Apple delays update to email app that uses ChatGPT over AI fears over kids

Apple delays update to email app that uses ChatGPT over AI fears over kids


March 3, 2023 | 10:16 a.m

Apple has blocked updates to its email app that uses a customized version of ChatGPT over concerns that the artificial intelligence tool could expose children to inappropriate content, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

According to Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix, the tech titan prevented BlueMail from updating the app until it raised the age limit for potential new users from 4 to 17.

BlueMail uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to automate email writing using past emails and calendar events. Volach described the iPhone maker’s move as “unfair”.

“Apple makes it very difficult for us to bring innovation to users,” he said in a Twitter post.

“We want fairness. If we’re required to be over 17, so should others,” he tweeted, adding that many other apps that advertise ChatGPT-like services in Apple’s app store do not have age restrictions.

Apple, which said it would investigate the complaint, said developers have the option to challenge the rejection through the App Review Board process.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that artificial intelligence is “our main concern”.

Blix and Volach did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Apple’s delay comes a week after BlueMail submitted the app update for review. A former senior executive at Apple’s App Store review team says the delay is “not uncommon.”

Hundreds of people rate each app, and “not everyone sees the same thing,” said Phillip Shoemaker, who left Apple in 2016. “Some look at apps faster than others and may miss things. There are several reasons for the inconsistency.”

The update delay follows an antitrust investigation into Apple over whether the company engaged in unfair competition to crowd out apps developed by other software developers.

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The antitrust investigation, as reported by POLITICO, threatens the company’s second-biggest source of revenue after the iPhone: its $46.2 billion services business, including sales from the App Store and subscription services like Apple Music and Apple TV+.

The founder of BlueMail, which uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to automate email writing, criticized Apple’s move.

Last month, the Biden administration stripped Apple of its “gatekeeper” power to impose various rules on app developers, according to CNN.

For example, Microsoft recently allowed an updated version of its Bing smartphone app with ChatGPT to launch in the App Store.

With the introduction of the Siri voice assistant in 2011, Apple was an early adopter of artificial intelligence technology, but now the giant company may lose the edge in the further development of this technology compared to Microsoft and Google.

At one company’s internal artificial intelligence conference for employees last month, sessions focused on areas such as computer vision, healthcare and privacy.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said AI is “our main focus” and praised AI-enabled features such as accident detection.

“We see enormous potential in this field, that we can influence practically all our activities,” he said at the company’s quarterly earnings conference in early February.

With postal wires

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