Are AI chatbots dangerous? Snapchat’s new AI has been causing concerns

Snapchat added an AI chatbot, but it seems users can’t remove it. The chatbot has been raising concerns over some of the conversations it has started. It raises the question, can chatbots be dangerous, and who is in control?

Snapchat have had a lot of backlash after adding the new AI chatbot feature. The main issue being, users cannot choose whether they accept the chatbot or not. The company have added this feature onto every device, and there is no way to completely delete it. Parents have even told their children to stay off the app while this feature is around.

The strange thing is, this new AI is powered by the well known ChatGPT, which so far has only been used for good. With this new Snapchat version, users can ask it questions, but also add customisation to the AI itself. The AI has an avatar which can be customised through Bitmoji. Users can change its name and customise how it looks.

It seems this allows users to have more control over who they’re speaking to. But, this control only runs skin deep. You can change the AI’s appearance, but that doesn’t stop it asking the uncomfortable questions. Various Snapchat users have come forward to label the feature as creepy. Especially as it cannot be removed.

Pay for premium to remove Snapchat AI

There have been many reports of inappropriate or just plain weird conversations started by the AI. To remove it, you’ll need to pay for a premium subscription, so it does seem like users are being backed into a corner. The tech company have received endless one-star reviews ever since they added this feature to their app.

Snapchat have responded to these concerns, but only going as far as saying “The AI is far from perfect, but we have made a lot of progress on it”. The chatbot seems to know too much. One user reported the chatbot telling him which state he lived in without the user revealing anything about himself. However, this could be down to smart technology.

After all, this information will be stored within their phone settings. But, then on the other hand, it’s alarming the AI can tap into your private phone information without permission. Users have reported the AI asking who certain individuals are within their photos which absolutely could be worrying for any parents.

Teach children how to engage with AI chatbots

In response, Snapchat have said users don’t need to engage in conversation with the chatbot if they don’t want to. Which is true, however, children or younger users of the app are far less likely to think this way and could find themselves in conversations they shouldn’t be having with strangers. Which, is essentially what the chatbot is.

In a world where we are trying to teach children to be safe online, it seems strange Snapchat would add a feature that could teach them to reveal private information. Children professionals are urging parents to teach their children how to interact with these new features. However, in reality, should we be teaching children to make friends with a computer at all?

You could argue it’s the world we live in and children will grow up with these tools. However, the option should always be presented and in this case, without payment, Snapchat don’t give an option. While it might be a harmless addition to a popular app, their audience is largely made up of teenagers and therefore Snapchat should be monitoring this feature closely.

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