Elon Musk Warns Against Apple’s ChatGPT Integration, Threatens Ban on iPhones at His Companies

Ban on iPhones

Ban on iPhones

Elon Musk is considering banning iPhones across all his companies following Apple’s announcement of new OpenAI integrations at WWDC 2024. In a series of posts on X, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and xAI expressed concerns, stating that if Apple integrates OpenAI at the operating system level, Apple devices would be prohibited from his businesses. Visitors would have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they would be stored in a Faraday cage.

OpenAI

Musk’s posts seem to misinterpret the partnership announced by Apple and OpenAI, or at the very least, he casts doubt on user privacy. While Apple and OpenAI emphasized that users must give consent before any questions, documents, or photos are sent to ChatGPT, Musk argues that OpenAI’s integration into Apple’s OS could potentially access private data.

In iOS 18, Apple revealed that users could ask Siri questions, and if ChatGPT could provide a better answer, Siri would request permission to share the question and present the answer directly. This feature allows users to get responses from ChatGPT without opening the ChatGPT app. The same process applies to sharing photos, PDFs, or other documents with ChatGPT.

However, Musk prefers that OpenAI’s functionalities remain confined to a dedicated app rather than integrated with Siri.

Responding to Sam Pullara, VC and CTO at Sutter Hill Ventures, who noted that user approval is required for each request and OpenAI does not have device access, Musk replied, “Then leave it as an app. This is bullshit.”

Pullara explained that the ChatGPT integration is similar to how the current ChatGPT app operates. The on-device AI models are either developed by Apple or utilize Apple’s Private Cloud.

In response to a post by YouTuber Marques Brownlee, which provided further clarification on Apple Intelligence, Musk stated, “Apple using the words ‘protect your privacy’ while handing your data over to a third-party AI that they don’t understand and can’t themselves create is not protecting privacy at all!”

Musk also responded to a post by Apple CEO Tim Cook, threatening to ban Apple devices from his companies’ premises if Cook didn’t “stop this creepy spyware.”

“It’s absurd that Apple isn’t capable of creating their own AI yet claims to ensure OpenAI will protect your security & privacy,” Musk exclaimed. “Apple has no clue what’s happening once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river,” he added. Although Apple may not fully understand OpenAI’s inner workings, it’s technically the user’s choice to share data, not Apple’s.

Apple also announced an integration allowing users to access ChatGPT system-wide within Writing Tools via a “compose” feature. This feature lets users ask ChatGPT to write a bedtime story for a child or generate images to complement their writing. Users will be able to access ChatGPT for free without needing to create an account, which is excellent news for OpenAI as it anticipates a significant increase in requests from Apple users.

Musk appears to leverage user privacy concerns to gain attention. If users could choose their preferred AI bot for Siri or writing help, such as Anthropic’s Claude or xAI’s Grok, Musk might not voice such strong objections. (Apple hinted at the potential integration of Google Gemini in a post-keynote session.)

Apple reassured users that their requests and information are not logged, but ChatGPT subscribers can connect their accounts to access paid features within Apple’s AI experiences.

READ ALSO: Apple Messages Finally Embraces RCS and Text Scheduling in iOS 18

“Users control when ChatGPT is used and will be asked before any information is shared. ChatGPT integration will come to iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia later this year,” said Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. These features will be available only on iPhone Pro 15 models and devices with M1 or newer chips.

OpenAI echoed this sentiment in its blog post, noting that “requests are not stored by OpenAI, and users’ IP addresses are obscured. Users can also connect their ChatGPT account, meaning their data preferences will apply under ChatGPT’s policies.” This refers to the optional ability to connect the feature with a paid subscription.

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