Apple’s Ajax: Large Language Model and GPT Developments

July 21, 2023

This News Covers

Apple is developing its own version of a large language model, referred to as "Apple GPT". Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has expressed his excitement about AI and uses Chat GPT himself. Apple's AI efforts are led by John Giannandrea, who has been leading Apple's AI projects since 2018. Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of Software Engineering, oversees the development of iOS and macOS.

However, as of July 2023, there are no plans for an official launch yet.

Apple is keen on integrating AI into its products, and one of its' focus is to avoid issues like bias and misinformation.

MarketsandMarkets welcome these developments.

 

What is Apple GPT or Ajax?

Apple's development of its own version of a ChatGPT competitor, which is internally referred to as "Apple GPT". This project is backed by Apple's proprietary language model framework, Ajax. Here are some key points:

  1. Apple GPT is being developed as a competitor to similar AI tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT and Meta's version of ChatGPT, which is powered by Llama 2.
  2. The development of Apple GPT is part of Apple's broader efforts in the field of artificial intelligence. The company has been relatively quiet about these efforts compared to other tech giants, but it's clear that they are not sitting out on the AI revolution.
  3. The internal name for Apple's language model framework is "Ajax". The origin of this name is unclear, but it could be a combination of Google's "JAX" and the "A" from Apple.
  4. This isn't Apple's first venture into AI. The company has been working on an AI-powered health application with emotional analysis capabilities. Additionally, Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant, Siri, is a form of AI.
  5. Apple's approach to AI is shaped by its commitment to privacy. The company has made changes to its iOS software to limit apps from tracking user behavior, which has caused some controversy with competitors.
  6. The Apple GPT project is still under development. However, it's reported that Apple is planning to make a major AI-related announcement in 2024, which could be the general release of Apple GPT.
 

Has Apple GPT been launched?

Apple is indeed working on an artificial intelligence project referred to as "Apple GPT", which could rival OpenAI's ChatGPT. However, as of the time of this news, Apple does not yet have a "clear strategy" announced for creating a consumer product and no launch has been planned yet. The tool is currently being used for product prototyping and can answer questions based on the data that Apple used to train it.

Apple has developed an "Ajax" framework for large language models like ChatGPT, Microsoft's Bing, and Google's Bard. It's also noted that Apple has been more cautious than competitors in the field of AI, prioritizing privacy over functionality.

While Apple views AI as "huge" and plans to continue incorporating it into products, there is no word yet on when or if Apple might release some kind of consumer-facing chatbot.

 

How will Apple manage privacy concerns yet train Large Language Model?

Apple is addressing privacy concerns in its development of a large language model, codenamed Ajax, in the following ways:

    1. On-Device Processing: Apple already uses on-device processing to run foundation models for voice cloning and translation. This means that data is processed on the user's device rather than being sent to the cloud, which helps to protect user privacy.
    2. Foundation AI Models: The upcoming iOS 17 will include a foundation AI model that runs on the built-in Apple Silicon chip neural engine to transcribe and translate text in real time. This allows Apple to offer these services without having to send data to the cloud.
    3. Internal Use of AI Tools: The new Ajax framework includes the development of a ChatGPT-like tool that is being used by employees internally. However, there is a caveat that nothing produced by the chatbot can be used to develop features bound for customers. This could be a measure to ensure that user data is not used in a way that could compromise privacy.
    4. Infrastructure and Safety Requirements: Before the public rollout of generative AI, Apple would need to provide the necessary infrastructure and ensure safety requirements are met. This likely includes measures to protect user privacy.
    5. Leadership Focus on Privacy: Apple's leadership, including CEO Tim Cook, has emphasized the importance of privacy in the development of AI. Cook has previously mentioned that while AI has potential, there are issues that need to be resolved, likely referring to privacy concerns.

What are Tim Cook's views on AI and GPT?

Here are Tim Cook's views on AI and GPT:

It is important to note that these views reflect Tim Cook's perspective at the time of the interviews and may evolve as AI technology and its applications continue to develop.

