Tim Cook faces a difficult decision about AI

  • Tim Cook is preparing to announce Apple's AI plans at WWDC next month.

  • Reports suggest he's planning to announce a partnership with OpenAI or Google.

  • Recent developments highlight how they offer no easy choice.

When Tim Cook takes the stage in Cupertino for Apple's big summer convention next month, there are high expectations that he will spotlight another company: OpenAI or Google.

Ahead of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, there have been strong suggestions that the company plans to partner with one of the two competitors to bring cutting-edge AI to iPhones.

The latest indications suggest it will be OpenAI.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Apple had "closed in on an agreement" with ChatGPT maker OpenAI, with the two businesses "finalizing terms for a pact to use ChatGPT features in Apple's iOS 18."

But talks with Google seem to be rumbling away, too. Apple was reportedly in talks with Google in March over an arrangement for the search giant's Gemini AI built into iPhones. Gurman's report this month said Google talks are ongoing.

Cook seems to have options, then.

As an excited ChatGPT user, he is clearly interested in what OpenAI offers. Apple's lucrative deal with Google to bring its search product to iPhones — a deal that net Apple $20 billion in 2022 — gives it reason to keep going with them.

But recent developments show Cook doesn't have a clear-cut choice: both OpenAI and Google have problems with AI that could cause him headaches down the road.

A difficult decision

Scarlett Johansson in a tan suit
Scarlett Johansson was not pleased by OpenAI's voice chat.NBC

Take the ChatGPT maker. This week, it was dragged into controversy after Scarlett Johansson published a statement accusing it of using a voice "eerily similar" to hers for a new voice feature equipped with its latest AI model, GPT-4o.

OpenAI boss Sam Altman — who had tweeted a reference to the movie in which she voiced an AI assistant — denied using a similar voice without her permission.

Despite this, the affair has revealed a deeper issue with OpenAI that gives reason to cause Apple concern. Several artists, publishers, and more are worried that ChatGPT's success has been built off the use of others' work without their consent.

OpenAI is already facing difficult legal battles over this, with the Authors Guild suing the company over concerns that writers' work is being used in models to generate profit.

Google offers no easy alternative either.

Over the past week, a new feature called "AI Overviews," introduced at the Google I/O conference earlier this month, has been disastrously rolled out in the US.

Countless users have taken to social media to share outrageous examples of Google's failed attempt to use AI to generate context-led summaries in response to search queries. In one instance, it told a user to put "non-toxic glue" on pizza to fix the issue of cheese not sticking to it.

In another instance, Google's AI Overview said the US has had one Muslim president — "Barack Hussein Obama" — in response to the question, "How many Muslim presidents has the US had?"

This puts Apple in a tough spot. Apple desperately needs an AI strategy to give its iPhones a fresh revamp at a time when sales are declining in key markets like China.

But few hints of its own work on large language models AI seem to have put it in a position where it is being pushed to weigh up a strategic partnership with one of two companies who have their own problems with AI.

There are no easy choices for Cook.

Read the original article on Business Insider