Apple is looking to make a big move in the artificial intelligence space by vying for multi-year deals worth upwards of $50 million with major news publishers, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The tech giant has entered discussions with publishers including Condé Nast, NBC News and IAC to gain access to their extensive archives of content to train Apple’s own AI models. The publishing material would aid Apple in developing generative AI abilities similar to ChatGPT and Google’s new Bard search chatbot, an area where Apple currently lags behind its competitors.
If signed, the deals would allow Apple to use millions of articles, videos, images and more from the publishers to build advanced natural language AI systems. The company is said to be specifically pursuing an agreement with The New York Times for their robust archive of high-quality journalism spanning over 150 years.
Training AI on massive sets of text data is crucial for creating sophisticated models like ChatGPT that can generate human-like writing and engage in natural conversation. Competitors like OpenAI and Google have sourced training data through methods like web scraping, raising concerns over copyright and intellectual property issues.
Apple’s approach of directly partnering with publishers shows its intent to obtain AI training data ethically and compensate content creators fairly. This could set Apple apart in an AI race that has so far been opaque regarding where models source their intelligence from.
The partnerships would arm Apple with exclusive publisher content to develop new iPhone features and improve Siri. Apple is looking to debut major AI capabilities as soon as 2024, with the goal of integrating the technology throughout its products to provide more seamless, intuitive and personalized experiences.
Advanced AI could help Apple strengthen Siri, compete with chatbots like Bard and ChatGPT and reinvent search—an area where Google still maintains dominance. More human-like intelligence across Apple services and devices may enable transformative new user interactions.
Apple has slowly built up its AI prowess through acquisitions like machine learning startup Xnor.ai in 2020. It lost former Siri chief Bill Stasior to Microsoft and ex-AI chief John Giannandrea to Google in past talent departures.
But the company has ramped up AI hiring and research recently. It remains adamant its privacy-focused approach of performing most AI computations on-device gives it an edge over rivals reliant on collecting user data.
With AI set to become the next major computing platform, Apple is now intent on making decisive moves to be a leader in the space. Lucrative content deals with top publishers could give Apple the fuel for creating revolutionary AI products that set new standards for the industry.