Creepy Snapchat AI


Graphic by Molly Bobick

Over the years, Snapchat has come out with a lot of interesting features, but Snapchat AI has to be one of the most controversial features yet. Although it did not seem like a bad idea at first, many Snapchat users who have interacted with it find it invasive and creepy. 

A few weeks ago, Snapchat introduced a new feature called Snapchat AI, which was previously only available to Snapchat Plus subscribers. The Snapchat AI feature is a “virtual friend” for all Snapchat users to talk and interact with. The most common questions the AI asks are about what the user is doing, their plans for the weekend and other basic conversation starters. This all seems pretty normal and a way for people to feel like they are talking to someone and to be able to get information from them. Some might think of it as an online therapist, as users can talk to the AI about anything they wish and get automatic generated responses. However, this cannot replace talking or texting with humans, as the responses do not always make sense and the AI does not understand everything. Of course, even if the AI could give very human-like responses without any errors, the user would still be aware there was no one behind the screen, so the emotional connection would not be present.

Users that have interacted with the AI ask mostly simple and general questions, but it seems the AI would sometimes ask overly personal and invasive questions. This includes asking the user to be very descriptive with their plans or location. This could just be a way for the AI to ask follow-up questions and seem interested in the activities the user was planning to do, but many times the AI would ask for pictures of the place or activity, which some users see as disturbing and creepy. The AI is also able to instantly describe a snap or picture that is sent, and then in some cases, would then tell the user it is unable to see images, and that there had been a mistake. This, however, seems to be something that Snapchat has fixed, as when it is asked it responds by saying that it is able to identify pictures. Another issue some users were facing had to do with their location. Some users would ask if the AI could see their location. The AI would say it did not have any information about their location whatsoever but then would proceed to give the user directions to their nearest McDonald’s when asked.

Many people have experimented with using this AI and asking it a variety of questions, but it seems as though most casual Snapchat users will have no permanent interest in continuing to interact with Snapchat AI, and most users will most likely eventually forget about it altogether.