Snapchat MyAI raises questions about technology, trust


Snapchat rolled out a new feature giving users their own AI. Courtesy of Jill Smith

Jill Smith

Last week, many Snapchat users received a new friend on their list called MyAI. MyAI is another accessible AI that anyone can use for a multitude of purposes ranging anywhere from recipes to essay writing.

I used MyAI in the middle of an argument to verify if I was using a word for Scrabble, a friend of mine used it to form a point for their resume, and I have laughed over the 100’s of stupid conversations I have had with it. I don’t love that it sits at the top of my Snapchat feed, but if I need to pretend I am texting someone so I don’t make eye contact with a stranger, I’ve got MyAI, who I have since named Kumquat, for help.

One difference between MyAI and other AIs, like ChatGPT, is the reaction many people had to its presence. 

Conspiracy social media users were already testing its trustworthiness and posting their conversations with captions about it being creepy or it being another tool for accessing a person’s information. One of the more viral conversations I’ve seen is a person asking if MyAI has their location and being told no, but somehow it was capable of finding the nearest McDonald’s.

Although the AI did deny accessing their location, Snapchat has already had access to all of our locations since rolling out SnapMap years ago. Even though a person may not let other people view where they are, it doesn’t mean that Snapchat doesn’t have it, which also includes MyAI. MyAI is simply an extension of Snapchat, who already has access to everything when you agreed to their terms and conditions..

People have been worried about sending a picture of themselves to the tool, but the app has had years of storage with saved pictures since they started using Snapchat Memories in 2016. A person’s “My Eyes Only” is probably not as private as they think it is either. I sent a picture of myself to the AI and it thought I was a “delicious donut” until I explained it was a photo of me so it could better learn what pictures I am sending.

The lack of trust in social media companies is a fair one to have since some have been known to sell people’s personal information, such as Facebook. These AI’s are another tool that companies use to make their app the most accessible in knowledge so a person doesn’t have to go anywhere else but their app. 

While I don’t love that my new AI friend can literally hop into any chat I am having by just mentioning it with an ‘@’ symbol, MyAI is definitely a step in a new direction of technology and makes answers to questions and prompts right at the tip of everyone’s fingers. MyAI is whatever you choose to make it, so have a little fun and say hi to your new friend.