Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Apple solves privacy and security concerns around AI?

Apple Intelligence launched a set of AI features that had OpenAI’s GPT4 at the heart. It was a typical Apple move – focus on personalisation, integration and user performance.

The one thing that stood out for me was the announcement on privacy and ‘Edge’ computing. Their solution is clever and may give them real advantages in the real market. AI smartphones will be huge. Google led the way with the Pixel – I have one – it is excellent and cheap. But the real battle is between Apple and Samsung. The Galaxy is packed with AI features, as is the iPhone, but he who wins the AI device battle (currently 170 million units in 2024 and about to soar), will inherit users and revenue.

Privacy and security are now a big deal in AI. Whenever you shoot off to use a cloud service there is always the possibility of cybersecurity risks, losing data, even having your personal data looted.

Apple sell devices, so their device solution makes sense. It gives them ‘edge’ through ‘Edge Computing’.  A massive investment in their M3 chip and other hardware may give them further edge in the market.

In order to deliver real value to users the device needs to know what software and services you use across your devices, your emails, texts, messages, documents, emails, photos, audio files, videos, images, contacts, calendars, search history and AI chatbot use. Context really matters as if you are my ‘persona;’ assistant you need to know who I am, your friends and family, what I am doing and my present needs.

So what is Apple’s solution? They want to keep privacy on both device and when the cloud is accessed. Let’s be clear, Google, Microsoft, Meta, OpenAI and others will also solve this problem but it is apple who have been first above the parapet. This is because , unlike some of the others, they don’t sell ads and don’t sell your data. It pitches Apple against Microsoft but they are in different markets - one consumer, the other corporate.

‘Private Cloud Compute’ promises to use your data but not store and allow anyone access to your data, even Apple itself. Apple have promised to be transparent and have invited cybersecurity experts to scrutinise their solution. Note that they are not launching Apple Intelligence until the fall and even then only in the US. This makes sense, as this needs some serious scrutiny and testing.

Devices matter. Edge compute matters. As the new currency of ‘trust’ becomes a factor in sales, privacy and security matter. As always, technology finds a way to solve these problems, which is why I generally ignore superficial talk about ethics in AI, especially the doomsters. At almost every conference I attend I head misconceptions around data and privacy. Hope this small note helps.

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