Apple joins tech giants in restricting employees' use of the AI tool ChatGPT due to data leakage concerns and growing scrutiny over AI's handling of user data.

In a move that highlights the increasing concerns surrounding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the corporate world, tech giant Apple Inc has now joined Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, and Verizon in imposing restrictions on the use of ChatGPT and other external AI programs for its employees. 

The decision comes as Apple develops its similar technology, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, which cited an internal document and inside sources.

Apple's main worry revolves around the potential leakage of confidential data by employees using AI programs. Copilot, a programme meant to automate the creation of software code, is owned by GitHub and is not recommended by the firm specifically for its employees in order to reduce this danger. 

Apple's concerns reflect growing scrutiny over how AI chatbots, like ChatGPT, handle vast amounts of user data to train and improve AI systems.

Interestingly, as Apple tightens its grip on AI tool usage within its workforce, OpenAI, the organisation behind ChatGPT, introduced the ChatGPT app for Apple's iOS in the United States earlier this week. This move signifies the rising popularity and demand for AI-powered chatbots, as nine out of ten employers are reportedly seeking a workforce with "ChatGPT experience." 

While some companies have openly embraced these tools to automate routine tasks and handle customer inquiries, others remain apprehensive, ultimately banning or restricting their use at work, particularly on company hardware and networks.

Advocates of these bans argue that they are necessary to protect sensitive and proprietary information. Executives fear employees might inadvertently disclose trade secrets or client data while interacting with AI systems. 

As the corporate world grapples with the use of AI tools in everyday operations, this latest move by Apple underscores the importance of maintaining robust data protection measures.

By imposing limitations, companies aim to balance leveraging AI technology's efficiency and productivity benefits while mitigating the potential risks associated with data breaches and unauthorised information disclosure.

—— Kritika Singhal 

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