Snapchat launches an AI chatbot powered by OpenAI's GPT technology

Snapchat is the latest company to get in on the AI frenzy. The company announced today that it's launching "My AI," a new chatbot running the latest version of OpenAI's GPT technology that it has customized for its users. My AI is now available as an experimental feature for Snapchat+, the social network's $3.99 a month subscription service.

The new chatbot will be pinned to the top of the Chat tab. My AI can do things like help answer a trivia question or write a haiku. My AI was trained to have a unique voice and personality that plays into its values about "friendship, learning and fun." It has also been trained to adhere to the app's trust and safety guidelines.

"My AI can recommend birthday gift ideas for your BFF, plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, suggest a recipe for dinner, or even write a haiku about cheese for your cheddar-obsessed pal," the company wrote in a blog post. "Make My AI your own by giving it a name and customizing the wallpaper for your Chat."

Snapchat notes that "as with all AI-powered chatbots," My AI can be tricked into saying just about anything. The company seems to be alluding to the mess created by Microsoft's Bing, which was recently updated with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. A week into the launch, people started posting strange and unnerving responses that they received from the search engine, after which Microsoft admitted that Bing can be provoked to respond outside of its "designed tone." Snapchat appears to be getting ahead of dealing with a similar situation with its own chatbot, noting that My AI has "many deficiencies." Snapchat even went so far as saying "sorry in advance" to users of the new chatbot.

Snapchat's new AI chatbot
Snapchat's new AI chatbot

Image Credits: Snapchat

It's worth noting that unlike Microsoft's vision with Bing, Snapchat's My AI isn't meant to act as a search engine. It's instead seen as a persona within Snapchat that you can chat with like you would with your friends.

All conversations with My AI will be stored and may be reviewed to improve the product's experience. Snapchat also says that users shouldn't share any secrets with My AI or rely on the chatbot for advice. The company says that although My AI is designed to avoid biased, incorrect, harmful or misleading information, mistakes may occur. The social network invites users to submit feedback by pressing and holding on any message from My AI.

Since its launch a few months ago, Open AI's ChatGPT has dominated the internet and become increasingly popular. As a result, AI has become an increasingly trending topic over the past few months. Given these factors, it's not surprising that Snapchat is adding an AI chatbot to its own messaging platform.

Of course, given that Snapchat caters to a young user base, the idea of safety is pretty important. Snapchat notes that the chatbot has been designed to avoid harmful or misleading topics, and won't provide responses in these circumstances.

"Our app reaches 750 million people per month, with 75% of 13- to 34-year-olds in over 20 countries," the company notes in the blog post. "Incorporating this technology into Snapchat’s messaging platform has the potential to make these interactions with AI part of what draws our community to Snapchat."

Snapchat says it believes that over time, AI can be incredibly additive to the app's experience, while also helping to foster deeper connections. In the short term, My AI may boost the company’s paid subscriber numbers, which recently surpassed the two million mark.