Tim Cook’s cautious approach could mean Apple misses out on AI rat-race, but that’s not a bad thing

Tim Cook is taking a cautiously optimistic approach towards using AI across the company's products and services. Here's what that means for Apple.


  • Tim Cook says is saying that Apple is 'thoughtful' in its approach to AI.
  • Microsoft has started using OpenAI's technology across its products and services.
  • Google has also started using Bard across its products and services.
tim cook

Artificial Intelligence, more specifically, generative AI, is the talk of time. Bolstered by the likes of ChatGPT and Bard, big tech companies such as Google and Microsoft have started a race to implement and incorporate this technology is as many products and services as possible. All of these developments have spurred an era wherein a lot of big and small companies and even governments have started developing their own generative AI models. Despite the interest, Apple remains unaffected by the sudden frenzy around the use of generative AI technology. Instead of taking an ‘All in’ approach, the company is taking a cautiously optimistic approach towards the use of generative AI and artificial intelligence at large. Also Read - WWDC 2023: Apple is all about safety, support and a community of like-minded people, says Indian developer duo

Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently questioned about the company’s plans of using the generative AI technology in the company’s products and services, to which he responded that the company remained ‘deliberate and thoughtful’ in its approach to these technologies. He also said that while Apple doesn’t comment on future roadmap of its products and services, there are a lot of issues that ‘need to be sorted’ before the company starts using generative AI in its products and services. Also Read - Apple's big WWDC 2023 launch may include MR headset, new MacBook Air

“As you know, we don’t comment on product roadmaps. I do think it’s very important to be deliberate and thoughtful in how you approach these things. And there’s a number of issues that need to be sorted, as is being talked about in a number of different places,” Cook said while answering a question during Apple’s recent earnings call, adding, “But the potential is certainly very interesting.” Also Read - Amazon announces Blockbuster Value Days sale: Check top deals on smartwatches, headphones, laptops

While answering the question on the use of generative AI, the Apple executive also stressed on the fact that Apple was already using artificial intelligence and machine learning models in its products such as Apple watch and that the company would continue using AI and associated technologies in its products “on a very thoughtful basis.”

“And we’ve obviously made enormous progress integrating AI and machine learning throughout our ecosystem and we weaved it into products and features for many years as you probably know. You can see that in things like fall detection and crash detection and ECG, these things are not only great features, they’re saving people’s lives out there,” Cook said.

“And so we are, we view AI as huge and we’ll continue weaving it in our products on a very thoughtful basis,” he added.

What does this means for Apple and why isn’t it a bad thing?

Apple’s cautiously approach means that the company will not be rushing to release its Large Language Models (LLMs) and deploy a ChatGPT or Google Bard competitor anytime soon, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While these tools are simplifying the usage of various tools that we use in our day-to-day lives on one hand, they are also making them increasing complex and vulnerable to hacks, bugs and leaks. At the same time, they are creating a world that increasingly depending on technology for smallest of things.

Many technocrats and scientists have warned about the use of AI.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has cautioned that AI could possibly attack humans one day. “Could a machine decide that humans are a threat, conclude that its interests are different from ours, or simply stop caring about us? Possibly, but this problem is no more urgent today than it was before the AI developments of the past few months,” he recently wrote in a post on Gates Notes.

Similarly, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has cautioned that AI could cause ‘civilisation destruction’.

More recently, Godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton, quit Google to warn the world about the dangers of AI. “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” he said in an interview with New York Times.

At a time like this, Apple’s cautious approach means that that it remains cognizant of the impact that this technology could have on the mankind and that it aims to use to enrich and improve its products and services rather than offering this technology as a product.

  • Published Date: May 5, 2023 4:21 PM IST
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