AI Inclusion in the Apple 18.0 Updates: A Positive Development

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Of the many announcements made at the 2024 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, few made as big of a splash as the introduction of Apple Intelligence. Critics have asked several questions about the safety and security of this feature, which will be built into several current-gen and next-gen Apple devices, but considering the backlash it’s gotten, one has to wonder how effective its adoption will be.

Yet, artificial intelligence has proven to be a transformative tool for many industries, enabling everything from automation in manufacturing to improved customer service in retail. The introduction of tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, for instance, further expanded the reach of AI to the average consumer. With user-friendly interfaces and capabilities that are useful for everyone regardless of their occupation and background, tools like ChatGPT have opened the door to a new paradigm of artificial intelligence.

Apple’s Apple Intelligence, which will release its Beta in the Fall, is the next step in bringing the power of advanced artificial intelligence tools to the world at large. This technology is designed to draw on users’ personal context to deliver a personalized, streamlined experience. Considering that Apple already leads the pack regarding user-friendly UI/UX, combining this ease of use with the power of artificial intelligence is an exciting prospect for the tech industry and consumers alike.

What are the features of Apple Intelligence?

Apple Intelligence is one of Apple’s most extensive offerings in years, with various features that users can take advantage of for work and play alike. Some of the most exciting ones include:

• Writing: Apple Intelligence will offer users new “Writing Tools” that allow them to write and rewrite written content wherever they write, from Notes to Email, iMessage, and everywhere else you need to find the words — even some third-party apps. These tools also offer enhanced language capabilities that can be used for purposes like summarizing lectures in seconds or giving a short rundown of a group text thread.

• Communication: Users will have their notifications and emails prioritized by Apple Intelligence, allowing them to see the most important messages first. These messages will also be summarized, enabling you to see them at a glance. Record functions in Notes and Phone give users a way to generate summaries instantaneously for note-keeping and future reference.

• Images: Apple Intelligence will enable a variety of features that allow users to generate useful images, such as the Image Playground app to generate images based on a description, concepts, or people from the user’s image library. Similarly, the “Genmoji” feature takes Memojis to the next level, generating detailed emojis from descriptions, while the Image Wand feature can turn a rough sketch into a related image. These are just a few ways Apple is leveraging this powerful technology.

• Siri: As Apple explained during the reveal of Apple Intelligence, the new feature will also “superpower” Siri with “an all-new design, richer language understanding, and the ability to type to Siri whenever it’s convenient,” making “communicating with Siri more natural than ever.” This will enable an incredible level of customization for the user experience on Apple devices.

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Why people should not fear Apple Intelligence

Many people who have expressed concern over the new Apple Intelligence feature do not realize that their devices already use artificial intelligence technology — albeit at a smaller, much more self-contained scale. In its original form, Siri uses AI-based technology like natural language generation and processing and machine learning to function. Predictive text and grammar/spell check are also basic use cases for AI, and other apps like Apple Music use AI-powered algorithms to personalize the user experience, providing personalized recommendations and advertisements.

However, there has been so much more backlash against Apple Intelligence than these extant AI functions because previous uses of artificial intelligence have been quieter. Previously, companies like Apple would emphasize the functionality of innovations rather than the underlying technology. Now that AI is front-and-center in Apple’s latest offerings, the company, as well as its products and software, will receive much more scrutiny, despite its functionality being genuinely useful for many users.

The range of AI-powered features included in Apple Intelligence will allow iPhone and other Apple device users to boost their productivity and make completing everyday tasks significantly easier. According to Apple, Apple Intelligence is “built into your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to help you write, express yourself, and get things done effortlessly,” resulting in a sea of possibilities opened up by artificial intelligence technology.

Making AI Broadly Accessible

Perhaps even more exciting is that Apple Intelligence will make artificial intelligence features accessible, practical, and safe for billions of people worldwide. By building it right into the OS, Apple will drive unprecedented adoption and use of AI in daily life. Users don’t have to download new software or purchase expensive hardware to take advantage of these incredibly advanced AI features; they will already be built into the devices and apps they use daily, from Siri to iMessage, the Notes app, and everything in between.  

The aspect of Apple’s announcement of launching Apple Intelligence that has garnered the most criticism is that Apple will partner with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT seamlessly into functions like Siri and Writing Tools. This allows Siri to tap into ChatGPT for requests or enables users to create and illustrate content from scratch.

Apple Intelligence’s data security features

However, despite concerns regarding its partner’s past data practices, Apple has emphasized its intentions to protect user privacy. The company assures users that they control when ChatGPT is used and are asked before any information is shared. Apple’s privacy-centric approach aims to safeguard user data with on-device processing for core AI functions and its own secure servers for cloud AI. While Apple’s reliance on OpenAI and its technology warrants ongoing scrutiny, Apple’s thoughtful privacy-preserving strategy positions it well to responsibly democratize AI’s benefits.

Ultimately, this underscores the importance of proper, responsible use of artificial intelligence — especially regarding data privacy and security. Many professionals use their personal devices for work today in occupations where users might have access to sensitive data, such as lawyers, accountants, or financial advisors, so limiting the use of Apple Intelligence’s features (if not avoiding them entirely) would be wise. But for the average person, it’s just a matter of limiting the data access given to artificial intelligence.

Apple Intelligence truly is the next step in the artificial intelligence revolution. It democratizes AI’s already powerful capabilities on a massive scale, and its launch later this year will give billions of people access to artificial intelligence tools they have never seen or used before, opening the door to improved efficiency and productivity.

This guest post was authored by Aaron Rafferty

— Aaron Rafferty is the co-founder and CEO of Standard, a technology incubation hub working with stakeholders to create 0 to 1 solutions to key issues in their business. Under this umbrella includes CREHawk, a commercial real estate workflow automation engine, as well as the Tech Buzz, a media company that delivers daily tech and AI news, insights, and deals to an audience of 700,000 investors, founders, and tech enthusiasts.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.