Is Apple Developing Artificial Intelligence?

Updated on

Some commentators believe that Apple is already developing artificial intelligence.

One believer is Jonny Evans of Computerworld, who sets out his case online. According to Evans there is a growing body of evidence which suggests that Cupertino is in fact working on artificial intelligence as part of “the digital transformation of pervasive technology embedded within every interaction and device.”

Apple slowly amassing necessary assets

First of all Evans points out the existence of huge server farms with matching renewable energy farms, as well as an increasingly close relationship with IBM and Watson. Furthermore there is the company’s growing connected health network, and the acquisition of augmented reality firm Metaio this week.

All of these points, as well as the recruitment of robotics expert John Morell from Yale in 2012, would appear to suggest that Apple is interested in developing artificial intelligence.

A quick search of Apple’s job vacancies reveals that there are at least 23 advertised roles which have “Artificial Intelligence” in the job description. Recent reports that Cupertino is working on an intelligent context-based solution known as “Proactive,” which is more powerful than Google Now but offers better privacy protection, is seen as further evidence of the development of artificial intelligence solutions driven by big data.

Apple Car could feature artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence machines rely on big data analysis, speech recognition and deep learning, three factors which also drive developments in robotics. John Morrell is thought to be involved in the development of the Apple Car, and Evans predicts that such a vehicle would feature “spoken word instruction, predictive analytics, automatic accident prevention and car-to-car communication.”
If we accept that the Apple Car will feature in-car intelligence, it is not such a huge leap to imagine that the company would try to apply this expertise to other fields. For Evans, potential applications include “self-healing machines, robotics and artificial intelligence, augmented services and automation.” It could be argued that the technology industry has been on this trajectory for decades.
It would appear that Apple has slowly amassed the tools it needs in order to achieve rapid progress in the field of artificial intelligence. Of course the level of necessary investment is huge, but for a company such as Apple money is hardly an issue. We could soon see cloud-based artificial intelligence at work across Apple’s product range.

Artificial intelligence troubling for some

Not everyone is convinced by the benefits of smart than human artificial intelligence. “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
As with many other technological advances throughout history, there is a worry that artificial intelligence will cause many people to lose their jobs due to automation. Apple is aware of these issues, and Apple board member Andrea Jung recently spoke out on the dangers of another wave of automation, which she fears could impact employment figures and worsen wealth inequality even further.

The ethical issues that arise due to the development of artificial intelligence are sure to become a major concern worldwide in the coming decades. Harnessing the potential of technology for the benefit of humans without negatively impacting our way of life has been a constant concern throughout history.

The advent of artificial intelligence which is smarter than the humans that created it is the stuff of science fiction, but we appear to be moving closer to the day that such a scenario becomes reality.

Leave a Comment