Ever since generative AI like ChatGPT became popular, multiple platforms have been offering AI-based features to their users. Now TikTok has been working on its own AI chatbot named “Tako” that may or may not see the light of day.
Teko is TikTok’s new AI-based chatbot
The Verge has seen screenshots of TikTok’s new AI chatbot in action. While the feature is not yet available to a wide audience, it’s currently being tested with a really small number of users. While Tako’s main idea is to help users find content they want within TikTok, it can also answer a range of random questions.
Once available, users can access Tako by tapping a new button right above the profile icon. “If I’m watching food videos and ask for a recipe I’ll get related TikTok videos for the recipe, or if I ask for good art exhibitions in Paris it’ll show videos alongside a list of suggestions in the answer,” explained Daniel Buchuk of Watchful Technologies, who had early access to Tako.
One of the screenshots shows Tako suggesting the user to ask “What is the significance of King Charles III’s coronation?” In practice, using Tako feels like talking to someone in a chat room, just like ChatGPT. However, it’s unclear whether Tako is based on a proprietary AI model from TikTok or a third party one.
TikTok doesn’t seem to have any near-term plans to release Tako to the public. The company told The Verge that the AI-powered tool is being rolled out to select users in the Philippines and is unavailable in other regions. Still, TikTok recently submitted a trademark application for “Tako,” which suggests that the company has serious plans for its AI.
Looking into the future
The platform already has a really smart algorithm for suggesting videos to users. Combined with AI, the suggestions can become even more precise. But more than that, as more people – especially teenagers – are spending more time on TikTok, having a chatbot could make it the main search engine for many internet users.
Earlier this month, Snapchat also announced a ChatGPT-powered AI in its app. And while online platforms have been competing over who has the best AI, Apple has yet to show any signs that it will have anything like this any time soon, although the company is looking for engineers who specialize in generative AI.
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