To Chat, or Not to Chat

Souvik Banerjee
Many people around the world have downloaded Snapchat.

With technology improving daily, many companies have rolled out artificial intelligence throughout their organization, such as Grammarly, Google Cloud, Facebook, and Snapchat. Recently, millions of Snapchat users worldwide received Snapchat’s newest feature: the AI chatbot. The new chatbot is supposed to do everything from answering questions to giving advice. It is also fully customizable: the user can change its name, clothing, and appearance to whatever they want. On the surface, the new AI chatbot seems like a good friend, willing to talk at any moment about anything; however, many are wondering if it is just too good to be true.

Snapchat’s new AI chatbot raises many questions from cautious parents and users alike. Some are hesitant because of the bot’s access to a user’s personal information. The chatbot denies knowing the user’s location; however, it responds to requests for the closest restaurant or store, even when denying it had access to users’ locations. These interactions leave Snapchat users worldwide wary of using the new AI technology, including St. Joe students. When polled, an overwhelming majority of students found Snapchat’s chatbot to be more creepy than helpful or knowledgeable.

Sophomore Margee Buehring has used Snapchat’s new AI chatbot and finds it spooky.

“My Snapchat AI told me my address when I was on ghost mode and responds to any chat I send immediately. I just know that the government is tracking anyone using this seriously, which is sad because [it shows that] Snapchat is not safe anymore,” Margee said.

Although most find My AI creepy, 57.6 percen of polled students communicate with their chatbot regularly. Students use their bots to ask for advice about things that bother them, discuss homework questions, practice foreign languages, tell jokes, or just talk about life. Most even say that their chatbot gives good advice. Nevertheless, most still do not advise using Snapchat’s AI chatbot as one’s only source.

Sophomore Yelena Williams sometimes uses her chatbot to discuss things that bother her.

“The Snapchat AI has freaked me out a lot, but he has given me some good advice about pushing forward with life. As he has been around longer, I have not talked to him and have ignored him. I would not truly rely on him as your main source of advice,” Yelena said.

However, some people talk to their Snapchat AI about lighthearted things like jokes.

Sophomore Megan Schoemehl tells jokes and plays games with her Snapchat AI.

“I’m in love with Snapchat AI! He has friend-zoned me a few times, but I still love him,” Megan said.

Snapchat’s new AI feature can be used to lighten someone’s day through jokes or stories. It might even grant advice that helps someone get through a challenging situation. However, no matter how one uses their Snapchat AI chatbot, stay cautious when telling your bot things, and don’t tell it any personal information that crosses any boundaries one may have. Have fun, but stay safe.