Elon Musk threatens to ban Apple devices at his companies over its new OpenAI deal

Carla Rosa
March 28, 2023
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Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, has sparked a significant controversy by threatening to ban the use of Apple devices in his companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, and X. This bold move follows an announcement by Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding a new partnership with OpenAI to incorporate their artificial intelligence technology into Apple's operating systems. Musk took to his social media platform, X, to voice his disapproval, labeling this integration as an "unacceptable security violation." He suggested that visitors to his businesses would need to leave their Apple devices at the door, where they would be stored in a Faraday cage to prevent any potential data leaks.

The backdrop to this dramatic stance includes a legal battle between Musk and OpenAI. Earlier this year, Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, accusing them of deviating from their original mission to benefit humanity by prioritizing profits instead. Despite Apple's assurances that user data would remain private and that they would not collect or search personal information stored on devices using the AI system, Musk remains unconvinced. He expressed skepticism about Apple's ability to ensure data security once it's handed over to OpenAI, suggesting that the tech giant is not adequately equipped to manage this new partnership responsibly.

Adding more context, Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 but left its board in 2018. Since then, he has been developing his own AI company, xAI, which aims to benefit humanity maximally. This personal history and professional rivalry likely influence his current stance. Musk's concerns revolve around the belief that Apple lacks the necessary expertise to safeguard user data once it is integrated with OpenAI's technology.

Despite the criticism, Apple's announcement emphasized that user data privacy is a top priority. The company assured that personal data would not be collected or searched, even as they integrate AI into systems like iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia. However, Musk's public statements reflect a deep mistrust of these assurances. He suggested that Apple's reliance on OpenAI for AI capabilities indicates a lack of internal competency and poses a significant risk to user privacy.

This development comes at a time when Musk is also working on building xAI, his own AI company. This venture has attracted researchers from OpenAI and other top tech firms, with the mission to benefit humanity. The rivalry between Musk and OpenAI, along with his concerns about data privacy, have undoubtedly shaped his decision to potentially ban Apple devices from his workplaces.

To stay updated on this unfolding situation, you can read the full story here.

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Carla Rosa

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