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Snap Reassures Users That My AI is Not Coming to Life

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Snap Reassures Users That My AI is Not Coming to Life

No, Snapchat’s My AI chatbot hasn’t gained sentience, though it did freak a lot of people out by posting a Story this week.

As you can see in this example, the My AI profile randomly shared this strange video frame as a Story yesterday, then shortly after, the bot stopped responding to people’s questions.

That had many questioning the meaning of the single frame image. Was this a shot of a roof, maybe the roof where the My AI server lives? Was this an encoded message of some sort, designed to communicate with the outside world? Was My AI actually coming to life?

The last question really freaked people out, because many of them have had a fun time teasing and provoking the bot, in an effort to make it say controversial things.

What if it was taking notes, and now, it was coming alive?

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But it’s not, don’t stress.

Shortly after the Story was published, Snap confirmed that My AI had suffered a glitch, and that it was now back to normal.

“My AI experienced a temporary outage that’s now resolved. At this time, My AI does not have Stories feature.” 

Interesting wording. “At this time” could imply that Snap is looking to add this functionality in future, and maybe this glitch was part of an expanded test that could see My AI sharing Stories updates, maybe even unique Stories based on your queries to the bot.

Though given the responses, Snap will want to tread carefully on this front, as AI paranoia could trigger some negative reactions, which could do the opposite of endearing people to the artificial character.

Snap’s already experienced several issues with My AI, with users upset that it was automatically added to the top of their inbox, while it’s also had to implement safeguards within the chat process, after some of its responses were deemed inappropriate.

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I mean, all AI bots have the potential to go off the rails, as they’re based on web-based inputs, many of which are off the rails themselves, and if it’s being trained on random junk, it’s going to pump out at least some random rubbish itself at times. Which is why you can’t put all your faith in such tools, though the risk of sentience, at least at this stage, remains pretty low.

Generative AI tools are based on statistics and equations, so they’re not “learning” so much as they’re iterating based on the most likely combinations and inputs. That’s still impressive, especially considering the results that they can produce, but it’s not like they’re “thinking”. They’re just a better version of predictive text, which you can obviously tune to a much higher degree, but the actual outputs are of no concern, as such, for the system itself.

So My AI isn’t showing you where it lives, or where you live, or anything else, and you’re not going to wake up and see that weird purple character eyeing you from down the darkened hallway.

Probably. Not yet, at least.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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