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TikTok is also making an AI chatbot, for some reason

The chatbot for now is available only for some TikTok users in the Philippines

(Illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters )
1 min

TikTok said Thursday that it has started to test its own AI chatbot called Tako, as more companies want to capitalize on the hype over new forms of artificial intelligence.

The chatbot for now is available only for some TikTok users in the Philippines, TikTok said in a tweet. People can ask the chatbot questions or ask for suggestions for videos to watch.

It’s not immediately clear how people on TikTok might use this chatbot feature. TikTok already is essentially an AI-programmed version of television, with one video scrolling after another based on TikTok’s inferences about what each individual wants to see.

A TikTok spokeswoman said the company is "always exploring new technologies that add value to our community.” She declined to elaborate further.

TikTok’s announcement shows that companies are eager to incorporate new forms of AI into their products, whether it makes sense for their users or not.

Some Snapchat users complained recently when the app put its AI chatbot in a prominent spot in the app. Even fast-food restaurants such as White Castle and Wendy’s are trying AI chatbots for ordering at drive-through windows.

TikTok’s test of an AI chatbot was noticed earlier by Watchful, an AI analysis firm.

Social media companies often test new features in a country or two before making them available more widely.

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