Snapchat maker enters AI race with its own chatbot

Snap, maker of the photo-sharing app Snapchat, has released an AI-enabled chatbot, becoming the latest major tech company to roll out features powered by OpenAI’s GPT technology.

Snapchat’s My AI bot will be pinned to the top of the app’s chat tab, letting users engage directly with the AI as they would with friends on the popular photo sharing and messaging app.

Snap has warned that My AI is “prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything,”Credit:Bloomberg

Trained to display a “unique tone and personality,” My AI can be used to recommend birthday gift ideas, dinner recipes and “even write a haiku about cheese for your cheddar-obsessed pal,” the company said in a blog post on Monday.

The chatbot is available only to Snapchat Plus members, who pay $5.99 a month to subscribe in Australia. But the company plans eventually to roll it out to all of Snapchat’s 750 million monthly users.

“We believe that AI can be incredibly additive to the Snapchat experience and help foster deeper connections between friends and how they relate to the world around them,” the company said.

Large language models like OpenAI’s GPT technology have taken the tech world by storm in recent weeks, driving fierce competition among industry heavyweights like Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google.

The chatbots, which produce paragraphs of text in response to users’ questions, have attracted scrutiny for producing offensive, inaccurate, or biased answers. States like California have ramped up oversight as researchers point to the propaganda and hacking risks posed by the bots.

Snap acknowledged the issues with AI-powered chatbots. “My AI is prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything,” the company said. “Please be aware of its many deficiencies and sorry in advance!” Snap warned users to “not share any secrets” with the bot and refrain from relying on it for advice.

Snap chief Evan Spiegel told The Verge the company was well-placed to take advantage of the technology.

“The big idea is that in addition to talking to our friends and family every day, we’re going to talk to AI every day,” he said.

“And this is something we’re well positioned to do as a messaging service.”


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