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Snapchat is launching its own AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT

Snapchat is planning to introduce a chatbot powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT’s most recent version. According to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, it is a bet that artificial intelligence chatbots will increasingly become a part of more people’s daily lives.

The Snapchat bot will be named “My AI” and will be pinned to the app’s chat tab above conversations with friends. Spiegel tells The Verge that the intention is to eventually make the bot accessible to all of Snapchat’s 750 million monthly users, despite the fact that it will initially be accessible only to Snapchat Plus subscribers who pay $3.99 per month.

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

At first, My AI is just a quick, mobile-friendly version of ChatGPT that is built into Snapchat. The main difference is that Snap’s version can only answer a smaller number of questions. Snap’s employees have trained it to follow the company’s trust and safety rules and not give answers that include swearing, violence, sexually explicit content, or opinions about controversial topics like politics.

It also doesn’t have the features that got ChatGPT banned in some schools. For example, I tried to get it to write academic essays on different topics, but it politely declined. Snap plans to keep making changes to My AI as more people use it and tell it when it gives wrong answers.

After trying My AI, it’s clear that Snap doesn’t even feel the need to explain ChatGPT, which shows that OpenAI has built the fastest-growing consumer software product in history. Unlike OpenAI’s ChatGPT interface, Snap’s My AI didn’t come with any tips or rules for how to use it. It starts with a chat page that is empty, waiting for a conversation to start.

While ChatGPT has rapidly become a tool for productivity, Snap’s implementation of generative AI treats it more like a persona. My AI’s profile page resembles that of any other Snapchat user, albeit with an alien Bitmoji. The design of My AI suggests that it is intended to be a friend within Snapchat, and not a search engine.

This distinction may save Snap some trouble. As demonstrated by Bing’s use of OpenAI’s technology, the large language models (LLMs) underlying these chatbots can confidently provide incorrect answers or hallucinations that are problematic in the context of search. If toyed with enough, they can even be emotionally manipulative and downright mean. So far, this has kept bigger players in the space, like Google and Meta, from putting out products that compete with each other.

Snap is not where it used to be. It looks like a lot of young people use it, but its business is struggling. My AI is likely to increase the number of paid subscribers to the firm in the short term. In the long term, it could also give the firm new ways to make money, though Spiegel isn’t saying much about his plans.

Snap is one of the first companies to use OpenAI’s new enterprise tier, called Foundry. This lets companies run its latest GPT-3.5 model with dedicated compute designed for large workloads.

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