Tim Cook is 'really stoked' about AI

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Tim Cook is 'really stoked' about AI
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • In a new interview with TIME, Apple CEO Tim Cook said AI is the most exciting tech of our time.
  • Cook said AI is "already everywhere" and has the potential to improve lives.
  • He noted, as he has for years, that privacy is a major concern with AI.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is "really jazzed" about artificial intelligence.

In a new interview with TIME, he said that AI, or a machine's ability to simulate human intelligence like logic and reasoning, is the most promising innovation of today for two simple reasons.

It's "everywhere" and it has the potential to "make people's lives easier."

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AI is already present in "a number of products that you don't really think about," he said. He gave examples you can see if you just look down at your iPhone, from the way it recognizes your face and fingerprint, to "the way that Siri works," and even how photos are grouped together.

"I see that we're at the very early stages of what it can do for people and how it can make people's lives easier," he said.

"I believe that technology can do so much good in the world," he said - though "it depends on the creator, and whether they thought through the ways it can be used and misused." Cook has been thinking about the possibility of misuse in the AI space for years.

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In a 2018 speech at a privacy conference in Brussels, Belgium, Cook warned against misuse of the emerging technology while slamming firms like Facebook for weaponizing data for profit. "Advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency," he said at the time.

"For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values, including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound," he continued. "We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It's not only a possibility, it is a responsibility."

He echoed those sentiments in the TIME interview, stating that "privacy is a basic human right," along with "one of the most consequential issues of our time."

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Once privacy is contended with, Cook said he is "really stoked" and about overlaying the "virtual world with the real world" through AI and augmented reality. He said he is hopeful it can be done in a way "that is not distracting from the physical world and your physical relationships," but is "enhancing" to your relationships.

"Mainly, I am so optimistic about all the things that can happen in our lives that free up time for more leisure activities and other things that we want to do in life," he said.

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