Watch the viral AI clip Jon Stewart says Apple wouldn't let him air — "These are fundamentally labor-replacing tools"

Jon Stewart on AI
(Image credit: The Daily Show)

Jon Stewart’s relationship with Apple has been called into question since the cancellation of The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV Plus, yet a recent episode of The Daily Show suggests the company’s alleged meddling runs deeper than we’d first been led to believe. 

In a recent segment of Jon Stewart’s late-night political talk show, The Daily Show, he spoke with Lina Khan, the chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission. As well as lampooning Apple for stopping  Khan from appearing on Stewart’s podcast, he criticized Apple for not letting him talk about artificial intelligence. Earlier in the show, he did a segment on AI and then told Lina Khan “They wouldn’t let us do even that dumb thing we just did in that first act on AI.” 

The AI takedown

Racking up one million views in less than half a day. Stewart’s AI clip, entitled “The False Promises of AI”,  is loaded with the kind of humor you would expect from the tenured host. It talks about a doctored image of President Biden, tied up in the back of a pickup truck, that was shared by former President Trump. It then goes on to mention how generative AI could make political disinformation much worse in the future. These include real examples of deep fake phone calls from President Biden encouraging Democrats not to vote, or of candidates saying controversial things to sway potential voters. 

Despite many real cases of AI use, the clip in question is mostly focused on the many ways potential creators and sellers talk about AI, rather than what it is actually doing. Stewart blasts the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, for claiming AI can be used to "help scientists cure, prevent, and manage all diseases this century” whilst only showing off a smart toaster. Stewart is also fiercely critical of the way AI creators talk about what will be done with workers who might be replaced by it. Stewart says “So AI can cure diseases and solve climate change but that’s not exactly what companies will be using it for, are they?”

Stewart shows a clip of Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Microsoft AI, who said “These are fundamentally labor-replacing tools.” Just this January, Apple shuttered a 121-person AI team in San Diego, forcing workers to move to Austin or risk redundancy. 

Apple AI, due to be unveiled in some form at WWDC2024, may not be the form of AI mentioned in this video. From what we know so far, Apple seems set to make many of its apps more efficient and seems ready to update Siri with the ability to more accurately understand and translate requests. However, given Apple has not yet announced its full AI plans,  the company’s hesitance to air this clip could be indicative of an approach to investing further into artificial Intelligence, and its desire not to shed a bad light on the tech. We should know much more about Apple’s AI plans in the coming months. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.