Apple is using an internal chatbot to help its employees “prototype future features, summarize text and answer questions based on data it has been trained with,” says Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in Power On today.
Apple hasn’t been sure what it wants to do with its Apple GPT chatbot project on the customer-facing side yet, but Gurman’s report shed some light on at least its internal chatbot uses. According to the newsletter, Apple is looking at ways to expand the use of generative AI within its organization, with one possibility being giving the tool to its AppleCare support staff to better help customers dealing with issues.
That won’t necessarily happen soon, as the chatbot tendency to get things wrong is well-known to Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, who noted in a May earnings call that there are “a number of issues that need to be sorted” when it comes to AI. As Gurman notes, Apple will probably move ahead with its AI plans much more deliberately than what we’ve seen with Google, Microsoft, or many others that can’t seem to get generative AI into their products fast enough. Still, Apple sources reportedly told Bloomberg last week that the company will have a “significant AI-related announcement” next year.
The caution is reasonable. Companies like Apple and Samsung have reportedly instructed their employees not to use chatbots because of the potential for leaked information, and their “hallucinations” that produce false information can be devastating like it was for a lawyer who used ChatGPT to create a brief that was full of totally fabricated cases.
But Apple still needs to respond to moves in the AI space from other companies. Meta recently announced that Microsoft’s Azure platform will adopt Meta’s sort-of-open-source LLM LLaMA 2, while Samsung continues to find ways to incorporate AI into its own devices. Apple has avoided the hype train so far, even as it adds more machine learning features to its devices all the time, but its 2018 hiring of former Google AI head John Giannandrea to head up the company’s machine learning efforts indicates it’s serious about wading into the uncertain waters of generative AI, even if it’s been mostly quiet about it.