Tim Cook assures breakthrough in Generative AI; shareholders reject call for transparency in AI use

Apple shareholders have declined a labor-backed proposal calling for transparency regarding the company’s use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The proposal aimed to delve into whether Apple employs AI technology ethically. During Apple’s annual meeting, the proposal submitted by AFL-CIO Equity Index Funds was voted down.

Additionally, shareholders rejected measures concerning equal employment policies, civil liberties, pay gaps, and human rights. However, they approved the board slate and the company’s executive compensation plan.

Concerns Raised by the AI Proposal

Apple’s decision coincides with its cancellation of an ambitious electric car project and a shift in focus towards artificial intelligence. The AI proposal urged Apple to disclose its ethical guidelines in adopting AI technology.

It highlighted “social policy issues” such as potential bias against employees, customer privacy violations, and the threat of layoffs due to automation.

The proposal was presented by Apple retail store employee Michael Forsythe, reflecting concerns among staff about the company’s expansion into AI. Despite the defeat, Apple has pledged to discuss its plans for generative AI later this year, potentially during its annual developers conference in June.

Apple’s Commitment to AI Development

CEO Tim Cook assured shareholders of Apple’s commitment to “break new ground” in AI this year, emphasizing its potential to enhance user productivity. He also highlighted machine-learning features in the new Vision Pro headset, underscoring the company’s commitment to innovation.

Behind the scenes, Apple has been integrating generative AI into its software, with plans to introduce new AI features in upcoming operating system update iOS 18.

This development aligns with Apple’s pursuit of innovation in AI, positioning itself competitively alongside industry players like OpenAI and Google. With its system-level access and tailored silicon, Apple aims to enhance the ecosystem experience for its users through AI advancements.