Apple Chatbot ‘Ajax’ Could Be Next Major Player in AI Space

Apple is reportedly developing tools it could use to enter the artificial intelligence space, joining rivals such as Microsoft and Google, which have already released popular products. In Cupertino, the company is said to have built a framework for large language models, which power AI-based chatbot offerings similar to Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Called Ajax, the platform is the basis for what is referred to inside the company as Apple GPT. Though Apple has built automation into its products for some time, it could now be preparing to make a direct play for the generative AI market.

“The company was caught flat-footed in the past year,” writes Bloomberg, adding that “it’s now playing catch-up in the buzzy market for generative tools, which can create essays, images and even video based on text prompts.”

Copilot-style AI for productivity as well as chatbots for casual use have captivated the public since early this year, paving the way for a host of new products and lots of sizzling startups, with Apple “conspicuously absent from the frenzy,” notes Bloomberg.

While Apple’s Siri AI hasn’t evolved much in recent years, the company has made gains in photographic machine learning and search. The company also has an improved version of auto-correct coming later this year for its mobile devices, Bloomberg says, pointing out that Apple devices, “which produced revenue of nearly $320 billion in the last fiscal year, could suffer if the company doesn’t keep up with AI advances.”

The company is reportedly focused on building in strict security protocols. Privacy concerns led to the company banning internal use of ChatGPT, Digital Trends reports, quoting Apple CEO Tim Cook saying the company plans to be “very deliberate and very thoughtful in the development and the deployment.” That has led to speculation Apple won’t have an AI announcement until 2024.

Internally, Apple employees have gradually been gaining access to Apple GPT and Ajax. Digital Trends explains Ajax “runs on Google Cloud using Google’s JAX machine learning framework,” noting that “Apple uses Google Cloud for iCloud services” and is comfortable that the data is encrypted and secure.

Fortune writes that “Apple added $71 billion to its market value after news that it’s been secretly building an Apple GPT to rival OpenAI,” while 9to5Mac tempered expectations, writing that “Apple GPT won’t be a customer feature anytime soon.”

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