Friday, June 21, 2024

Apple takes a gamble on AI, but rolls a critical miss on dice

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At its WWDC yesterday, Apple unveiled its first major foray into modern artificial intelligence, or “Apple Intelligence” as it prefers to call it.

The company may have been slow to adopt the technology, but it’s now going all-in. Apple Intelligence will be baked into the upcoming iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, offering new writing tools for rewriting, proofreading, and summarizing text across apps, Genmoji for personalized emojis, and a significantly improved Siri.

Apple Intelligence also introduces Image Playground for quick image creation in Animation, Illustration, and Sketch styles. The problem with GenAI content is that it often doesn’t produce exactly what you ask for, and silly mistakes frequently creep in. Extra fingers on the hands of people AI drew in the early days are a perfect example.

I recently asked several AI models to create “a picture of a broadsword,” and they all generated pictures of more than one sword. Even when I changed the text prompt to “one broadsword, just the one, a single blade, no more than one,” I was given pictures with at least two swords, and ten in one instance.

If you thought Apple Intelligence would produce a better result than the likes of Dall-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, WWDC’s presentation made it clear that wasn’t the case.

On a number of occasions, Apple flashed up the above picture of a dice. What’s wrong with it? The thing with dice is opposite sides always add up to seven. So the opposite side to six is one, the opposite side to five is two, and so on. Apple’s dice don’t follow that simple rule.

Someone at Apple signed off on using that image, and no one spotted it was wrong. Did it get rushed through, and does this indicate potential flaws in attention to detail within Apple’s AI development process? It might not be a big deal for many, most people even, but for me this weird error raises questions about the thoroughness of the quality checks at Apple, and the overall dependability of Apple Intelligence.

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