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Tim Cook spills the beans on Apple Intelligence’s use of OpenAI, and AI hallucinations

Tim Cook on Apple’s roof

In the wake of the Apple Intelligence reveal at WWDC, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an interview talking about the advancement, admitting that it’s not perfect and delving into why Open AI was selected as a launch partner.

The Washington Post was granted an interview with Tim Cook. As expected, the main topic of discussion was about Apple Intelligence, and Cook’s stance on adoption.

Cook is positive on the technology, as you think he would be. He expects the additions will save time, and make users more efficient.

Specifically, in the interview published on Tuesday, he cites the natural language improvements to Siri, and the improved writing tools that the additions allow are the best aspects of the technology with the most immediate impact for users.

“If you think about Siri as an example, you can now have a conversation with Siri. It can perform essentially multiple steps with one request, where today it takes multiple requests for that to occur. Writing tools: I get so many emails, and I realize everybody’s not on email, but everybody writes. And to have an assistant proofread to make things more professional or more entertaining, or whatever you want to do, is a big thing. The idea that it’s private, I think, is a very big idea in today’s world. People want to know in some kind of way that [AI] is personal to them, but also private. And these two things generally haven’t gone together very well. We found a way to thread the needle.”

Interviewer Josh Tyrangiel also questioned Cook if the adoption of artificial intelligence in Apple hardware somehow compromised Apple values. Cook didn’t really entertain the core of the question, saying that Apple’s stances on privacy and how customer data is handled are inviolable, regardless of what product.

He did say that Apple knew that some queries were going to have to be parsed off-device from the beginning. And, he had something to say about hallucinations by artificial intelligence.

“But I think we have done everything that we know to do, including thinking very deeply about the readiness of the technology in the areas that we’re using it in. So I am confident it will be very high quality. But I’d say in all honesty that’s short of 100 percent. I would never claim that it’s 100 percent.”

Tim Cook on Sam Altman, OpenAI, and ChatGPT

Overall, though, as you’d expect from the CEO of a company that is rolling out massive enhancements to a product line that will more or less require most of its audience to buy a new phone to use, Cook is bullish about the announcements. And, he’s happy about his partnership to launch it all.

Cook also said in the interview that OpenAI’s stance on not tracking user IP addresses and similar measures are what attracted Apple to ChatGPT. He said that they considered “everything and everyone” — and added that they aren’t bound to one provider, forever.

He mostly demurred on personal questions about Altman. All he said is that Apple concluded it was in the best interest of users to use OpenAI.

And, he’s happy about what the tech can do for users.

“I get excited about helping people do things faster, better, higher quality. Anything that improves human existence, ” Cook concluded. “And I think AI can do that, again, subject to keeping the rails on it appropriately. So I’m a fan. I don’t have my head stuck in the sand. I know that there’s also a parade of horribles that can occur, which is why we’re committed to being thoughtful in the space.”

Apple Intelligence feature roll-outs start in the Fall of 2024, with some aspects arriving in 2025. User beta testing has not yet started, and won’t until July.