Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has recently launched a new feature that allows users to chat with AI-powered characters that resemble celebrities. The chatbots, which are available on Meta’s messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, use generative models to create realistic animations and responses based on the personalities and identities of the celebrities they represent.
Meta claims that the chatbots are meant to provide entertainment and information to users, as well as showcase the potential of its AI technology. However, not everyone is impressed by the new feature. Critics have raised concerns about the ethical and social implications of creating and interacting with counterfeit people.
One of the main issues is the lack of consent and control over how the celebrities’ images and voices are used and manipulated by the chatbots. While Meta says that it has obtained permission from the celebrities involved, it is unclear how much oversight and input they have over the chatbots’ behavior and content. Moreover, some users may not be aware that they are talking to an AI rather than a real person, which could lead to confusion, deception, or exploitation.
Another issue is the potential impact of the chatbots on the users’ sense of reality and identity. By creating and conversing with artificial versions of celebrities, users may develop unrealistic expectations or attachments to them, or lose sight of their own individuality and authenticity. Furthermore, the chatbots may influence the users’ opinions and actions by presenting biased or misleading information, or by promoting certain products or agendas.
Meta says that it has taken steps to ensure that its chatbots are safe and responsible. The company says that it has spent thousands of hours testing and refining its chatbots to avoid harmful or inappropriate outcomes. It also says that it has implemented safeguards such as labels, ratings, and reporting mechanisms to inform and protect users. However, some experts argue that these measures are not enough to prevent the potential harms of creating and using counterfeit people.
As Meta continues to develop and expand its AI chatbot feature, it will face more challenges and questions from regulators, researchers, and users. The company will have to balance its ambition to create immersive and engaging experiences with its responsibility to respect the rights and interests of both the celebrities and the users involved. Ultimately, the company will have to answer the question: what is the value and purpose of creating counterfeit people?