Apple exploring AI deal with news publishers
Apple has begun talks with major news and publishing organizations in recent weeks, seeking permission to use their content in the development of the company's generic artificial intelligence systems, according to four people familiar with the discussions.
The technology giant has struck multiyear deals worth at least $50 million to license archives of news articles, said people with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. News organizations contacted by Apple include Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker; NBC News; and IAC, which owns People, The Daily Beast, and Better Homes & Gardens.
The conversation is one of the first examples of how Apple is trying to catch up to rivals in the race to develop generic AI, which allows computers to create images and chat like a human. The technology, which artificial intelligence experts refer to as neural networks, is built using stacks of photographs or digital text to recognize patterns. For example, by analyzing thousands of cat photographs, a computer can learn to recognize a cat.
Microsoft, OpenAI, Google, Meta, and other companies have released chatbots and other products built with the technology. Devices can change the way people work and generate billions of dollars in sales.
But Apple has been absent from the public discussion of AI, with its virtual assistant, Siri, remaining largely stagnant in the decade since its release.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment. During a call with analysts last month, the company's Chief Executive Tim Cook said Apple's AI-related work is “ongoing” but declined to elaborate.
Some publishers contacted by Apple were lukewarm on the proposal. After years of on-again, off-again commercial deals with tech companies like Facebook owner Meta, publishers have been wary of jumping into business with Silicon Valley.
Many publishing executives were concerned that Apple's terms were too broad, according to three people familiar with the negotiations. The initial pitch involved broad licensing of publishers' archives of published content, with publishers potentially on the hook for any legal liabilities that might arise from Apple's use of their content.
Apple was also vague about how it wants to implement generic AI in the news industry, the people said, a potential competitive risk given the substantial audience for news on Apple's devices.
Still, some news executives were optimistic that Apple's approach could ultimately lead to a meaningful partnership. Two people familiar with the discussions commented positively on the long-term prospects of the deal, comparing Apple's approach of seeking permission with the behavior of other artificial intelligence-enabled companies who have been accused of seeking licensing deals with news organizations. Is. has already used its content to train its generative models.
In recent years, Apple executives have been debating how to accumulate the data needed to build generic AI products, according to two people familiar with the work. Some of its competitors have been accused of taking written content from the Internet without the permission of the artists, writers, and coders who created it, leading to several copyright lawsuits.
Due to its commitment to privacy, Apple has been reluctant to take information from the Internet. After acquiring social analytics start-up Topsy in 2013, Apple's leadership asked Topsy to stop collecting information from Twitter, saying that doing so would violate the company's policy against collecting data on Apple customers. Violations can also be posted on social media sites. Two people said.
The explosion of artificial intelligence has raised concerns among news executives, many of whom are concerned that generic AI products like OpenAI's ChatGPT could attract readers who would otherwise consume their news on platforms that serve their own subscribers and advertisers. .
Print news organizations, which saw their lucrative classified business decimated by online competitors decades ago, have been particularly wary about making deals with AI organizations, working carefully toward preserving their existing businesses. Are.
In a statement, a spokesperson for OpenAI cited its recent deals with the American Journalism Project and German publisher Axel Springer, saying that the company “respects the rights of content creators and owners and believes they should There should be benefits from AI technology”.
An OpenAI spokesperson said, “We are optimistic that we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together in support of a thriving news ecosystem.”