Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, expressed the company’s desire to increase its workforce in the UK, which contrasts the job cuts occurring in the technology industry.
He mentioned that the company intends to bring additional employees to work on artificial intelligence (AI).
This comes one day after Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, announced a 16% reduction in its workforce.
Major companies such as Amazon, Meta, Google, and Microsoft have reduced their workforce by tens of thousands of jobs since 2022.
Mr. Cook has been vocal in his criticism of the trend of layoffs in the tech industry, and in May, he referred to it as a “last resort.”
Instead, he informed the PA news agency that, when questioned about AI and employment in the UK, “We are actively recruiting in that field, yes, and I anticipate [investment] will rise.”
Companies are investing heavily in AI. Just on Monday, Amazon disclosed an investment of as much as $4 billion (equivalent to £3.3 billion) in the San Francisco-based AI company Anthropic.
This came after Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, in January.
The Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan, remarked that Apple’s decision represents “yet another vote of confidence in our growing tech sector.”
She wrote on X, the microblogging platform formerly known as Twitter, “Apple’s continuous investment in exceptional British talent underscores our worldwide recognition as a leading force in AI and technology.”
Antony Walker, Deputy Chief of techUK, the industry association, stated, “The revolutionary impact of AI will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of employees in AI companies in the coming years.”
However, he also mentioned, “In the long run, it’s more challenging to foresee the skill requirements for the AI-driven economy of the future. This is why businesses and the government must collaborate on a long-term strategy that places digital skills training and lifelong learning at its core.”
On the other hand, Tim Pullan, the CEO of ThoughtRiver, a company that offers AI solutions for legal professionals, expressed his belief that the global economy is in the early stages of “a revolution driven by AI.”
He emphasized, “It is of utmost importance that the UK leads the way in this transformation.”
“As a nation, we possess significant potential to rise as a leading AI powerhouse. I believe this marks the beginning of a pattern where an increasing number of companies seek to leverage the UK’s extensive tech capabilities. In turn, the UK will reap the rewards of the investment and innovation this trend will usher in,” he remarked.
Mr Cook pointed out that AI technology plays a significant role in various prominent features on Apple devices. These include software capable of detecting incidents like falls or accidents, along with commonly used tools like predictive typing.
“It’s practically ubiquitous across our products, and, of course, we are actively researching generative AI too, so there’s a lot of innovation happening,” he commented.
Generative AI, which refers to artificial intelligence capable of generating media content from text prompts, remains a focal point of investment for major corporations, even in the face of widespread concerns regarding its implications for copyright and ownership.
This is because the software “learns” through the analysis of vast amounts of data, often obtained from online sources, and there are concerns that it may incorporate copyrighted materials created by individuals.
This has resulted in prominent legal battles in the United States, where authors George RR Martin and John Grisham have filed lawsuits against OpenAI, alleging that their books were utilized to train the system.