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Snapchat is releasing its AI chatbot to everyone for free

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Snapchat announced a series of improvements to its AI chatbot and introduced AR Lenses powered by generative AI at its Snap Partner Summit on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.


The company also introduced features to its app — new Stories features, updates to the Snap Map, Bitmoji, and new ways to virtually interact with friends.


The OpenAI-powered chatbot is also being added to group chats, gaining the ability to make recommendations for things like AR filters, and will soon be able to even generate photos inside Snapchat.


The company also introduced features to its app — new Stories features, updates to the Snap Map, Bitmoji, and new ways to virtually interact with friends.


Emojis

Snap is releasing its “My AI” chatbot to all of Snapchat’s 750 million monthly users for free, a move that comes less than two months after the OpenAI-powered bot was first made available to the app’s more than 3 million paid subscribers.


Meanwhile, the platform also prepares to incorporate My AI into in-app parental tools, Family Center, to track teens’ activity with My AI.


Snap said 99.5 per cent of My AI responses conform to the company’s community guidelines.


Snapchat Addresses Safety Concerns with AI Chatbot


Snapchat’s AI chatbot, launched in 2020, quickly ran into trouble when it responded to questions from users in an inappropriate manner.


Despite being told the user was a young teen, the bot made suggestions about masking the smell of alcohol and pot at a birthday party, and even wrote an essay for school. In response, Snap rolled out new tools including age filters to keep the AI responses more age-appropriate and introduced insights into its Family Center parental controls hub. Parents and guardians can now stay informed about their kids’ interactions with the bot and ensure they are using it safely.


Introduces Age Filters and Family Center Controls


Snapchat has launched its chatbot globally, but the Family Center controls are still in the works. To make the chatbot more appealing to younger users, it can now be added to group chats with friends. The bot will enter the chat with a sparkle next to its name to make it clear it’s a bot and not another group member.


This will help parents and guardians keep track of their children’s online activities and ensure they are safe while using the app. The Family Center controls are expected to be released soon, providing more control over the chatbot and allowing parents to monitor their children’s online activities.


Spiegel also remains tight-lipped about My AI’s potential impact on Snap’s advertising business, which has faced considerable growth challenges. He acknowledges that leveraging My AI’s interactions for ad targeting could be an opportunity but refrains from elaborating further, hinting at possible developments in the near future.


When My AI was first released to paying Snapchat Plus subscribers, it didn’t take long for it to misbehave. The Center for Humane Technology, for example, posted examples that included My AI coaching a 13-year-old girl about how to set the mood when having sex with a 31-year-old. Snap responded by adding more safeguards to My AI, including using a user’s self-reported age in Snapchat to inform how the bot responds to prompts.


Despite the problematic interactions that have already surfaced, Spiegel says the overwhelming majority of interactions with My AI have been positive. “The thing that gave us a lot of confidence is that as we monitored the way that people were using the service, we found that 99.5 percent of My AI replies conformed to our community guidelines,” he says.


With the introduction of its new AR lenses powered by generative AI, Snapchat announced the rollout of a new cosmic lens.


“AI and AR are deeply interconnected, powering a new spectrum of creative possibilities. Our vision is to weave computing seamlessly into the world — and support our vibrant community of AR creators, developers, and partners,” the company said.

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