Nothing gives best friend energy quite like silicon and some 1’s and 0’s. Fresh off the heels of Meta’s dystopian AI influencers modelled after real celebrities, the social networking platform Instagram is reportedly working on its own customizable artificial intelligence friends.
Code sleuth Alessandro Paluzzi tweeted screenshots of the Instagram interfaces showing the AI on Monday, as first spotted by TechCrunch. Users may soon be able to create an AI with whatever race, gender, age, and personality they want. Personalities for the “friend” include reserved, creative, enthusiastic, witty, pragmatic, and empowering, and will “inform the tone of your custom AI’s speech.” Further customizations include specific interests you can choose for your AI to be interested in, a unique name of your choosing, and an avatar seemingly created using an image generation AI.
Meta did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment on when or if the customizable AIs will be released.
The gimmick of companies using artificial intelligence to pose as a personal bestie or even a more level-headed resource for users has been proving itself naught recently. Peer-to-peer mental health app Koko decided to experiment with an artificial intelligence posing as a counselor for 4,000 of the platform’s users. Company co-founder Rob Morris told Gizmodo earlier this year that “this is going to be the future.”
Users in the role of counsellors could generate responses using Koko Bot—an application of OpenAI’s ChatGPT3—which could then be edited, sent, or rejected altogether. 30,000 messages were reportedly created using the tool which received positive responses, but Koko pulled the plug because the chatbot felt sterile. When Morris shared about the experience on Twitter (now known as X), the public backlash was insurmountable. Instagram’s customizable chatbot shows no signs of being a therapist, but it’s almost a given that some users will use it in such an intimate way.
A customizable AI chatbot is Meta’s most recent bit to chase down an ill-conceived trend that’s already beginning to trend downward along with a healthy dash of corporate cringe. Meta is seemingly pulling out all of the stops in its quest to pivot from a focus on social media to a focus on AI. Earlier this month, Meta unveiled 28 AI influencers on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp that are glorified chatbots modeled after real celebrity faces. Meta also recently revealed AI-generated stickers for Instagram and Facebook that are able to embody Elon Musk with boobs and school children holding guns.
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