Friday, October 20, 2023

The Problem With China and AI

Benjamin Mullin, John Koblin, and Tripp Mickle (Hacker News):

Jon Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service is abruptly coming to an end, according to several people with knowledge of the decision, the result of creative differences between the tech giant and the former “Daily Show” host.


The show initially had difficulty gaining traction. By the second season, though, several interviews generated viral clips online, and the season was nominated for the outstanding talk series Emmy.

Benjamin Mayo (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Filming for season three was set to begin soon, but those plans have now been scrapped.

According to the newspaper, Apple executives resisted coverage of some topics Stewart had planned to tackle in the third season, including coverage of China and AI matters.

Mickle was one of the ones reporting previously, based on multiple sources, that Tim Cook and other executives were “giving notes” on Apple’s TV content. Eddy Cue categorically denied the story, but I never found it likely that Apple would be entirely hands-off, and there have been scattered reports since that notes have been given. Canceling a show entirely is a much cleaner way of solving “the problem” and will ensure that other shows won’t need notes on these topics to stay in line.

Nick Heer:

In 2019, Alex Kantrowitz and John Paczkowski reported for Buzzfeed News that Apple was one of several studios which wanted to avoid irking powerful people in China. It is risky for any large studio to be unable to show its productions in China but, as has become a normal point of discussion for me, Apple’s exposure is even greater because of its manufacturing requirements.


Update (2023-10-25): See also: ArsTechnica and Hacker News.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Before AppleTV+ launched, Tripp Mickle was the same guy who reported that Tim Cook, along with Amburg/Erlicht, was telling TV producers that they couldn't include "gratuitous violence or nudity", and gave the world the memorable label "expensive NBC" (even claiming, via blind sources, that this was how Apple described *itself*). People were sure the whole lineup was going to be safe enough to run on a loop inside Apple stores. I'm sure he's got his facts straight this time, though.

Leave a Comment