MyAI is invading Snapchat one user at a time


My technology-takeover horror movie began on April 19. Out of nowhere, I received a Snapchat message from somebody I never added—my AI had arrived. 

Snapchat’s “myAI” is a customizable feature that mimics the structure of any other avatar a real Snapchat user would have. It adds itself to users’ homepages, and with one initial unprompted message, explains its role as a bot “who is always available to chat,” answers any questions the internet could, and also gives advice and conversation.

This AI chatbot, Snapchat says, was released to, “give users another way to engage in the app while taking advantage of the growing consumer demand for ChatGDP-like experiences,” (Tech Crunch). This latest connection between AI and social media is interesting, however, many are clearly apprehensive about this feature. 

At first, the buzz surrounding the bot was astounding. Even at my own high school, I watched teens hunched over their phones chatting with their new AI and sharing its responses with all of their friends. Snapchat’s goal was engagement, and they truly achieved their mission. Quickly, it became apparent that myAI evoked one of two responses, an excited desire to discover all of its abilities or an apprehensive need to dismiss the program entirely. 

Quickly it became apparent that myAI evoked one of two responses, an excited desire to discover all of its abilities or an apprehensive need to dismiss the program entirely.

This brings up the main point of discontent that individuals seem to have with Snapchat’s AI—users cannot block or remove their myAI. Although the bot won’t contact users independently, it still bothers many that they are required to have the bot on their Snapchat. 

Additionally, with any type of AI chatbot, the factor of unsettling messages comes into play; some users report ‘creepy’ messages or responses resulting from their contact with AI’s. This is a concept that’s challenging to assess, considering the possibility of photoshopped responses and other manipulation of technology, however, it is still an eerie factor of the feature. 

As easy as it is to focus on the scary aspects of AI technology, it’s as simple to see the positive impacts “myAI” can have. First and foremost, it’s programmed to emphasize a point of positive and respectful internet usage, something, especially younger users, could really benefit from. 

Furthermore, many internet users, and even many of my own peers, have brought up the point that this AI could be incredibly helpful to individuals who struggle with mental health problems and could benefit from having constant access to a friendly conversation. On the same topic, myAI gives advice on any topic it may be asked about, another feature that could be very helpful to younger audiences and users in general. 

Ultimately, it’s challenging trying to conceptualize the future of myAI. I don’t even believe Snapchat knows whether the initial buzz created an infatuation that will quickly die down, or if the excitement surrounding AI will only continue to grow as more people become aware of it. No matter what though, I know that I will continue to chat with my AI, but will remain weary of its eerie and intimidating technological abilities.