Students review new artificial intelligence “friends”: My AI


Jacqueline Shih, Staff Writer

Entering Snapchat these days, you are welcomed by an alien-like avatar with bright blue-colored skin: My AI.

My AI, debuted last month, acts as an informative bot, therapist, and even a friend to users. I started chatting with My AI, and I’m not going to lie: I was pleasantly surprised. It responded to my simple phrases how you would expect a bot to respond. I greeted My AI and it responded like Alexa and Siri would, with “what can I help you with?”

An impartial, non-human bot to make our lives more convenient sounds great, right? However, the more I chatted with My AI, the more disturbed I became. I asked questions that I would often ask a friend such as “How are you?” My AI would respond in a human-like manner by stating “I’m doing great, thanks for asking! How about you?” Then, it asked questions such as where do I live, where do I go to school. 

I wanted to understand the amount of information My AI had on every Snapchat user. It claimed not to have such intimate information, stating “As an AI, I don’t have access to your personal information such as where you live. However, I’m happy to chat with you and answer any questions you may have!” Even so, when I asked for cafes near me, My AI happily responded with Moss Cafe and Starbucks near our school, my location at the time I asked.

Similarly, I asked My AI what it did today, and the bot responded by saying “I went to a park and read a book. What about you?,” while the day prior the bot had responded by claiming that AI was unable to do human activity. I followed up by asking what park, My AI responded by mentioning Seton Park, a park 0.4 miles from my location at the time. I then asked why in the Bronx, when My AI said the park was near its home in Brooklyn. 

My AI’s responses drastically shift from realistic and human-like to impartial and robotic. These contradicting words made me question the true transparency Snapchat claims to have on users data. Mixing the roles of a friend and a bot simply should not cross. I would not use it again and truly believe this promising feature is just a gimmick that will not stick around.