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Snapchat Rolled Out An AI Chatbot…Why?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used by pretty much every social media platform in existence over the years, from helping scan for content that breaks community guidelines to data collection, AI has had a massive impact on user experience.

With recent advances in AI, particularly chat platforms like ChatGPT, social media giants are clamouring to integrate AI chat features. Earlier this month, Snapchat rolled out My AI to their user base but not everyone is a fan…

What Is My AI?

Just like ChatGPT, Snapchats’ My AI is a chatbot that users can interact with conversationally, asking the bot questions, adding it to group chats and generally having fun with. My AI will appear at the top of your chat list, where your friends are listed.

The new feature, which is described by Snapchat as experimental, was first available to users with paid accounts less than two months ago but was only rolled out to everyone else earlier this month. It’s only during the last week that My AI has gained a lot of attention though, with people being disturbed that the chatbot appears to know their location.

Now, this wouldn’t be strange as Snapchat does know where you are – if you have location switched on, but multiple users are reporting that the feature can still see your location even when you are in ‘ghost mode’ (location turned off). Twitter has been flooded with screenshots of users asking the bot to recommend a service near them, then appearing to ‘lie’ that it couldn’t see their location.

Snapchat has a simple explanation for this though – after you switch your location off, My AI will still be able to see your location for some time after. They didn’t define for how long it will be able to see your location.

Other users are having fun with the bot and Snapchat has been optimistic about their latest innovation, stating they have received a lot of positive feedback.

Not everyone is convinced though and plenty of people are describing the feature as creepy and want to remove it. This morning one of the top related searches for ‘My AI’ on Google was ‘My AI remove’ and I’ve seen several friends asking for help with how to remove the chat from their friend list – people are particularly annoyed that My AI appears right at the top of your chat list, above your real human friends.

To add to the annoyance, the new feature can’t be removed from your Snap friends list – unless you have a paid account. Paid users can unpin My AI to make it go away but a premium account will set them back £3.99 a month.

Aside from My AI being prone to issues raised about other chatbots – ‘hallucinating’ responses for example, I just don’t see the value in it. It’s not helpful and from what I’ve seen so far, people are spending half an hour asking questions to amuse themselves and that’s about it. If people want to use conversational AI bots, wouldn’t they just use ChatGPT? Snapchat didn’t really have a good reason to add this new feature other than wanting to hop on a trend.

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