Security experts talk concerns, pros to new Snapchat AI chatbot
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A new AI chatbot is causing a lot of buzz both locally and nationally. It’s receiving praise by some, while raising safety concerns by law enforcement and cybersecurity experts.
‘My AI’ from Snapchat is now free for all users, whether you want it or not, claiming to ‘make your life easier’ by answering questions and giving advice.
We tried it for ourselves, and it can feel like talking to a friend when messaging with the bot. And that’s why cybersecurity experts like Jeremy Straub are reminding you what you say in an AI chat will likely live forever.
“It’s really difficult to put the genie back in the bottle with a lot of this stuff,” Straub, who is the Director of NDSU’s Institute for Cyber Security, said. “This can be stuff that comes back to create problems for them when they’re trying to get a job. Something that somebody writes at 10 or 12 or 14 may be nothing like their views and beliefs when they’re 30.”
Straub says there are pros to AI chats, like speeding up customer service. However, he says it’s still important to have your guard up because the technology can also be used in identity theft.
“Even if you’re not giving away a birthdate or social security number, other things that may indicate what your hobbies are, your interests, types of songs you like, et cetera, these are things that are used as secondary security questions,” he said.
Experts urge parents to talk to your kids about what they’re sharing online with friends and in AI chats. And Straub emphasizes chatbots don’t truly understand what you’re talking about.
“You’re dealing with something that understands how language is used,” Straub explained. “If a young child or a teen is having a bad day and they express some concerns to the chatbot, it can potentially provide information back to them that might not help them feel better, that might help them feel worse, that could potentially even exacerbate suicidal feelings.”
While he says technology like this will only get better with time, you can still use it, just do so with caution.
Officials at Snapchat say users have to pay to get rid of the AI chatbot right now, and say the chatbot has been programmed to follow Snapchat’s community guidelines against inappropriate or harmful content.
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