(Bloomberg Comment) — TikTok is the latest app to jump on the AI wave.
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According to screenshots seen by Bloomberg, the social networking service is testing a chatbot called Tako that can answer questions and interact with the app’s users. When asked about the feature, a representative said it was testing „new ways to power search and discovery on TikTok” in select markets.
„We are always exploring new technologies that add value to our community,” the spokesperson said in a statement. „We look forward to learning from our community as we continue to create a safe space that inspires joy, inspires creativity and promotes culture.”
TikTok has partnered with Snap Inc., Microsoft Corp. to develop chatbots and other creative AI tools that have become the most popular technology on the Internet in recent years. And follows tech peers like Google. Taco’s testing is currently available to a limited number of employees, says Daniel Buchuk, an analyst at Watchful, which tracks app development testing for competitors.
TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., is moving into AI at a controversial time. Authorities in the US and Europe are seeking to crack down on the app amid fears the Chinese government could use the data.
For now, Tako appears as a little ghost icon at the top right of the app screen. After touching that icon, users will be taken to an instant messenger where they can ask questions. Buchuk told Bloomberg that Tako can also make content recommendations based on users’ interests and preferences.
„Taco is an experimental chatbot,” says one screenshot shared with Bloomberg. „He can answer questions and have a conversation with you.”
Despite having an in-house AI team, any information users enter into Tako is collected and shared with anonymous “third-party service providers” to provide you with answers to your questions in accordance with the feature’s privacy terms. Tako is only available to TikTok users over the age of 18, Buchuk added.
Users can opt out of their data, but are cautioned not to share personal information with the chatbot. They are also advised not to rely on the bot solely for medical, legal or financial advice, as „Tako’s opinion is AI-generated and may not be true or accurate.”
Overall, Tako will „enable TikTok to get increasingly accurate data to deliver more targeted and personalized content to individual users,” Buchuk said, adding that it „has the potential to revolutionize the way people use TikTok.”
Original Note: Testing an artificial intelligence chatbot called TiktokTako
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