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Apple is introducing a kinder, gentler AI. Just don’t call it artificial intelligence.

Tim Cook flashing peace signApple’s Tim Cook comes in peace. And he wants to sell you a kindler, gentler AI — except don’t call it that. It’s Apple Intelligence.

Carlos Barria/Reuters

  • At WWDC, Apple unveiled “Apple Intelligence.”
  • It will power useful and friendly features like being able to prioritize notifications. 
  • This is a gentler, less scary version of AI. It’s for regular people. 

Does AI freak you out? If it doesn’t, does a little part of you wonder … shouldn’t it? Is AI going to replace you at your job? Will it enable state-run misinformation campaigns? Will artificial general intelligence instigate some World War III scenario that leads to the destruction of the human race, like some AI doomers think? Will it tell you to eat glue?

Don’t worry — Apple is here to smooth over your fears about big bad AI, give you a cup of warm milk, tuck you into your cozy bed, and stroke your hair until you fall asleep. At the keynote presentation for its yearly developer conference on Monday, Apple finally unveiled its AI intentions.

Unlike Google’s recent event that showed off futurist things like AI search results (which ended up an embarrassment) or OpenAI’s keynote in May — which caused a scandal over the similarity of the company’s voice assistant to Scarlett Johansson’s voice, and where the abilities of its technology seemed uncanny and freaky — Apple’s demonstration was familiar and seemed practical, like something you could actually use.

(One couldn’t help notice Apple actually had the real Scarlett Johansson in its keynote — in clips for “Fly Me to the Moon,” her upcoming Apple TV+ movie.)

It’s not ‘artificial intelligence,’ it’s ‘Apple Intelligence’

And in Apple’s new AI world, we start with one rule: Don’t call it “artificial intelligence.” It’s “Apple Intelligence.”

What’s the difference, you ask? Haha! Don’t worry about the details or Apple’s deal with OpenAI! Just focus on the nice, pleasing things it can do.

Apple Intelligence can perform simple and useful functions. One demo involved someone needing to pick up her mom from the airport. Siri can pull up flight details from an email, pull up tracking, and find lunch reservation details that were messaged in a text. Helpful! Not intimidating!

Another feature is in the Mail app. Apple isn’t suggesting that it can write an email for you; rather, it can help you lightly revise an email to be in a different tone. (Options include “professional,” “concise,” or “friendly.”)

Apple is giving you the baby steps of generative AI here — not trying to suggest it can do the work of humans, just brush it up a little.

It will also be able to sort your emails into categories: primary, transactions, updates, or promotions, which is great (but also … Gmail has been doing this for a decade). Additionally, it will use AI to prioritize your notifications and allow you to enable a “reduce notifications” mode (ahhhh, yes!).

Apple Intelligence wasn’t mindblowing

Still, some of the other generative things were purely goofy/cutesy, like the AI version of Memoji. With this tool, you can create a cartoon image of your friend to wish them a happy birthday. It’s truly stupid. Please know that if you send me a generative Memoji of myself, we are now enemies.

These are small enhancements, and a lot of them already could exist in other ways, like recording and transcribing phone calls or photo-editing tools to remove an object from the background of a picture. (Android users are probably laughing right now.)

Nothing was mindblowing or a totally radical new way of using artificial Apple Intelligence. There was no “wow” feature or jaw-dropping moment. It was just a bunch of small, helpful things that will make iPhones and computers a little more convenient to do things they’re already doing.

AI for normies

And that’s probably a good way of introducing AI to the iPhone-owning normies of the world. People are — rightfully — a little skeptical of AI and worried about extreme advancements that could harm humanity. And with this, Apple gets no embarrassing bad results from AI-generated answers!

Apple was, of course, very proud to thump its privacy bonafides over its competitors — explicitly suggesting that you can’t trust other companies. (Well, they might have a point there.)

And all of these new AI features will require an iPhone 15 or the upcoming 16 when it launches later this year. Which, of course, leads to the question: Will any of these new AI features make you want to actually upgrade your phone?

Read the original article on Business Insider

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