Image credit : Analytics Insight
Less than 24 hours after Snapchat made its My AI chatbot available to all users last week, East Prairie, Missouri, resident Lyndsi Lee advised her 13-year-old daughter to avoid using the function.
According to Lee, a software firm employee, “It’s a temporary fix until I know more about it and can set some healthy boundaries and guidelines.” She is concerned about how My AI seems to young Snapchat users like her daughter.
The functionality is powered by ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot solution that can promote products, respond to customer inquiries, and have conversations with consumers. However, the Snapchat version has some significant differences: The chatbot’s name can be changed by users, and they can create a unique Bitmoji for it to use when speaking with pals.
Overall, speaking with Snapchat’s chatbot may seem less transactional than going to ChatGPT’s website. It might also be less obvious that you are speaking to a computer.
“I don’t think I’m prepared to know how to teach my kid how to emotionally separate humans and machines when they essentially look the same from her point of view,” Lee said. “I just think there is a really clear line [Snapchat] is crossing.”
Parents are not the only ones objecting to the new feature; some Snapchat users are also criticizing it on social media and in the app store due to privacy concerns, “creepy” exchanges, and the inability to remove it from their chat feed unless they subscribe to a premium plan.
Although some users may find value in the tool, the conflicting responses show the dangers businesses run when introducing new generative AI technology to their platforms, especially in firms like Snapchat, whose customers tend to be younger.
When OpenAI gave access to ChatGPT to outside companies, Snapchat was a pioneering launch partner. Many more are anticipated to follow. Snapchat has, seemingly overnight, forced some families and policymakers to consider issues that might have appeared hypothetical only a few months ago.
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a Democrat, voiced his concerns about the contacts the chatbot was having with younger users in a letter to the CEOs of Snap and other internet companies last month, weeks after My AI was made available to Snap’s subscription subscribers. He specifically referenced claims that it can provide kids advice on how to deceive to their parents.
“These examples would be disturbing for any social media platform, but they are especially troubling for Snapchat, which almost 60 percent of American teenagers use,” Bennet wrote. “Although Snap concedes My AI is ‘experimental,’ it has nevertheless rushed to enroll American kids and adolescents in its social experiment.”
In a blog post last week, the company said: “My AI is far from perfect but we’ve made a lot of progress.”
Since Snapchat’s official introduction, people have been outspoken about their concerns. One customer claimed that his interaction was “terrifying” and that the company had lied about not knowing where he was. He claimed that the chatbot correctly identified his residence as Colorado after the user lightened the dialogue.
Ariel recorded a song on what it’s like to be a chatbot with an intro, chorus, and piano chords produced by My AI for another TikTok video that has received over 1.5 million views. The chatbot allegedly denied writing the song when she sent it back, saying “I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I don’t write songs.” Ariel deemed the conversation to be “creepy.”
Others who used the program expressed worries about how it interprets, interacts with, and gathers data from images. “I took a picture… a Snapchat user posted on Facebook, “and it said ‘great shoes’ and questioned who the people [were] in the shot.
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According to Snapchat, more safeguards are being put in place to protect its users, and the company continues to develop My AI in response to community feedback. Users don’t have to interact with My AI if they don’t want to, the business added, similar to its other tools.