Apple Bets on AI to Address Privacy Concerns in AR/VR

Apple Bets on AI to Address Privacy Concerns in AR/VR

As Apple prepares to unveil its much-anticipated Vision Pro augmented and virtual reality headset, the tech giant is reportedly looking to acquire German startup Brighter AI to alleviate privacy issues with the new device. Specifically, Apple plans to implement Brighter’s Deep Natural Anonymization 2.0 technology to automatically anonymize faces and data in Vision Pro visuals.

Unlike traditional blurring approaches to anonymity, Brighter’s AI utilizes generative algorithms to realistically alter identifiable imagery. This enables more natural-looking map data and photography from Apple’s VR/AR headset and other offerings. It also future-proofs privacy as headsets become less conspicuous recording devices in public spaces.

While wearing a Vision Pro may draw eyes today, Apple recognizes that normalized AR/VR integration is on the horizon. And with discreet on-headset cameras, visually alerting bystanders about recordings will be trickier. Hence the appeal of AI masking over manual blurring or omissions, which feel increasingly outdated.

If the Brighter AI acquisition comes to fruition, don’t be surprised if revamped map data is among the first implementations. But improved social acceptability of augmented reality may be the bigger win, letting Apple stand out on key ethical concerns around transparency and consent. The company once again appears to be strategically positioned to transform technology norms for the better with AI’s help.