Israeli artificial intelligence company Watchful Technologies said TikTok is testing an AI chatbot that can communicate with users about short videos and help them discover content.
According to Reuters, Watchful Technologies said it found the AI chatbot called “Tako” in the TikTok app on Apple’s mobile devices.
The company shared screenshots and a video showing the chatbot appearing as a ghost-shaped icon on the app interface that users can tap while watching a video to have a text conversation and get help related to the content of the video.
As for Tako, a spokesperson for TikTok said the social media platform is always exploring new technologies, “In some markets, we are testing new ways to improve search and discovery on TikTok and look forward to learning from our community”, adding “while we continue to build a platform that is safe, entertaining, inspiring creativity and leading culture.”
In April this year, it was reported that TikTok was experimenting with a generative AI tool that would allow users to create avatars.
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However, a disclosure submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office last month showed that TikTok had applied for a trademark for “Tako”, in categories including “computer software for artificially generating human language and text”.
Daniel Bucock, a researcher at Watchful Technologies, said that unlike ChatGPT, which is positioned as a general-purpose chatbot, Tako is more like a navigation assistant, mainly to encourage users to watch more videos.
“So if you ask ‘When is King Charles crowned?’ Tako will tell you the answer, but you’ll also see a TikTok video about it,” he said.
Watchful Technologies showed another example. When a user asks Tako a question, such as “How can we teach children to respect others,” the chatbot responds, summarising the advice given by TikTok users and recommending related videos.
TikTok has placed a disclaimer saying Tako is an experimental chatbot and that answers may not be accurate.
The company censors conversations with Tako for security purposes and warns users not to share private information with it.
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