Apple has joined other tech giants in restricting the use of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot by its employees, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The company is concerned that these tools could leak confidential information or proprietary code to third-party developers.
Generative AI tools are programs that can create content such as text, images, music or code based on user input or data. They use large language models that are trained on massive amounts of data from the internet or other sources. Some examples of generative AI tools are:
- ChatGPT: A chatbot developed by OpenAI that can generate realistic and engaging conversations on various topics.
- GitHub Copilot: A code assistant developed by Microsoft and OpenAI that can suggest and complete code for programmers based on their context and intent.
- Bing Chat: A natural language AI generator built into Microsoft Bing as an AI search chatbot.
Why are Companies Banning Generative AI Tools?
Apple has told its employees not to use generative AI tools over fears that they could expose confidential data or code to third-party developers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report cites anonymous sources who said that Apple is worried that these tools could send user conversations or code snippets back to the developer for training or improvement purposes, without the user's consent or knowledge.
For example, Apple is concerned that GitHub Copilot could intercept secret Apple code and reveal what the company is working on or copy its products. Similarly, Apple is worried that ChatGPT could release sensitive information such as product plans, customer data or trade secrets during a chat session.
Apple is not the only company to take such measures. Samsung, JPMorgan Chase and Verizon have also banned the use of ChatGPT by their employees, while Amazon has reportedly warned its staff about using the AI tool. These companies are also concerned about the security and privacy risks posed by generative AI tools.
Apple Has Already Banned Apps with ChatGPT
In March, I reported that Apple has blocked an update for the BlueMail app that would have brought ChatGPT functionality to the email application. Developed by Blix, BlueMail is an email application that wants to add a ChatGPT integration through an update. This would help users by automating their emails.
However, Apple seems unhappy with the update and is blocking it. It seems the company is taking a stricter stance to chatbot AI technology. According to the report, Apple says that AI content without any filters may be age-inappropriate for younger audiences. It says that Blix must either add content filtering or make the BlueMail app age-restricted to 17 or older.