Snapchat's “My AI” chatbot, powered by OpenAI's GPT technology, is now available to a global audience for free. Previously, the feature was limited to Snapchat's paid subscribers. Users have already been sending nearly 2 million messages per day to the chatbot, according to Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel. With the global development of AI technology, the chat has been customized with new functionality, such as the ability to add the chatbot to group chats, get recommendations for places on Snap Map and Lenses, and share Snaps with My AI and receive chat answers.
In the future, My AI will be capable of answering with special “generative” Snaps, the company stated. This is to keep the visual conversation flowing, rather than just relying on chat replies. The concept of integrating AI into the Snapchat app was to offer users another way to interact with the app while taking advantage of the increasing demand for ChatGPT-like experiences.
However, shortly after the chatbot was launched, it went off the rails. The Washington Post mentioned that the bot was answering in an inappropriate manner. Despite being told the user was a young teen, aged 15, the bot made proposals on how to hide the smell of alcohol and pot at a birthday party. It wrote an assignment for school for the teen. At the same time, when the bot was told the user was 13, it answered a query about how to set the mood when having sex for the first time.
The company answered by saying that users had been trying to “trick the chatbot into providing responses that do not conform to our guidelines” and that it had introduced new tools, such as age filters, to keep AI answers more age-relevant. It also added it would implement insights into its Family Center parental controls hub, which assists parents and guardians stay informed about their kids’ communications with the bot.
However, as of the global launch, Snap has not yet done so and hasn't pointed out when the Family Center controls would go live. For the time being, the company is designing the chatbot more attractive to younger users by enabling it into chatrooms with friends, using @ mention for it. So, the bot will enter the chat with a mark next to its name clarifying that it is a bot and not someone real.
My AI will be capable of proposing place recommendations or relevant Lenses, such as suggesting weekend activities or a good Lens to use to wish a friend happy birthday. Users can now receive chat replies to their Snaps, with generative visual responses coming in the future. The feature will be restricted to Snapchat+ subscribers, although My AI itself will now be available for free.
Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel stated during the Partner Summit presentation that users who snapped a photo of their dog might get a witty dog photo back as a generative answer. Additionally, if a user sends a Snap of the vegetables growing in their garden, My AI might advise a recipe. However, it is unclear what kind of safety controls will be included in the generative features, as other generative AI apps, including Lensa AI, have been easily tricked into making NSFW images.
Other individual functions will also be presented, such as the potentiality to name your AI and design a custom Bitmoji for it, making your chatbot more personal. The function was only accessible to Snapchat+ subscription holders before, which could be driving upgrades. Snap reported that Snapchat+ now has more than 3 million subscribers. Nevertheless, specific AI features will remain a paid upgrade.
In conclusion, My AI chatbot from Snap can be a fun novelty, especially for young users, but it also remains a risk for children and teens who might obtain bad experience from their own questions that can impact their behavior. The function is also incompletely safe as any generative AI chatbot that always needs to be upgraded, especially in safety aspects.
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