Jon Stewart claims Apple refused to let him discuss perils of AI on talk show

Jon Stewart aired his criticisms of Artificial Intelligence on Monday’s (1 April) edition of The Daily Show, claiming that Apple refused to let him do so on his former Apple TV+ show.

Stewart launched The Problem With Jon Stewart on Apple TV+ in 2021 after 16 years on The Daily Show. However, the series was axed after two seasons amid reports that the host had clashed with Apple over the show’s coverage of stories related to China and AI.

Stewart returned to The Daily Show this year, taking back the reigns from Trevor Noah. His guest on Monday was Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, whom he claimed Apple begged him not to speak to on The Problem With Jon Stewart.

“I wanted to have you on a podcast and Apple asked us not to do it,” Stewart said. “They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her.’”

Khan is a prominent critic of big-tech and has campaigned for years against the monopolies of companies like Amazon, Apple and Meta.

Stewart continued to allege that Apple did not want him to speak about the perils of AI on his show.

He said: “They wouldn’t let us do even that dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI. What is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?”

“I think it just shows the danger of what happens when you concentrate so much power and so much decision-making in a small number of companies,” Khan answered.

The Independent has contacted Apple for comment.

In a 15-minute segment at the start of the show, Stewart went through a number of tech CEOs and their comments about AI.

“This is like productivity without the tax of more people,” says Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in one clip. “The people tax: formerly referred to as employees,” Stewart said.

In another, Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the technology is “more profound than fire or electricity”. “Yeah, suck a dick, fire!” Stewart joked.

E-commerce company CEO Suumit Shah says in a Fox News clip: “It’s brutal, if you think like a, uh, like a human.”

“‘AI: it’s brutal, if you think like, as a human’ – it’s not the catchiest ad slogan I’ve ever heard,” Stewart remarked.

“So while we wait for this thing to cure diseases and solve climate change, it’s replacing us in the workforce – not in the future, but now,” he added.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart airs on Comedy Central on Mondays at 11pm ET.