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Apple Entered the A.I. Fray

Apple Entered the A.I. Fray

After lagging behind its rivals in the artificial intelligence race for the last two years, Apple today announced that its smartphones would soon feature several tools powered by generative A.I.

Apple’s A.I. system will offer a rebuilt version of Siri that the company said will be capable of following a conversation. The technology will also be able to write, proofread, create images and write software code across applications. For requests that it can’t handle — for example, plan a dinner with just a list of several ingredients — users can direct the request to OpenAI instead. Apple struck a deal with the company to support its A.I. endeavor.

“These are the most ambitious changes that Apple has made to the iPhone in the past decade,” said my colleague Tripp Mickle, who has been reporting on the company for many years.

Apple’s move will test whether the tech giant can once again enter a new market and redefine it — as it did with the iPod, the iPhone and the Apple Watch. One advantage the company has is its massive mainstream user base, Tripp said.

“Despite Silicon Valley’s rush to embrace A.I., the technology hasn’t yet been at the fingertips of billions of users everyday,” Tripp told me. “Apple plans to change that overnight this fall with a suite of new tools that can be summoned with a tap of a button.”

For more: Your smartphone is going to change soon. This is how.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met today with the Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem, just hours after he sat down in Cairo with Egypt’s president, a key mediator in the talks between Israel and Hamas. Blinken said his message to governments in the Middle East was that if they wanted a cease-fire, they should press Hamas to “say yes” to Israel’s latest proposal. He also similarly pressed Israel on the deal, which it has yet to formally embrace.

Peace prospects may have become more complicated over the weekend. Benny Gantz, a centrist Israeli leader, pulled his party out of the country’s wartime government. Israel’s military also carried out a raid on Saturday in which four hostages were rescued and dozens of people were killed, including women and children.

Europe’s mainstream conservatives, the European People’s Party, performed strongly and finished first in the European Parliament elections this weekend, according to preliminary results. It was a sign that the party’s strategy to integrate more right-leaning policies in an effort to stop voters from shifting to further-right rivals had worked.

Still, far-right parties with nationalist and anti-immigration agendas surged in France and in Germany. AfD, the German ultranationalist party that has been designated a “suspected” extremist group by the German authorities, soared to second place. In France, Marine Le Pen’s right-wing party scored twice the support of the centrist coalition. In response, President Emmanuel Macron called for snap legislative elections — a huge gamble.

A committee of independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously today that the benefits of the newest experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease far outweigh the risks.

The F.D.A. usually follows the advice of the agency’s advisory committees but not always.

In clinical trials, the drug, called donanemab, modestly slowed cognitive decline in patients in the early stages of the disease. It also had significant safety risks, including swelling and bleeding in the brain. A similar drug, lecanemab, has already been approved. My colleagues talked with doctors about how patients have been responding to it.

Each day this week, my colleagues on the Well desk will offer science-backed strategies to help revive fizzling friendships and deepen your close ties. Start the five-day friendship challenge by taking our quiz to discover your friendship style.

At 63, Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she is still trying to prove herself. Her most famous roles, in “Seinfeld” and “Veep,” are comedic master classes, but in recent years she’s gravitated toward more serious work. My colleague Lulu Garcia-Navarro caught up with Louis-Dreyfus in a lengthy interview about her career path and the release of her newest film, “Tuesday.”

“I’m certain nobody would have considered me for that role 20 years ago,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “That’s probably because they just thought of me only as a ‘ha-ha’ funny person.”

Elephants’ low-pitched rumbles are difficult for humans to differentiate. But when a group of scientists put hundreds of the murmurs through machine-learning software, they found evidence to suggest that the animals were referring to each other by name. Take a listen.

Some animals, like dolphins and parrots, use imitations of sounds made by other individuals as names. But in a study published today, scientists suggested that elephants could be the first nonhuman animals known to call one another by names as humans understand them, based on abstract sounds.

Have a sociable evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

Phil Pacheco was our photo editor today.

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