LIVE FROM WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE, WUZHEN, CHINA: Apple boss Tim Cook (pictured) heralded technologies including machine learning as having the potential to change the world for the better, but warned the benefits must be widely shared in order for the promise to be realised.
“Never before has the future held so much possibility,” Cook said during his keynote this morning, adding Apple thinks artificial intelligence (AI) can amplify human performance and deliver breakthroughs which reshape peoples’ lives.
While much has been said about the potential downside of AI, he reflected: “I don’t worry about machines thinking like humans. I worry about people thinking like machines.”
He said the company believes technology can be the greatest force the world has ever known for creating opportunity and lifting people out of poverty: “But technology itself doesn’t want to be good, it doesn’t want anything – it’s up to all of us to ensure technology is infused with humanity.”
Cook added the technology of the future should have openness, creativity and safeguards to protect users while providing privacy and decency.
Apple’s China boom
The US-based company supports 5 million jobs in China, including 1.8 million app developers who have earned more than CNY112 billion ($16.9 billion), which is more than any other country (and also represents roughly a quarter of total global App Store earnings), Cook said.
Earlier this year, Apple said developers had earned roughly $70 billion in total revenue through the store.
Apple recently came under fire for cooperating with Chinese authorities in removing apps which give users there uncensored communications.
Meanwhile Cook stressed Apple operates in China on 100 per cent renewables and is encouraging its partners to do the same: “We know climate change will hurt everyone, and it will be harshest for those that have less,” he said.
Cook shared his thoughts at China’s top public cyber policy forum, organised by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees internet regulation including censorship. Mobile World Live is on the ground in Wuzhen with more reports to follow.