Snapchat’s new “My AI” feature brings up multiple concerns

Megan McKay, Staff writer

Within seconds of Snapchat releasing its new AI chatbot, many have expressed their concern. The new tool is titled “My AI,” which is powered by the infamous ChatGPT. The use of artificial intelligence has recently taken off as users can ask “My AI” questions and converse with it. Snapchat specifically describes the technology as “Your virtual friend on Snapchat. She’s kind, smart, and creative, and she’s always there to chat with you whenever you need someone.”

At first I was taken back by the idea of telling all your thoughts to someone that doesn’t exist; however the responses the bot comes up with are very intriguing, but the thought of our world becoming fully virtual is scary especially with this new addition. Whenever new technology comes into existence I can’t help but find myself wishing we could go back to simpler times where people interacted face to face without screens. Although, the recent technological innovations I can’t help but find fascinating, especially “My AI”.

What I find so interesting is how much information the bot knows, you can ask it almost anything you want and it will be able to generate a sufficient response but it is comforting to know that it is not perfect, there are certainly limitations and parameters that AI cannot comprehend. Overall, the chatbot has specifically received backlash not only from parents concerned about a machine influencing their child’s lives but also older Snapchat users.

The app has been getting bombarded with bad reviews and criticism over privacy concerns. It is starting to feel more like Google and other social media apps that know everything you do and say. In a way you can’t escape the technology working together to try to understand exactly who you are to meet your needs. The AI can certainly be classified as creepy in a way that it is able to come across human-like rather than a normal computer generated response like SIRI.

I personally have mixed reactions towards the new feature. It is convenient to have a quick answer just a question away but it is also concerning that younger users have access to something entirely out of their parents control. “My AI” is also impossible to get rid of on the Snapchat app unless users pay for a premium subscription. Another concern that has been brought up is the ability to change the name and personal icon to make the chat bot more human-like. Snapchat has dubbed “My AI” as experimental; however it is no secret now how much access the app has to consumers location and personal data. For example, if a Snapchat user asks the bot what their favorite sports team is, the intelligence will respond with a sports team within relative distance to their location.

I believe it is only a matter of time before the artificial intelligence being used on Snapchat is eventually integrated into our phones entirely. Soon there will be no way of escaping the new technology. Snapchat has over 363 million active daily users and over 525 million users worldwide. Everyone of these users for the most part now has the new “My AI” feature pinned at the top of their screen when they open this app. This new step taken by Snapchat could possibly have more of a lasting impact then it had imagined.

I predict that when the time comes other social media apps will follow suit and there will be no escaping this new era of communication.