In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had pushed back on an email app’s generative AI-infused update until the developer gave the app a 17+ restriction, expressing concerns that the AI tools could generate inappropriate content for children. On the App Store, the OpenAI ChatGPT app is rated “12+ years”.
OpenAI did not respond to questions about any additional parameters it may have included in its iOS model, although presumably the mobile app met Apple’s requirements for access to the App Store. Currently, on the web, ChatGPT refuses to generate problematic content when prompted; he will not write, for example, pornographic short stories or make religious jokes, according to WIRED’s tests, although he will write satires on religious wars. Satire is also a permitted category on the Apple App Store.
When asked why OpenAI’s iOS app for ChatGPT came six months after the release of its ChatGPT web app, spokeswoman Kayla Wood said it was part of the company’s AI-safe development ethos. “This goes back to our whole strategy of slowly and surely getting these useful tools out into the world,” she adds.
OpenAI has made it clear that its strategy for making AI smarter also involves training algorithms using feedback obtained from logs of people using ChatGPT. The bot’s iOS manifestation could provide a valuable new query stream, and one with a more conversational tone if the speech recognition feature proves popular.
A mobile app could also provide OpenAI with entirely new signals, such as location data. However, Apple has also limited data collection for third-party apps in recent years, starting with the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.5 in 2021. App creators, for example, are now required to ask your permission when they want to track you to through apps and services owned by other companies, and iPhone users can choose to limit location tracking within apps.
Apple’s new controls also mostly block access to a phone’s ad-tracking identifier, limiting some ad-based business models, including Meta’s. OpenAI doesn’t serve announcements in ChatGPT (at least, not yet); it’s free, premium, or pay-as-you-go, in the case of your DALL-E Imager.
Apple did not respond to a query from WIRED about restrictions on content moderation or data tracking that might apply specifically to this new category of AI tools, like the ChatGPT app for iOS.
ChatGPT’s App Store debut may not go down well with entrepreneurs who have shrewdly launched their own chatbot apps in recent months. The app’s arrival on mobile devices could also help thwart scammers. Earlier this week, security company Sophos warned that ChatGPT scams are showing up in the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Consumers are unknowingly lured into downloading “free” apps that claim to offer access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, only to later receive subscription fees for bogus apps. Now, with the application of OpenAI in the mix, it might be easier to avoid low-quality chatbots with names like “Chat GBT”.