Tim Cook promises AI breakthroughs in Apple shareholder meeting — as AI ethics report shot down

tim Cook on stage
(Image credit: Apple)

The AI train is going full steam ahead by the looks of things, and there seems to be nothing that can stop its wheels from rolling over concerns from AI detractors and doubters. In Apple’s annual shareholders meeting, not only did Tim Cook talk up the firm's AI research, but shareholders summarily killed off a proposal to investigate AI ethics and write up a report.

While we have some time to wait until Apple shows us what its next big AI product is going to look like, Cook seems excited to share with the world that it’s going to put the concerns of worried shareholders to rest. Unless they were one of those who proposed the ethics report — then they might not be quite as chuffed.

Apple and AI

The first order of business before Tim Cook could talk about Apple’s AI advancements was to decide whether there should be an AI ethics report brought to the table by a group of unionized employees under the name ‘Equity Index Funds.’

Bloomberg reports that the report looked to discover whether AI would “result in biased decisions against employees or violate the privacy of customers,” as well as whether it would affect employees being replaced by automation of processes. Unfortunately, we’ll never know whether Apple’s use of AI is ethical — the shareholders voted it down. Also voted down was a look at “equal employment policies, civil liberties, racial and gender pay gaps, and human rights.”

Big things are coming

Have no fear, however, for Tim Cook had some words to put shareholders' minds at ease around AI. Apple will apparently “break new ground” in AI, going so far as to say that it will “unlock transformative opportunities for our users” and help “make them more productive.” Alas, no news as to what this actually means, but it’s likely about Apple’s push into generative AI

We likely won’t know more about what Apple’s AI push looks like until WWDC, but that’s only a few months away — so we don’t have long to wait. Whether it’s ethical or not is another question. We aren’t allowed to know that.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.