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Snapchat announces its own integrated chatbot ‘My AI’

Snap has announced its own ChatGPT-style chatbot called ‘My AI,’ rolling out to paying subscribers and eventually everyone. This is billed as more a virtual friend, than all-powerful writing machine.

Being ahead of the curve isn’t necessarily always best. In the realm of tech, sitting back and learning from rival mistakes can sometimes be the better recipe for success.

With an eager eye on the commercial AI race unfolding between Microsoft and Alphabet (ChatGPT vs Bard), Snap is keen to avoid any costly blunders of its own as it forays into generative AI.

Amid the competition to create the best all-powerful writing machine, Snap is instead focused on something of a more recreational nature.

This week, the company announced ‘My AI,’ a new feature that provides users with a virtual friend constantly on standby when using the app. The novel idea, is that a chatbot button will be pinned above messages and a ‘fun and experimental sidekick’ can be summoned at any point.

In Snap’s early promotional material, someone asks My AI to write a haiku about their ‘cheese-obsessed friend,’ to which the bot responds: ‘Luka’s love for cheese, gouda, brie, and camembert, melts hearts, not just cheese.’ When you’ve finished holding your sides, we can move on.

The technology runs on OpenAI’s most sophisticated (and currently unreleased) version of ChatGPT, GPT-3.5. Unlike accessible demos of the language generator online, however, Snap authors have customised the software specifically for Snapchat.

While GPT has a tendency to throw out some off-the-wall responses from time to time, Snapchat authors have specifically tempered the technology to stay within trust and safety guidelines. This means steering clear of swearing, or explicit talk of violence, sex, and iffy politics.

That’s not to say our Snap AI avatars will be perfect, though. Within the showcase, Snapchat’s own avatar conceded: ‘While my AI is designed to avoid biased, incorrect, harmful, or misleading information, mistakes may occur.’

It encourages those who spot such instances to report them, provide feedback, and ultimately help to tune to model for the full-scale roll-out. We’re told to avoid red flag topics, but urged to lean on the AI for creativity, such as birthday gift ideas or creating an original chat wallpaper.

It’s an interesting take on generative language AI, and introducing it within this context could take off in a big way. Snapchat boasts an already impressive record of integrating emerging tech, effectively owning the augmented reality space, and an on demand chatbot may enrich its experience further.

Regarded as the messaging app of choice for Gen Z, Snapchat already reaches 750m people per month – 75% of whom are aged between 13 and 34. This latest endeavour may yet boost the numbers further, simultaneously adding value to its paid subscription arm, which just surpassed 2m.

If you were still doubtful, its time to accept it. AI really is the hottest property in tech right now.


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