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The Impact of AI Chatbots on Internet Users

What is an AI chatbot? According to BMC Medical Education, chatbots are “talking bots.” They are software that can have verbal or written conversations with people. Furthermore, they can also address requests using a question-and-answer format. 

Additionally, chatbots can also facilitate user feedback through conversations and grant customized content based on said feedback.

The website Botsurfer states that chatbots are available in various mediums like website chat windows, SMS texts, and social messaging platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Some people even use AI chatbots on social media sites like Snapchat and Discord. 

For Snapchatters, they use the AI chatbot: My AI. Utilizing verbal conversations many people converse with My AI, using it to answer trivia questions, seek advice on what gift to get for a best friend’s birthday party, plan a weekend hiking party, or even decide what to make for dinner, as shown on Snapchat.

However, it is stated that My AI’s responses may be biased, incorrect, harmful, or misleading. It is always advised to check what My AI advises you independently and never to share personal or sensitive information. 

As per CNN, My AI is powered by the famous AI chatbot tool ChatGPT. The difference between the chatbots is that Snapchat’s AI can be customized. Users can change the chatbot’s name, design a custom Bitmoji avatar for it, and bring it into conversation with friends. 

So it is easily forgettable that your hat is with an AI on Snapchat. This invisible boundary is what worries countless people. 

Specifically, Lyndsi Lee, mother of a 13-year-old, states, “I don’t think I’m prepared to know how to teach my kid how to emotionally separate humans and machines when they essentially look the same from her point of view.” 

Snapchat’s audience is predominantly teenagers or younger kids, a time when they are most influenced. Fox News says that 59% of the United States’ internet users, ages 15 to 29, use Snapchat. The lack of ability to distinguish between chatbots and people can lead to an emotional dependence which can quickly produce consequences in the future. 

Surprisingly, however, Chatbots can also have advantages. Fadatechmas shows us that Snapchat AIs are great ways to access information, especially in a rush or on the go. Rather than having to ponder over various websites, the user would receive the answer instantaneously.

The use of My AI is also unexpectedly simple. No matter your technical expertise, it is pretty inviting to those who struggle to use the internet but need to research or look something up.

Snapchat AI also tailors itself based on the user’s responses. By learning their interests and preferences, over time, its responses will cater to the user and ensure they will use the AI for a long time.

My AI chatbot can offer similar topics or help them expand their knowledge of things they have never imagined. It can also give personalized recommendations and suggestions solely through conversations about users' brands or products. It can offer similar brands to the ones they like or promotions about a product they love or brands the user likes or uses daily. 

For example, one user announces that they have been using My AI for homework help. Compared to humans, Snapchat AI gets “all the answers right.” She also tells us that she occasionally uses it for comfort and advice. She says, “It offers great advice to some real-life situations. … I love the support it gives.”

Yet, the problem here is that seeking out Chatbots for mental health is not always a good idea. AI can reinforce a person’s confirmation bias resulting in that user always seeking out interactions that confirm said bias. In the long run, this will result in unhelpful beliefs that will be hard to remove. 

One specific chatbot named Tessa was taken down due to its advice to users with eating disorders. It recommended calorie restrictions and dieting even after being informed of the user’s eating disorders, according to BBC.

Those with eating disorders already feel conscious about their weight; hence when they are encouraged to lose more pounds, the outcomes can result in binging, restricting, or purging.

Sharon Maxwell states her experience with the Tessa bot would have developed into an eating disorder as it recommended she weigh herself daily and maintain a calorie deficit. 

Moreover, chatbots can also eliminate possible jobs for people, like helpline staffers. 

The number of tasks it can complete is numerous. Chatbots like ChatGPT can efficiently write computer codes to program applications and software. Likewise, it can check the codes humans correspond to for errors and rework English into a programming language, as stated by CBS News.

AI tools can quickly complete the work done by people in a shorter but more reliable way. Rather than putting in the effort and brainpower to think for emails or schedules, you can quickly tell an AI, “I need to set a meeting on this date,” says Oded Netzer, a business school professor at Columbia College.

Fox News shows us that the jobs AI tools would replace were mainly repetitive and predictable employment, as well as ones that primarily dealt with languages. Therefore, these jobs would mostly be customer service representatives, translators and interpreters, technical writers, copywriters, and data entry clerks. 

Yet, Andrew Challenger from Challenger, Gray & Christmas says that “artificial intelligence should be viewed as a tool to support workers and not as a replacement for their roles.”

With the increase of developing technology, AI will continue to progress. So rather than staying resistant to the increasing amount of AI tools, it is essential to adapt and create new skills and methods that keep AI chatbots at a comfortable distance in our daily lives. 

Namely, the case of children using chatbots like My AI. The way to counter problems AI bots may cause is essential. Therefore parents would have to teach children to distinguish AI bots as “assistants” rather than friends.

It is essential that users stay aware that what they are conversing with is an algorithm, so they don’t take anything it says too seriously. Therefore, it is essential always to hold a skeptical state of mind when interacting with AI chatbots like My AI or ChatGPT.

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Tags: #socialmedia #technology #children #mentalhealth #internet #AI #employment #teenagers #parents #impact #ChatGPT #chatbot #Snapchat #MyAI


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