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Avoiding BlackBerry's Fate (@marcoarment)

Good piece from Marco Arment about the push into Artificial Intelligence and how Apple may be left behind:

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for. If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

If AI is a capability that can’t be bought and brought or augmented in-house, and if this is “the next thing that our devices are for,” and if Apple is in fact not working hard on this right now, he may be right to worry. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google may have an advantage in AI – especially Google since they mine so much personal data. But as Marco notes in the article’s footnote:

It’s possible to build tons of useful services and smarts by just using public data, like the web, mapping databases, business directories, etc., without any access to or involvement from the user’s private data.

Given Apple’s well-known effort to protect customers’ privacy (something I value greatly), I think that is clearly the direction they will go. Taking full advantage of public data and possibly data you opt-into for their use seems like something they are just beginning to do well.

In thinking of how often I use Siri, which is only one piece of Apple’s ecosystem that harnesses AI, I don’t use it as often as I had anticipated. One big reason is because I don’t like people seeing me talk to my phone or watch! I must not be the only one; I don’t often see others using it, either. Around the house and when I go for walks in my rural neighborhood, though, I use it more, especially for dictation. Dictation works very well in iOS and has become a killer feature for me to “take notes” when I get ideas.

Anyway, it seems like this will take years to play out, so maybe time is not against Apple as much as Marco suggests.

Categories    Apple    Technology