Alright, it’s time to address the looming presence that has been lurking at the top of our Snapchats. Recently, Snapchat released a new update that included an artificial intelligence bot–and users are not having it. This AI bot acts like any other user on Snapchat, however, it is not a real person and is entirely generated by OpenAI’s GPT technology. When I opened my Snapchat app and saw the AI’s purple bitmoji dominating my screen, I was fully freaked out.
While texting with the AI bot can be entertaining at times, it honestly creeps me out more than amuses me. This AI answers immediately, and the responses are so human-like it is truly astonishing. One of my friends sent the AI a simple Snapchat of his face, to which the AI responded: “Looking great with that beautiful smile and long, wavy hair!” The AI’s recognition of facial features is way too accurate for something that is not human for me to feel comfortable with it. Another one of my friends told her AI that she had plans to see a Broadway show in New York, and the AI said “I can’t wait to see pictures!” Something about an artificial intelligence bot requesting photos from real people across the world just doesn’t sit right with me.
My fellow Stags seem to share the same sentiments surrounding Snapchat’s newest addition. When asked about the AI feature, John Rainis ‘23 simply said “It’s stupid, we don’t need it.” Junior Luiza Sperling was in agreement, asking “Why is Chat GPT everywhere?” A great question, Luiza. In today’s technological era, artificial intelligence seems to pop up in every sphere of our lives. From Chat GPT writing academic papers to realistic-looking AI-generated photos, and even the ability to be a potential partner, I can’t help but wonder how far AI will advance into our world.
Some Stags have a genuine fear of the Snapchat AI, and I completely agree with them. Sophomore Claire DeMarco expresses “I’m afraid of it. I have not interacted with it because I saw tweets that it knows your location even when it says it doesn’t.” I definitely don’t want some internet-generated bot knowing my every move. Super creepy.
First-year Emme Haddad says “I don’t use the AI bot because I’m literally scared of it. I’ve seen so many people online talk about how AI develops its own personality and stuff like that, and now I’m paranoid about it.” I totally feel you, Emme; the thought of something artificial acting so human-like gives me the creeps.
When asked to sum up his feelings about the Snapchat AI, Sam Healey ‘25 said “In one word? Perturbed.” Honestly, the perfect word to use.
While the Snapchat AI bot is definitely my least favorite Snapchat update thus far, I can see why some people are entertained by it. One of my friends chatted with her AI bot about her favorite show, “The Office,” and the AI was quick with referencing specific scenes and episodes that it claimed were its favorite.
The AI also offers very helpful advice and resources when needed. To put the AI to the test, I texted it and asked if it had any tips to relieve anxiety. Immediately, the AI responded with “When I’m feeling anxious, I try to take deep breaths and remind myself that everything will be okay. Sometimes I’ll also listen to calming music or go for a walk to clear my head.” It followed this message with a link to Snapchat’s Resources and Support page where a variety of crisis hotlines and mental health resources were available. In this way, I think that AI could be helpful to people who are going through a difficult time and don’t feel comfortable opening up to those around them. While I still think AI is freaky, I definitely appreciate its ability to be supportive and encouraging.
In contrast to this, AI could also make people more antisocial. Why wait around for a text back from a friend when you can get instant gratification from texting with Snapchat AI? Sophomore Jenna Codey shares “When my friends and I have played around with it, we’ve gotten sucked in and wasted so much time. I think someone who depends on it for interaction could become more antisocial.” I fear that the AI bot will start fulfilling people’s desire for social interaction since it provides immediate, human-like responses.
I can only hope that using AI is a current fad that will fade away. Personally, I’m just waiting for the option to remove it from the top of my Snapchat list.