TikTok confirms testing of AI chatbot “Tako” in the Philippines

Image credit: TikTok screenshot from Watchful.ai

TikTok confirms it’s testing its own AI chatbot “Tako,” which is currently undergoing limited testing with select users in the Philippines.

Artificially intelligent chatbots like ChatGPT are all the rage right now, so it’s no surprise when another tech company unveils their latest offering. tik tok has confirmed that it is in the early stages of testing its own AI chatbot called “Tako”.

The bot is undergoing limited testing in select markets including the Philippines. According to TikTok, the current version of the bot is not yet publicly available in the US, but news about the bot was first uncovered in public testing on iOS devices in the US Watchful.ai.

Tako appears on the right side of the TikTok interface, above the user profile and other buttons – prominently visible to users with access, indicating that TikTok wants you to notice and use the bot and make it an integral part of the TikTok experience make . With a tap, users can ask Tako questions about the current video or discover new content by asking for recommendations.

“Central to building the TikTok experience is being at the forefront of innovation, and we’re constantly exploring new technologies that create value for our community,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement TechCrunch. “In select markets, we’re testing new ways to advance search and discovery on TikTok, and we look forward to learning from our community as we continue to create a safe place that entertains, inspires creativity, and advances culture.”

Tako is also not allowed to appear on underage accounts – likely to mitigate backlash over the fact that TikTok announces that it will review all conversation logs with the bot for security reasons and “to improve your experience.” Of course, since these technologies are so new, it’s not uncommon for companies to log and review customer interactions to help improve bots — and presumably to ensure crime doesn’t happen.

TikTok allows users to manually delete their chats with the bot. However, it is not known if this is merely an appeasement feature and if the conversations will still be logged for access to the company site. Additionally, it needs to be clarified whether the AI ​​platform used to create Tako, developed by a third-party company and licensed to TikTok, is logging data linked to the user’s name or other personal information. Any policy on long-term data retention or privacy aspects of the project have yet to be announced.

“Behind the scenes, TikTok uses an unknown third-party AI that TikTok customized to fit its needs,” explains TechCrunch. “This change does not involve the use of internal AI technologies from TikTok or parent company ByteDance.”

While most tech companies are experimenting with AI in some form, TikTok’s chatbot aims to do more than just answer questions about a video, opening up new ways for users to view additional content within the app. With Gen Z increasingly turning to TikTok as their first place to look for information, a public launch of TikTok’s chatbot could start gobbling up Google’s lunch by encouraging younger users not to use the search engine.