Apple delays updating email app using ChatGPT over AI fear tied to kids

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Apple blocked an update to an email app that uses a customized version of ChatGPT over worries the AI tool would expose kids to inappropriate content, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The tech titan prevented BlueMail from updating the app until it raised the age restriction for potential new users to 17 from 4 years old, according to Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix.

BlueMail applies OpenAI’s ChatGPT to automate email writing by using previous emails and calendar events. Volach slammed the iPhone maker’s move as “unfair.” 

“Apple is making it really hard for us to bring innovation to our users,” he said in a Twitter post. 

“We want fair­ness. If we’re re­quired to be 17-plus, then oth­ers should also have to,” he tweeted, adding that many other apps that advertise ChatGPT-like features listed on Apple’s app store do not have age restrictions.

Apple, which said it was looking into the complaint, said developers have the option to challenge a rejection through the App Review Board process.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said AI “is a major focus of ours.”REUTERS

Blix and Volach did not immediately respond to ’ requests for comment.

Apple’s putoff came a week after BlueMail turned in the app upgrade for review. Apple’s former senior director of the App Store review team said the delay was “not uncommon.”

There are hundreds of individuals reviewing each app, and “not everyone sees the same thing,” said Phillip Shoemaker, who left Apple in 2016. “Some are viewing apps faster than others and could be missing things. The inconsistency could be for a variety of reasons.”

The update delay follows the escalated antitrust investigation into Apple over whether the company has engaged in unfair competition to crowd out apps created developed by other software developers. 

The antitrust probe, as POLITICO reported, would threaten the company’s second-biggest revenue chunk after the iPhone: the $46.2 billion services business, including App Store sales and subscription services like Apple Music and Apple TV+.

The founder of BlueMail, which applies OpenAI’s ChatGPT to automate email writing, slammed Apple’s move.REUTERS

Last month, the Biden administration ripped Apple over its “gatekeeper” power to impose various rules on app developers, according to CNN. 

For instance, Microsoft was recently allowed to launch an updated version of its Bing smartphone app with the ChatGPT functionality to the App Store. 

Apple was an early bird to embrace AI technology with its introduction of the Siri voice assistant in 2011, but now, the giant may lose its leading edge of furthering this technology compared with Microsoft and Google. 

At a company’s internal AI conference for employees last month, the focal point of sessions were areas such as computer vision, healthcare and privacy. 

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said AI “is a major focus of ours,” praising AI-enabled features such as crash detection.

“We see an enormous potential in this space to affect virtually everything we do,” he stated on the company’s quarterly earnings conference call in early February. 

With Post wires

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