxes on that to build up product capability with a third party. The AI puts a PA in your pocket. I don’t, however, see a significant impact on consumer journeys in the immediate term.”

Insiders say the tech giant may have been slow to roll out, but Apple’s partnership with ChatGPT was rumoured but not widely believed until now.

As Apple has taken so long to announce its AI strategy, what would have been Black Mirror level impressive a year ago, is now table stakes and almost status quo, Kinesso Australia national head of AI and insights Kellyn Coetzee says.

“Marketers should consider how the increased and normalisation of using voice and assistants will ripple into search behaviour, the search generative experience and consumer journey in general.”

The most significant announcement of Apple Intelligence is around the improved functionality of Siri and how users are going to interact with their devices in the near future.

Coetzee says brands should consider how assets such as their apps can be made more functional and convenient in an environment where the user can interact through Siri rather than in app.

“And users should consider how something like hallucinations might impact, for example, the incorrect retrieval of a passport number, or sending a document to the wrong Cindy… Or will it finally understand my accent?”

Overall, sentiment is reflective in the stock price which dipped 1.5%, Coetzee says.

This has been climbing up 15% in the last few weeks in anticipation of the WWDC, so this dip is not too telling.

Coetzee expects further fluctuation depending on whether or not the general public really grasp the implications of the new era of Siri and what it means for a shift in user behaviour and ushering in the age of voice.

There are two significant call outs about the integration of ChatGpt, she says.

“This enables Apple to leap frog the learning and development of its own LLM, which dodges not only a close to $100M cost, but also the environmental expense of the carbon footprint of 5 cars in their lifetime, or electrical consumption 15 years’ worth of TV watching.

“They can bypass all that expense and impact and dive straight into AI assistants and agency, which is something the other tech giants are still dabbling with. Siri’s ability to see your screen, understand context and interact with apps and deploy functions puts it a step ahead of its major competitors.”

Coetzee says it’s worth noting that while it can understand people’s information, it does not collect that information.

“While this Open AI currently facilitates much of this functionality, the partnership does not preclude them from partnering with other AI tech giants in future.”

It allows the user to use the tech optionally, giving full disclosure that they are existing in the privacy and data guardrails of the Apple environment, she says.

“If they so choose, however, they still have the on-device AI functionality without compromising the Apple level safety, security and privacy standards.”

Orange Line co-founder David Klein feels that Apple’s collaborative approach to AI is a strong indicator that OpenAI/Microsoft are the market leaders, and is likely to accelerate progress.

“Broad AI adoption in mainstream products will drive new applications and set higher consumer expectations,” he says.

“Economically, this will attract more AI investment and job opportunities, while regulatory scrutiny on data protection and ethics will intensify.”

Klein says examples of where AI integration will drive innovative applications and benefit users include proactive, personalised health management and smart home systems leveraging behavioural patterns.

“As well as productivity tools becoming personal assistants – scheduling meetings, summarising documents and managing emails and seamless real-time language translation for international business or leisure travelling.”

Article originally published on AdNews.


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