Apple Investors Oppose AI Report

Apple shareholders denied a labor-backed proposal for an AI transparency report on the company's ethical use of AI.

AFL-CIO Equity Index Funds' motion was rejected at Apple's annual meeting on Wednesday. Equal employment policies, civil liberties, racial and gender pay inequalities, and human rights were also rejected by shareholders. The board slate and executive compensation plan were approved.

The AI proposal asked Apple to share its ethical principles for adopting the technology. AI raises “a number of social policy issues,” says the measure's supporting statement. That includes whether it biases staff choices or violates consumer privacy. The message also warned of automation-related layoffs.

The measure lost, but it was closer than the previous shareholder motions. Walt Disney Co., Netflix Inc., and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. are also under pressure from the AFL-CIO investment arm. In a twist, Apple retail store employee Michael Forsythe read the petition, saying he and his coworkers were worried about the company's AI development. Forsythe advocated for Oklahoma City Apple store unionization.

Apple has been less transparent about its ambitions for generative AI, the technology underpinning chatbots like ChatGPT, although it will explain them later this year. That presentation might happen at the company's annual developers conference in June. Apple Prepares AI to Compete with GitHub Copilot

Apple CEO Tim Cook vowed to “break new ground” in AI this year during the shareholder meeting. He stated, “We believe it will unlock transformative opportunities for our users,” making them more productive. He called the Vision Pro headset's machine-learning features “decades of innovation.”

Apple is rushing to include generative AI into its software. Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, has ordered his teams to create as many AI capabilities as possible for this year's OS releases. A issue in recent years was Cook's near-$100 million yearly salary. It fell 36% to $63.2 million in 2023 owing to lesser stock awards. His pay remained $3 million. Cook's 2024 stock award objective is $50 million, up from $40 million.

Apple stated last month that former US vice president Al Gore and ex-Boeing Co. CEO James Bell will not run for reelection at the meeting due to their 75-year ages. Another director, Ronald Sugar, will stay despite reaching 76 this year. Cook began the meeting by thanking Gore and Bell.

Apple said Sugar is staying “in consideration of the significant recent transitions in board composition and the value of retaining directors who have developed deep insights into the company during their tenure.” Former Aerospace Corp. CEO Wanda Austin joins the board. She has historically supported US space development, something Apple hasn't prioritized.

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