Integrating OpenAI Directly Into Apple's Operating System Is An 'Unacceptable Security Violation,' Said Elon Musk

11/06/2024

During its 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announces 'Apple Intelligence' technology across its suite of apps, which should significantly improve not only Siri, but pretty much everything else.

In the nearly two-hour long presentation at the Apple's annual developer conference, executives including CEO Tim Cook touted how Siri would be able to interact with messages, emails, calendar, as well as third party apps.

Siri will be able to write emails and change the tone of voice to suit the occasion.

While this should significantly enhance the experience of using Apple devices, there are probably more where that came from.

And Elon Musk isn't liking it.

Elon Musk

Musk worries stem from the fact that native apps on Apple devices, which come pre-installed on Apple devices, generally have more privileges compared to third-party apps.

For example, such apps can have access to system features and APIs, and others that may be restricted or limited for third-party apps. And because native apps are apps that Apple create, they're designed to work more seamlessly with the operating system and with its privacy protocols.

In other words, these apps have separate settings, and that they may not need to ask permissions to do something.

So here, Apple that is baking OpenAI's ChatGPT capabilities into Siri, is like giving the digital assistant superpowers it never had.

And because ChatGPT is literally a third-party that gets a increased privilege, Musk worries that users interaction and data is no longer exclusive to just Apple.

"If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation," Musk said.

Not only that Musk plans to ban all Apple devices from ever entering the doors of his companies, the billionaire serial entrepreneur also wants to have visitors visiting his companies to "have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a Faraday cage."

"Apple using the words ‘protect your privacy’ while handing your data over to a third-party AI that they don’t understand and can’t themselves create is *not* protecting privacy at all!" Musk said, responding to a post on X from YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who further explained Apple Intelligence

Musk even replied to a post by Apple CEO Tim Cook, saying that he would ban Apple devices from the premises of his companies if he didn’t "stop this creepy spyware."

"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!," Musk exclaimed in one of his many rants about the integration.

"Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river."

While Apple may not know the inner workings of OpenAI, the ChatGPT integration doesn't technically make Apple handle over user data.

The deciders are the users themselves.

"Of course, you’re in control over when ChatGPT is used and will be asked before any of your information is shared. ChatGPT integration will be coming to iOS 18 iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia later this year," said Apple SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, during Monday’s keynote address at Apple’s WWDC.

First and foremost, the AI features will be processed on-device to keep information private, meaning that Apple will not send any data to the internet, in order for the AI to work.

But to make this possible, users have to use iPhones with at least an A17 Pro processor, or Apple devices with M-series chip.

Apple had also said that users shall use the ChatGPT integration, but it will first ask for users' permission to share their question, if the AI cannot process it locally.

And here, Elon Musk is threatening to ban Apple devices from all his companies, in a series of posts that seem to show him misunderstood the relationship Apple announced with OpenAI, or at least attempt to cloudy the matter to leave room for doubt about user privacy.

But his argument is that, he would prefer OpenAI’s capabilities to remain bound to a dedicated app, and not a Siri integration.

If OpenAI can never have access to internal data stored inside Apple devices, "then leave it as an app. This is bullshit," Musk said.

Another thing, Apple said that users’ requests and information are not logged. But it also said that ChatGPT subscribers who paid for the Pro version, can connect their account and then access their paid feature directly within Apple’s AI experiences.

OpenAI that noted on its own blog post, that "requests are not stored by OpenAI, and users’ IP addresses are obscured," also said that ChatGPT users can link their account to Apple, meaning that their data preferences will apply under ChatGPT’s policies.

So here, if the way ChatGPT is integrated into Siri is essentially the same as how the ChatGPT app works for everyone else, why would Apple bother integrating it in the first place?

And as for why Musk is so upset, can also be traced back to his massive disappointment with OpenAI and its co-founder Sam Altman.

What's more, Musk is also building his own competitor to OpenAI, called xAI, and has even diverted a huge shipment of Nvidia H100 graphics chips used for cloud AI compute from Tesla to xAI.