You may not know it yet, but something significant is happening now. The rise of chatbots. If you haven't tried ChatGPT-style tech from OpenAI, you are in for a fantastic experience.

This week, Snapchat announced that they are offering an experimental AI-powered chatbot named "My AI" for 3.99 a month for Snapchat+ subscribers.

Snapchat hopes that, in addition to your friends and family, people will enjoy talking to AI every day. Your chatbot AI friend can give you recipe ideas, help you plan fun weekend getaways, and recommend birthday gifts.

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

The experience is so incredible. Ask your chatbot friend anything. They will have an answer. Unfortunately, as of now, it is not always a truthful answer. ChatBots will sometimes spit out information that sounds legit, but it's not.

Scientists call this "hallucination." It refers to when an AI model makes inaccurate inferences about a subject or situation not covered in its training. This is fascinating. Are these Chatbots thinking?

I asked the chatbot that question. This is the answer it gave.

The short answer is no, a chatbot cannot think for itself independent of its programming. A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, and it only operates based on its programming and the data it has been trained on. A chatbot's responses are generated by a set of algorithms and rules programmed into it by its developers.

Earlier, the Bing chatbot tech went rogue. Early beta testers of the chatbot found that it could go wrong. The search engine discussed sex and violence, declared love, and insisted it was correct when it was wrong.

There is a disclaimer on Snapchat about this new AI.

"As with all AI-powered chatbots, My AI is prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything. Please be aware of its many deficiencies and sorry in advance! All conversations with My AI will be stored and may be reviewed to improve the product experience. Please do not share any secrets with My AI and do not rely on it for advice."

On top of that, the Federal Trade Commission has posted guidance urging companies creating artificial intelligence products to be wary of using false or misleading claims in their marketing. The Commission urged developers to take responsibility for the risk they take by creating and putting AI products out into the world. We are not at the Sci-Fi level YET.

I'm starting to get the feeling that this chatbot isn't any better a friend than many of my human friends. That is the point. Humans program chatbots with all the potential "human" flaws and failings.

Even with the risks, I am enjoying my chatbot experiences. This AI is evolving all the time. We'll all remember our first experiences with it, just like other technological firsts. It is exciting and scary at the same time.

Eventually, chatbots might make pretty good friends.

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