The AI gold rush is showing no signs of slowing down. As ChatGPT continues to enamour the world with its strings of relatively coherent text, Apple is looking for its piece of the pie by developing its own artificial intelligence engine.
Bloomberg’s ever-reliable Mark Gurman reported today that Apple has constructed its own internal infrastructure upon which it will build large language models to compete against the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Meta’s Llama. Sources told the outlet that the framework is codenamed “Ajax” (perhaps a reference to Apple Jacks), while an internal chatbot has the name “Apple GPT.” While Apple—the company that popularized AI smartphone assistants via Siri—has buried the lede when it comes to big tech dipping its toes into AI, the project has reportedly seen a huge push internally, with several teams working on the artificial intelligence.
Apple did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment on the project or any anticipated announcements or release dates.
Earlier this year, Apple barred employees from using ChatGPT internally while also prohibiting them from using the Microsoft-owned GitHub Copilot, an AI code-writing assistant, according to internal documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal. Sources told the Journal that Apple was interested in building generative AI, which is likely Ajax. As Insider noted, Apple purchased two AI startups in 2020 for $US200 million and $US50 million, respectively.
While Apple is finally getting on the horse, it may be too little too late to disrupt the bustling AI industry the way the company disrupted the cell phone industry with the iPhone. Obviously, OpenAI has taken the world by storm—for better or for worse—with its ChatGPT chatbot, and one of Apple’s main competitors, Microsoft, poured billions into a deal with the AI juggernaut. At the same time, Meta has unveiled its Large Language Model Meta AI, more commonly known as Llama, and has announced that the second generation of the tech will be open source. Google also released a ChatGPT rival this past March.
Apple has spent years touting various machine learning capabilities in its iPhones but the lackluster performance of Siri has left many observers wondering if the company has fallen behind in the AI race. We could find out soon.
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