Snap is making its A.I. chatbot available to all users, less than two months after introducing it as a premium feature for paying subscribers, the company said on Wednesday.
The bot, known as My AI, is powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and acts as a social companion and knowledge storehouse for Snap users.
“With My AI we’re making conversational artificial intelligence useful and enjoyable for our community while also working to establish guardrails to help keep our community safe,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said during a keynote address at the Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
My AI, a purple-skin avatar (that can be altered to blue, green, pink or green skins), can do things like suggest jokes to tell friends based on contextual evidence, recommend local activities and plug Snapchat lenses for photos and video content. For paying Snapchat Plus subscribers, My AI can also respond to users’ Snaps with its own AI-generated images. For all users it will be very prominent in the app: pinned in the chat tab, above conversations with friends.
In February, Snap first made My AI available to subscribers of Snapchat Plus, the company’s premium offering, which costs $3.99 per month. Because My AI is powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT at the time of launch, the bot existed as a more restricted version of ChatGPT. This is because the bot is designed to adhere to Snapchat’s trust and safety guidelines, as reported by the Verge. The implication is that it won’t write essays or answer sexually explicit questions, especially important as 90% of Americans age 13 to 24 are Snapchat users.
“We could be one of the best way–if not the best way–to communicate with AI,” Spiegel later remarked in a fireside conversation with tech journalist Kara Swisher, where he mentioned, among things, that he uses My AI for story-time with his children. “This technology is actually generating something totally new, not reusing or copying.”
The announcement comes as social media companies make a mad dash into AI. Salespeople at Meta have reportedly stopped pitching the metaverse and are instead brandishing the company’s AI-powered ad tools, according to the Information. TikTok, of course, powers its viral For You algorithm with artificial intelligence. YouTube is rolling out AI-based tools to lure video creators, while Google parent CEO Sundar Pichai has called for regulation in the space.
At the Partner Summit, Snap also announced a major push into creators and creator monetization as well as new augmented reality technology, communities and map capabilities.