Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is threatening to prohibit employees at his companies from using Apple devices if the tech giant moves forward with plans to integrate an artificial intelligence feature in its devices.
Musk, who launched his own AI venture last year, claims the newly unveiled Apple software integration that is expected to go into effect later this year poses "an unacceptable security violation."
"If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS [operating system] level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies," Musk said in a statement. He added that visitors will also have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a box that is able to block some electromagnetic fields.
The threat came after Apple announced it is partnering with ChatGPT maker OpenAI to integrate the technology into its devices, including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook. AI services highlighted by Apple include context-driven notifications, basic image generation tools and writing and proofreading tools.
The company's reach is expected to be significant, as there are more than a billion iPhone users worldwide, many of whom will get their first taste of AI tools through Apple's products. However, Musk claims the new venture is a step in the wrong direction regarding the security and protection of users' data.
"It's patently absurd that Apple isn't smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security & privacy," he wrote. "Apple has no clue what's actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They're selling you down the river."
Earlier this year, Musk sued OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, alleging the company has betrayed its originally stated goal of using AI technology to benefit humanity. Musk helped fund OpenAI in its early years and also served on the company's board starting in 2015 before resigning in 2018 to focus on Tesla's autonomous driving goals.
According to the lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Musk, Altman and company president Greg Brockman had agreed that OpenAI would be run as a nonprofit for public benefit. The lawsuit claims OpenAI had also agreed to make its code open source, meaning anyone would be able to inspect, modify, and enhance it.
But in the suit, Musk alleges that by partnering with Microsoft, OpenAI has become a "closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world" that seeks "to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity."
Microsoft committed a $1 billion investment into OpenAI in 2019 and signed an agreement that gave Microsoft exclusive rights to AI products OpenAI created. That license is expected to expire if and when OpenAI ever achieves artificial general intelligence a theoretical state in which the AI would match or surpass human cognitive capabilities.


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