Instagram is starting to let some creators make AI versions of themselves

Instagram’s new “AI Studio” will let creators make AI chatbot versions of themselves, and Meta is starting to roll it out as an “early test” in the US, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his broadcast channel on Thursday.

As part of the test, “you might start seeing AIs from your favorite creators and interest-based AIs in the coming weeks on Instagram,” according to Zuckerberg. “These will primarily show up in messaging for now, and will be clearly labeled as AI.”

Zuckerberg shared a few videos of conversations with creator-made AI chatbots as examples. From a creator’s Instagram, you can tap a “Message” button to kick off a conversation. A notice at the top says that the messages are generated by AI and “some may be inaccurate or inappropriate.” (Let’s hope Meta’s systems can prevent these creator-made AIs from saying something terrible.) Meta also includes “AI” in front of the creator’s name and, at least for now, a “beta” tag after the person’s name.

“We’ve been working closely with creators to build these so they’re helpful in answering the questions they get from their followers and can chat with people in a way that’s useful and fun,” Zuckerberg says. “It’s early days and the first beta version of these AIs so we’ll keep working on improving them, and make them available to more people soon.”

In a new interview, Zuckerberg talked more about the company’s AI strategy. He says, “We think people want to interact with lots of different people and businesses and there need to be a lot of different AIs that get created to reflect people’s different interests.” Meta wants to let creators and eventually small businesses “create an AI for themselves” to interact with their communities and customers. “We think that’s going to create a much more compelling experience and just be more dynamic and useful than just having a single thing that people use.” He also says Meta will let people make AI characters that aren’t necessarily representations of themselves.

Broadly, this is a vision the company has had for a while — Zuckerberg made similar remarks in an interview with my colleague Alex Heath last year when the company announced its Meta AI assistant and celebrity-themed chatbots. Now that the company is actually testing AI Studio, we’ll see if people really do want to chat with AI versions of their favorite creators.

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