Apple faces pressure from major shareholders to disclose AI plans

Investors argue that Apple's silence on all things AI impairs their ability to assess future risks (and make money right now)

Apple faces pressure from major shareholders to disclose AI plans

Apple is currently facing pressure from some of its major investors, who are pushing the company to disclose its use of artificial intelligence tools.

According to the Financial Times, the investors argue that Apple's guidelines do not adequately address the potential risks associated with AI with a resolution set to take place tomorrow during the company's annual shareholder meeting.

As the AI arms race heats up, Apple's secrecy around its AI developments has left some investors and partners worried that the company may be lagging behind its competitors or mis-using data in ways that will be detrimental to their investments in the future.

Now, some of Apple's largest shareholders are backing a resolution that would force the company to disclose more information about its AI initiatives and plans.

Lack of transparency

Norges Bank are on record as requiring the company to consider the social impact of its operations and products, while Legal & General cited the limited information provided by Apple regarding its management of AI-related risks.

The Institutional Shareholder Services, an investor advisory firm has also urged Apple shareholders to vote for an AI resolution at tomorrow's meeting. ISS argues that Apple's current guidelines do not adequately address AI-related risks, making it difficult for shareholders to evaluate these risks.

It's unclear as to whether these investors are concerned that Apple's 'typically Apple' secrecy around the use of AI is hiding a mis-use of data and possible repercussions in the future, or if they - as investors currently seeing a vast boom in AI-based stocks elsewhere - feel that Apple are missing the boat and that their money would be better invested somewhere else.

Certainly there's currently no shortage of companies willing to talk up their AI work and ride the current wave, making Apple something of an outlier.

Not yet… But soon

However, Apple is pushing back against the AI resolution, urging shareholders to vote against it as “the scope of the requested report is overly broad and could encompass disclosure of strategic plans and initiatives harmful to our competitive position."

Apple is, of course, known for its secretive nature and will no doubt prefer to reveal its AI plans when it feels that it's the right time to do so. This would, of course, be in line with the company's history of keeping its cards close to its chest until it is ready to reveal a fully-fledged product or service. 

As to whether Apple are mis-using AI data as some investors seem to be implying, that's unknown. As to whether they have AI plans?… Apple has already acquired more AI startups than any of its competitors with one for example - AI.Music - being able to produce AI-generated music to suit your mood, for example.

It's also likely that they are planning a major revamp of Siri, addressing the digital assistant's shortcomings with advanced AI capabilities. Such plans are most likely to be revealed at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference, most likely taking place in June this year.

It would appear that Apple opening up can climbing on the AI train can't happen soon enough for some, however. As to Apple's reaction, the outcome of the motion and what could be revealed, time will tell.

Staff Writer

Isa Muhammad is a B2B writer and video games journalist with 5+ years experience covering games, interviewing industry professionals, tracking industry trends and understanding the market.