Snapchat is best known as a popular social media app for sending photos/videos to friends and watching bad reality shows. But starting today, Snapchat also wants to be your go-to destination for ChatGPT. Yes, that’s right — the same ChatGPT technology that caused Bing Chat to declare it wanted to be human.
Per an announcement on the Snapchat Newsroom website, ChatGPT is coming to the Snapchat app in the form of the “My AI” chatbot. My AI will appear in the Snapchat app just like any of your other friends. You’ll find My AI on the Chat page, you can view its profile, look at its avatar, etc. At a glance, My AI looks like any of your other Snapchat friends.
Unlike your real human friends, however, My AI is a chatbot powered by ChatGPT. But Snapchat doesn’t want you to think about that too much. It’s presented My AI as another Snapchat friend because that’s how it wants you to interact with it. Snapchat says that 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.”
Despite Snapchat’s special branding, My AI is essentially just a mobile version of ChatGPT tucked away in the Snapchat app. But it’s not exactly the same ChatGPT you can interact with on your desktop. According to The Verge, Snapchat has customized My AI’s responses to follow the app’s own trust and safety policies. Furthermore, none of My AI’s replies will include “swearing, violence, sexually explicit content, or opinions about dicey topics like politics.”
But even with those added restrictions in place, Snapchat is well aware of how off-the-rails ChatGPT can be coerced into becoming – and says as much in its press release:
“As with all AI-powered chatbots, My AI is prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything. Please be aware of its many deficiencies and sorry in advance!” Snapchat is saving all My AI conversations and says they “may be reviewed to improve the product experience.”
It’s also important to note that Snapchat isn’t rolling out its ChatGPT-powered My AI to everyone. While My AI is rolling out to Snapchat users today, it’s only available to those subscribed to Snapchat Plus — Snapchat’s optional $3.99 per month / $30 per year premium service. Considering ChatGPT’s Plus subscription costs $20 per month, it’s actually not a horrible value.
Snapchat says it eventually wants all Snapchat users to have access to My AI, but for now, Snapchat Plus members get the first go at it.
All of that sounds great — but why? Why is Snapchat the latest destination for ChatGPT? Per Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel, it’s all about getting people more comfortable talking with AI:
“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. And this is something we’re well positioned to do as a messaging service.”
The idea of talking to AI every day may sound ambitious at first, but when you step back and think about it, it really isn’t. Microsoft is pushing its ChatGPT-powered Bing service like crazy, Google has big plans for its Bard AI service, and Spotify recently announced new AI functionality that plays customized music for you.
Snapchat is just the latest frontier for ChatGPT, and it’d be silly to think it’s the last.
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