Is anybody else disappointed at the lack of interesting and innovative generative AI tools being rolled out by social apps?
Generative AI is being hailed as a milestone accomplishment, a turning point in tech, and something that is set to revolutionize entire industries.
Yet, social media apps have thus far struggled to expand beyond visual effects and chatbots, with the latter also running somewhat counter to the whole concept of “social” media, Right?
Regardless, it is what we are getting, with Instagram soon to become the latest app to integrate its own AI chatbot option.
There is a slight twist in this case, being that the bots will be available in different personas so that you can customize your artificial engagement.
And they are likely coming this week. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Meta’s AI chatbots look set to be one of the showcase elements of Meta’s “Connect” conference, being held in Menlo Park in California on Wednesday.
What does WSJ says about it?
“Meta Platforms is planning to release artificial intelligence chatbots as soon as this week with distinct personalities across its social-media apps as a way to attract young users, according to people familiar with the matter.”
How attractive they will actually be to young users remains to be seen, but Meta is apparently of the belief that chatbots which answer back in character will be a cool novelty that will drive more take up and interest.
The plan has actually been in work in progress for some time, with reverse engineers uncovering details relating to Meta’s AI personas in the back-end code of Instagram back in July.
What does app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi says about it?
According to App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Meta’s AI chatbots are set to have up to 30 different personalities to choose from. So, you can engage with a bot that talks like a surfer dude, or Iron Man’s AI named Jarvis, as a more fun way to interact.
WSJ further states that other Meta chatbot personalities will include a “sassy robot” persona.
It will provide answers in a similar delivery style to Bender from the cartoon series “Futurama”, while another will be “Alvin the Alien”.
It seems mistily modeled on “Marvin the Martian” from Bugs Bunny cartoons.
What is Chatbot Creation Tool?
These are just a few of the several personalities Meta is planning to include. While, it is also planning to build a chatbot creation tool, so that celebrities, and maybe even regular people at some stage, can create a chatbot in their own persona and delivery style.
It seems completely safe and free of risk. By creating automated bots that can provide answers that sound like a celebrity totally won’t lead to people re-sharing those quotes, and trying to palm them off as being legitimate statements. It should be fine.
Again, Meta has been working on this for months, and is even looking to extend bots to more specialized and dedicated areas, like coding for example, via custom LLMs that are aligned with specific use cases.
And while that is definitely a big area of potential, you cannot see character-aligned bots being a big winner, and driving any significant engagement in its apps.
What is ChatShitGPT?
While it is an interesting novelty, it wears off pretty quick. There are actually several bots already available along these lines, like “ChatShitGPT”. It provides semi-abusive replies to your questions via WhatsApp.
It is funny, and entertaining to go back to every now and then. But it is not like it changes the process.
And while getting jokey answers is a humorous thing to show off to friends, really, the value of chatbots is in providing actual answers to your actual queries, and getting those responses in the stylings of historical figures or wrestlers just is not that additive, or engaging.
But maybe this is actually the point. Maybe, by getting people to share examples of these responses with friends, it will help a lot in raising awareness of Meta’s chatbot tools more broadly. and get more people using them, simply by making them aware that they exist.
Maybe, in this sense, the personas element is just a vehicle to get people talking, and that will eventually lead to more AI chatbot usage in its apps, as opposed to people opening up the separate ChatGPT app for the same.
What more Meta is working on?
Meta is also building its own LLM to compete with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, and maybe this is a means to raise awareness of its own advancing AI tools, in order to keep people in its apps, as opposed to drifting off to others.
In that sense, it could actually be a very clever play. Snapchat, for example, drives significant usage through sharing of its AR Lenses, and people then coming to the app to try them out for themselves.
Maybe, this is more of a promotional tool than anything, and Meta is simply looking to boost awareness through these gimmicky bots.
Whatever the reason, it is indeed a gimmick, and gimmicks are generally short-lived. Meta knows this, of course, and it would surprise me, in this context, if it really saw these chatbot personas as a long-term driver of engagement.
But then again, maybe there is also more to it than it meets the eye. We will find out, with Meta set to announce the chatbots at its Connect conference this week.
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