Does Siri dream of ChatGPT? – Computerworld

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The digital transformation of everything is best seen as a Darwinian mind-set in which change becomes certainty, even as the pace of transition accelerates. Think about the explosion of generative AI during the past year.
ChatGPT is just a year old, and already the technologies that drive it are utterly transforming businesses. Many firms have embraced these large language models (LLMs), and the past 12 months have seen the tech become a business reality rather than a sci-fi pipe dream.
In terms of Apple, most businesses now see vastly accelerating use of iPhones, iPads, and Macs where once we saw only PCs. While many pretend the company will be too late when it does introduce its take on genAI, that’s not precisely the case. (Though it does seem pretty clear Siri really did not see this coming.)
After all, even while businesses are making extended use of these technologies, the full implications of them on those enterprises are still being identified.
At a recent CCS Insights event, analysts pointed out that many businesses were caught off guard by the emergence of genAI. More than one in three people now use it at work several times a week, they said, citing their own survey data. While users may be dabbling in what LLMs can do for them, they haven’t yet fully figured out new roles and guidelines to support these operations.
“We predict that AI oversight committees will become commonplace in large organizations by 2024,” CCS Insights said.
They also expect proficiency in use of genAI will become a requirement for hiring knowledge workers by 2025.
Microsoft moved fast to integrate ChatGPT within its operating systems. It had to. It knew that the looming Windows replacement cycle was a chance to accelerate Apple as a viable replacement. The hope must be that genAI might prompt some companies to stick with Redmond.
It probably will, but pressing questions around data protection with genAI remain to be resolved, even as Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu tells us Apple will introduce generative AI in its products in 2024 — just when the PC replacement cycle really begins. Pu expects Apple to introduce these tools with iOS 18 and iPadOS 18, and I can easily see that extending to Macs, even to HomePod.
One of the challenges when using this technology is the need to send queries to the cloud, and a lack of clarity around privacy when you do.
Pu tells us that Apple’s response to this will (as I recently speculated upon) be to offer a combination of cloud based “EdgeAI” features you can access (presumably securely and privately) via Siri, while providing more limited tools based on an LLM you can access natively on the handset. As he explains it, Siri will become capable of understanding context, predicting commands, and running complex tasks based around the capabilities of the Shortcuts app. 
In terms of mobile business dynamics, while it might be nice if your Microsoft 365 devices have access to AI, it will be way more business useful to access similar tools across every Apple device. Digital business is mobile, and Microsoft lacks a footprint there.
Generative AI, profound as it seems, is just one stop on a very long road. One glance at the Gartner hype cycle and you’ll see an array of incoming tech transformations that will impact business. Quantum computing? Hostile AI-driven attacks against business-critical APIs? Casual 3D printing of complex electronics? Increasingly fractured supply chains? You do have to respect Apple CEO Tim Cook for the work he’s doing to balance opposing forces as he works to build resilience in Apple’s manufacturing. One day he’ll be recognized for that.
You and your business have spent the last decade dealing with immense change, and that’s not about to stop. The old mantra that has been circulating among digital transformation advocates the last few years really has become a reality — when every business is a digital business, every business must embrace an environment of constant change.
In other words, just because you feel like genAI has hit your business like a fast moving truck, you need to learn your lessons swiftly. Because even more tech-driven transformation is coming; you’d better get used to that.
One way will be to create new management structures that embrace representation from across your business, from the bottom to the top — that’s the best way to fully understand the impact of change on your business. But we already knew that, right? Or did we?
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Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.