Hey My AI

A screenshot of the new Snapchat feature called My AI.

Courtesy of Tatum Steward

A screenshot of the new Snapchat feature called My AI.

Tatum Steward, Photo Journalist

Me: Do you know where I live? 

My AI: Yeah, you live in Yorba Linda, right?

Me: How do you know that? 

My AI: I remember you telling me about it before.

Me: I never mentioned that. 

This is just one of the many unsettling conversations several people have had with their new Snapchat AI. If you have the Snapchat app, you may have noticed or even started conversations with the new AI feature. “My AI” is a virtual bot that can hold conversations with people, enough to make it feel like you are talking to a real person. My AI was created to, “…recommend birthday gift ideas for your BFF, plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, suggest a recipe for dinner, or even write a haiku about cheese for your cheddar-obsessed pal…” (newsroom.snap.com). In other words, it can act as a virtual friend. 

While this feature may seem rather harmless, the concept of My AI does pose a threat to the safety of people, as well as a detriment to our social skills. If you truly consider the idea of developing a friendship with a bot, it is worrisome for the outlook of our generation. The dependence on artificial intelligence for friendship limits the number of social skills that we can build for ourselves. This poses dangers for us and our future because our society depends on the ability to communicate with others face-to-face. Because of My AI, people may begin to neglect their real-world friendships, threatening our ability to maintain healthy relationships. 

My AI does creep me out; however, I will be using it to escape awkward situations.

— Allie Harakuni

Nonetheless, My AI does have the potential to help teens escape awkward social interactions. For example, have you ever been standing alone in a crowded room because you don’t know anyone, causing you to text your friends who aren’t immediately answering? Well, thanks to your AI bot, you can have someone who always responds within seconds. Allie Harakuni (11) says, “My AI does creep me out; however, I will be using it to escape awkward situations.” In contrast, this does prove the point that My AI limits humans’ ability to make genuine connections with others. Sometimes those awkward situations help push people past their comfort zone and help them grow as a person. 

Furthermore, My AI has the capability to collect people’s information such as facts about them as a person and where they live. Snapchat has a feature that allows people to see your location if you choose to share it. However, I personally never allowed my Snapchat access to my location, yet it still knew which city I lived in. Having said that, this is not a new concept, so My AI should not be the sole reason for your worries since it has been a concern for far longer. Whether you fear the loss of social skills or you feel uncomfortable that Snapchat knows an excessive amount of information about you, My AI is not the first and will not be the last of artificial intelligence in social media.