  1. Importance of AI: Tim Cook acknowledges the importance of AI and its integration into Apple's products. He recognizes that AI, particularly large language models, holds great promise.
  2. Deliberate and Thoughtful Approach: Cook emphasizes the need for a deliberate and thoughtful approach in the development and deployment of AI. He believes that because AI can be so powerful, it's crucial to be careful in its implementation.
  3. Concerns About AI: Cook raises concerns about potential issues with AI, including bias and misinformation. He believes these are serious issues that need to be addressed.
  4. Need for Regulation: Cook believes that regulation is needed in the field of AI. He thinks that guardrails are necessary and that companies should also regulate themselves because of the rapid progress in AI technology.
  5. Use of ChatGPT: Cook mentions that he uses ChatGPT and is excited about it. He sees unique applications for it and mentions that Apple is looking at it closely.
 

Who is Apple's AI head?

Apple's AI efforts are led by John Giannandrea, the company's head of machine learning and AI strategy. Giannandrea, a former tech executive at Google, has been leading Apple’s AI projects, including voice assistant Siri, since April 2018. However, as AI competition intensifies among Big Tech companies, Giannandrea’s team is embattled in a talent war with competitors. Despite this, Giannandrea has been instrumental in pushing Apple's AI initiatives forward, including the development of large language models and the integration of AI into Apple's products.

Apple's AI research team, under Giannandrea's leadership, is focused on developing and implementing AI technologies across Apple's product line. This includes the Siri voice assistant, as well as other AI-powered features and applications. The team is composed of engineers and researchers who specialize in machine learning, AI, and related fields. They work on a range of projects, from improving Siri's capabilities to developing new AI technologies for future products. However, the team has faced challenges in retaining top talent, with several key engineers leaving for competitors like Google.

Another key figure in Apple's AI and software development is Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. While Federighi's role is broader and includes overseeing the development of iOS and macOS, his teams are responsible for delivering the software at the heart of Apple’s innovative products, including the user interface, applications, and frameworks that incorporate AI technologies. Federighi returned to Apple in 2009 to lead macOS engineering, and in 2012 took on responsibility for iOS as well, delivering all subsequent releases of these operating systems.

 

Machine Learning Research at Apple

Summary of Apple's Machine Learning Research and Collaborations

Apple's Machine Learning Research group is focused on developing innovative solutions that have a real-world impact. The group's research areas are diverse, covering fields like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer vision. They aim to create technologies that enhance the user experience across all Apple products.

Apple collaborates with several universities worldwide to advance its research. Some of these include Stanford University, MIT, and the University of California, Berkeley. These collaborations allow Apple to tap into the academic expertise of these institutions and foster innovation.

Apple’s Machine Learning Research Areas of Focus

  1. Machine Learning: This is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn and make decisions without being explicitly programmed. For example, when Siri recognizes your voice or when your iPhone suggests what you might type next, that's machine learning in action.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is a broad field that involves creating machines or software that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence. This includes tasks like understanding natural language, recognizing patterns, and making decisions.
  3. Computer Vision: This is a field of study that involves enabling computers to 'see' and understand visual data. For instance, when your iPhone recognizes faces in your photos, that's computer vision at work.

Apple's research in these areas aims to improve the functionality and user experience of their products. For instance, advancements in machine learning and AI can lead to more accurate voice recognition in Siri or better predictive typing on your iPhone. Similarly, improvements in computer vision could enhance features like face recognition in photos or augmented reality experiences.

Research Topics

The research topics on Apple's Machine Learning website are quite diverse, covering areas like speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision. Here's a simplified explanation of these topics:

  1. Speech Recognition: This is about developing systems that can understand and transcribe human speech. It's the technology that allows Siri to understand your voice commands.
  2. Natural Language Processing (NLP): This involves teaching machines to understand human language. For example, when Siri understands the meaning of your questions and provides relevant answers, that's NLP at work.
  3. Computer Vision: As mentioned earlier, this involves teaching computers to 'see' and understand visual data. It's used in features like face recognition in photos.
  4. Machine Learning and AI: These topics involve creating systems that can learn from data and make decisions, improving over time. This technology is used in many Apple features, like predictive typing and personalized recommendations in Apple Music.
  5. Privacy and Security: This research area focuses on ensuring that all these technologies respect user privacy and maintain data security. Apple is known for its commitment to user privacy, and this research helps them maintain that reputation.

References:

  1. What is Apple GPT? Apple’s ChatGPT Rival & “Ajax” Explained
  2. Amid a Heated A.I. Race, Apple Struggles to Retain Top Talent
  3. Machine Learning Research at Apple

 

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