Snapchat is introducing a chatbot named “My AI” that will be powered by OpenAI’s latest version of ChatGPT. The goal is to make the bot available to all of Snapchat’s 750 million monthly users, but initially, it will only be available to paying Snapchat Plus subscribers. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel believes that AI chatbots will become a part of everyday life for more people, and the messaging service is well-positioned to offer this feature.
My AI is essentially a fast mobile-friendly version of ChatGPT, but it is more restricted in what it can answer. Snap’s employees have trained it to adhere to the company’s trust and safety guidelines, and it cannot give responses that include swearing, violence, sexually explicit content, or opinions about politics. It has also been stripped of functionality that has already gotten ChatGPT banned in some schools. The company plans to keep tuning My AI as more people use it and report inappropriate answers.
Unlike OpenAI’s own ChatGPT interface, Snap’s My AI is treated more like a persona. Its profile page looks like any other Snapchat user’s profile, suggesting that My AI is meant to be another friend inside of Snapchat for users to hang out with, not a search engine. This approach could save Snap some headaches, as larger language models underpinning these chatbots can confidently give wrong answers or even be emotionally manipulative and mean.
Snap is one of the first clients of OpenAI’s new enterprise tier called Foundry, which lets companies run its latest GPT-3.5 model with dedicated compute designed for large workloads. Spiegel says Snap will likely incorporate LLMs from other vendors besides OpenAI over time, and it will use the data gathered from the chatbot to inform its broader AI efforts.
My AI will likely be a boost to the company’s paid subscriber numbers in the short term, and eventually, it could open up new ways for the company to make money. However, Spiegel is cagey about his plans. Snap has a large and young user base, but its business is struggling, and My AI is seen as a major investment area for the company. Ultimately, Snap is betting on a future where we’re all talking to AI like it’s a person, and My AI is just the beginning of its generative AI plans.