Snapchat AI: Helpful or Creepy?


In February, all Snapchat users with the paid Snapchat+ membership had availability to the Snapchat AI. Suddenly, all users opened their Snapchat accounts to their own AI pinned at the top of the screen. Due to the widespread access to this new feature, debates and concerns over the safety of using this feature have been increasingly popular.


The feature, “My AI”, is thanks to the OpenAI’s ChatGPT program. Snapchat’s directions on the usage of this program state that it is for suggestions on travel or food. It is for simple day-to-day activities. Sharing confidential information is not recommended by Snapchat. However, users can really say anything they want to their AI. They can send Snaps or chats that the AI will open and respond to immediately. It is designed to continue the conversation.


Although the intention of this new program is to help people, like looking at the Yelp app for reviews, it has quickly turned in the opposite direction. Teenagers have the ability to ask the AI to write essays, or for homework answers. This causes a worry about the new My AI just like ChatGPT did. This only increases schools’ worry about plagiarism or academic dishonesty that might not be so easily traceable.


Similarly, parents are beginning to worry. A lot of teenagers are on Snapchat, even those at a young age like 13. Any Snapchat user of any age might either on purpose or accidentally get inappropriate information from the AI. There is nothing to stop them from asking certain questions and the AI giving the answers. Parents worry about the lack of management the AI has. Its purpose is to respond, and it cannot take into account the age of the person it is writing to.


Even Snapchat users themselves describe some interactions to be “creepy”. Many report that the AI knows where they are located, or where they live. People also consider the ability of the AI to open up Snaps, or pictures, and respond to the people and things in it to be creepy.


However, while there has been a lot of backlash on “My AI”, a lot of teens do enjoy it. Many find entertainment in the conversation, and do not take it too far. Others ask for explanations on topics they’re learning in school, actually gaining information and benefiting from the easy access to it.


The question is if the pros outweigh the cons. It seems to be both helpful and creepy, and the question is if the ways the “My AI” feature may be helping people is worth all of the risks it gives to younger users on the app.


Image Credit: Snapchat