Apple Wants to License News Content for AI Training, Says Report

Apple has recently initiated negotiations with leading news and publishing organizations, aiming to use their content for developing generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

This move, as reported by four people familiar with the discussions according to the New York Times, represents Apple’s efforts to catch up in the generative AI race.

The tech giant has proposed multiyear deals, potentially worth over $50 million USD, to license archives of news articles. The discussions involve prominent publishers like Condé Nast, NBC News, and IAC, which owns several well-known publications. These negotiations are among Apple’s first steps to develop generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT for example.

Generative AI, often built on neural networks, requires large datasets to recognize patterns. For example, by analyzing numerous cat photos, a computer can learn to identify a cat. Competitors like Microsoft, OpenAI, Google, and Meta have already released products using this technology, which could revolutionize work and generate significant revenue.

Apple, however, has been notably absent from the AI forefront, with its virtual assistant Siri showing little advancement since its launch a decade ago, sadly.

The response from publishers to Apple’s approach has been mixed. Some executives expressed concerns over the broad licensing terms and potential legal liabilities. Additionally, Apple’s vague plans for applying generative AI in the news industry raised competitive risks, considering Apple’s extensive news audience on its devices.

Apple has hesitated to gather internet data claiming it might violate its privacy conduct. Following its 2013 acquisition of Topsy, a social analytics firm, Cupertino directed the latter to cease collecting Twitter data, citing concerns over violating its policy against gathering data from Apple customers, who may use the platform.

With most legacy media seeing a decline in advertising revenues, it will be interesting to see how many will take money from Apple to use news for AI training.

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