Apple’s multimillion-dollar secret: Reinventing Siri and AppleCare with a ChatGPT rival

Priya Walia

Apple Event November 10

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According to a fresh report from The Information, Apple is making a heavy investment in AI, spending millions every single day. The investment is being dispersed across multiple AI models and distributed among several teams.

One unit working intensively on AI, known as Foundational Models, reportedly comprises around 16 members. Notably, this unit includes several former Google engineers and is led by John Giannandrea, Apple’s head of AI. Giannandrea, who joined Apple in 2018, has been instrumental in improving the AI capabilities of Siri.

However, his opinions about chatbots powered by AI language models seem to veer towards a healthy skepticism, as revealed by The Information. Apple does not limit its AI efforts to one unit exclusively; it arguably runs on a two-pronged approach.

Another internal division, the Visual Intelligence unit, is reportedly working on an image generation model, and a separate team is diving deep into research on multimodal AI, which aims to recognize and generate images or videos in addition to text.

The implications of these AI models could be quite far-reaching. For instance, one discussed application is a chatbot designed to interact with customers who use AppleCare. Plus, an advanced AI system that can simplify the process of automating multistep tasks with Siri is also on the drawing table.

Finally, The Information shared some intriguing information about an advanced language learning model (LLM), internally known as Ajax GPT. The model, as per those involved, has been trained on more than 200 billion parameters. That makes it more powerful than OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, which was the cornerstone of ChatGPT, launched last year.

In essence, the company’s intense investment in AI research underscores how it views the transformative role of AI in its developmental roadmap.

The developments to watch here include Siri’s ongoing enhancements, the Visual Intelligence unit’s image generation model, the cutting-edge multimodal AI from Apple’s separate research team, and the sophisticated LLM, with its potential to transcend OpenAI’s GPT-3.5.

While the exact application of these AI models remains to be seen, it is evident that Apple is committed to staking out its territory in this burgeoning field.