Privacy Concerns Rise as Musk Opposes Apple’s ChatGPT Move


Apple has released its new major mobile operating system recently. The new iOS 18 is clearly one of Apple’s well-packed OS updates. It features a lot of new features, system enhancements and of course, improvements over the previous OS. The newly packed iOS 18 has generated a lot of exciting conversations across social medial platforms, blogs and podcasts. However, this may not be all-rosy for Apple due to the integration of ChatGPT in the latest update. Even though many iOS users seem to be excited about this new integration, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk isn’t definitely one of them.

Musk vs. Apple: The Battle Over ChatGPT Integration Unveiled
Elon Musk Apple

Elon Musk has said he might ban iPhones from all his companies. This is because Apple announced new OpenAI features at WWDC 2024 on Monday. On X, Musk, who runs Tesla, SpaceX, and xAI, wrote that if Apple adds OpenAI to their operating system, Apple devices would be banned from his businesses. Visitors would have to leave their Apple devices at the door, where they would be kept in a Faraday cage.

Musk’s posts appear to misunderstand Apple’s relationship with OpenAI or try to create doubt about user privacy. Apple and OpenAI said that users must give permission before any questions, documents, or photos are sent to ChatGPT. However, Musk seems to believe that OpenAI is built into Apple’s operating system and can access all personal and private data.

In iOS 18, Apple said people can ask Siri questions. If Siri thinks ChatGPT can help, it will ask for permission to share the question and show the answer directly. This way, users get an answer from ChatGPT without opening the ChatGPT app. The same process applies to photos, PDFs, or other documents you want to send to ChatGPT.

ChatGPT Better Stays as a Standalone App on iOS Devices, Elon Musk to Apple

Elon Musk Apple

Musk, however, prefers that OpenAI’s capabilities stay within a dedicated app and not be integrated with Siri.

Responding to Sam Pullara, the CTO at Sutter Hill Ventures, who said that users approve each request individually and that OpenAI doesn’t have access to the device, Musk wrote, “Then leave it as an app. This is bullshit.”

Pullara mentioned that the integration of ChatGPT is essentially like how the ChatGPT app currently operates. The AI models are on-device, either Apple’s own or using Apple’s Private Cloud.

In response to a post on X by YouTuber Marques Brownlee explaining Apple Intelligence, Musk replied, “Apple claiming to ‘protect your privacy’ while giving your data to a third-party AI they don’t understand and can’t create themselves is not protecting privacy at all!”

He even went further responded to a post by Apple CEO Tim Cook, threatening to ban Apple devices from his company premises if Cook didn’t “stop this creepy spyware.”

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Musk exclaimed in one of his posts about the new integrations, “It’s absurd that Apple can’t create their own AI but claims OpenAI will protect your security and privacy! Apple has no idea what happens once they give your data to OpenAI. They’re selling you out.” While Apple may not understand how OpenAI works internally, technically, it’s the user making the choice to share their data, not Apple handing it over directly.

ChatGPT in iOS Goes Beyond Siri

Elon Musk Apple
Apple also announced another integration that would let users access the ChatGPT system across Writing Tools through a “compose” feature. For example, you could ask ChatGPT to write a bedtime story for your child directly in a document, Apple said. You could also request ChatGPT to generate images in various styles to go along with your writing. With these features, users will essentially be using ChatGPT for free without needing to create an account. This is good news for OpenAI, as it will soon receive a lot more requests from Apple users.

Apple users may not fully grasp the privacy concerns involved, which Musk is capitalizing on with his complaints. If users could choose their preferred AI bot for Siri requests or writing assistance, such as Anthropic’s Claude or xAI’s Grok, Musk might not be as vocal about the risks of this integration. Interestingly, Apple recently hinted that Google Gemini could potentially be integrated in the future, as mentioned in a post-keynote session.

Apple’s Explanation

In its announcement, Apple states that the integration will not log users’ requests and information. However, ChatGPT subscribers can link their accounts to access paid features directly within Apple’s AI experiences.

“Of course, you’re in control of when ChatGPT is used, and you’ll be asked before sharing any of your information,” said Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi. The ChatGPT integration will be available in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia later this year. These features will be exclusive to iPhone Pro 15 models and devices using M1 or newer chips.

OpenAI also emphasized a similar point in its blog post, stating that “requests are not stored by OpenAI, and users’ IP addresses are obscured.” Additionally, users can choose to connect their ChatGPT account, which means their data preferences will be governed by ChatGPT’s policies. This option refers to the voluntary ability to link the feature with their paid subscription.

Conclusion

Apple’s new iOS 18 integrates ChatGPT, causing controversy. While users enjoy its benefits, Elon Musk worries about privacy risks and potential data sharing. Apple assures users control data sharing and doesn’t access information. OpenAI echoes this, but a paid subscription option adds complexity. The debate highlights user privacy concerns in AI integration, with Musk advocating for user choice and control over AI assistants.

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