Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t believe that the future of artificial intelligence will infringe on users’ privacy, the way many people believe the technology does now. After promising big investments in machine learning during Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, Cook said that he thinks that AI and user privacy can co-exist (via MacRumors).
Responding to a question about Apple’s virtual assistant Siri on a call to discuss the company’s latest quarterly earnings, Cook said:
In terms of the balance of privacy and AI, this is a long conversation, but at a high level, this is a false tradeoff. People would like you to believe you have to give up privacy to have AI do something for you, but we don’t buy that. It might take more work, it might take more thinking, but I don’t think we should throw our privacy away. It’s sort of like the age old argument between privacy and security. You should have both. You shouldn’t have to make a choice.
In the past rumors have emerged that suggest that the Cupertino company have been entirely dedicated to protecting its customers’ privacy, and this dedication has long held back further development of Siri. Apple has been said to employ “policy czars” to make sure they are not collecting its customers’ personal data, which could otherwise be used to help increase the different ways in which Siri and artificial intelligence in general can be used.
While Cook did not go further in detail as to how Apple plans on providing an effective-yet-safe AI, he did mention earlier in the call that Apple was “investing in the future.” This is why Apple’s R&D investment is increasing, so one can only hope that this is one of the many things Apple is working on.