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TikTok Tests AI Chatbot Tako in the Philippines

TikTok Tests AI Chatbot Tako in the Philippines

Sarah Hardacre
TikTok announced on Twitter that it is starting to test Tako, its new AI-powered chatbot, for a limited set of users in the Philippines. TikTok tweeted that Tako will “help with search and discovery on TikTok.”

Watchful, a competitive intelligence company focused on finding and evaluating changes in some of the top mobile apps, has reviewed the new chatbot, predicting that “Tako could completely transform the way users navigate TikTok.”

A small icon shaped like a ghost now appears for those users selected for testing. This icon is on the top right-hand side of the video screen above other icons and a chat window opens when the user taps the icon. Tako will suggest prompts to help users start a conversation. Users can then add questions or comments and Tako will respond with relevant TikTok content.

TikTok has included a message to inform experimental users that AI powers the chatbot: “Tako is an experimental chatbot. It can answer questions and have conversations with you. Feedback from Tako is AI generated and may not be true or accurate.” The message goes on to inform users that TikTok will review all conversations for safety reasons and that users shouldn’t input personal information.

TikTok has advised that Tako is a third-party application, but provided no details on the third party or what data trained the model. TikTok filed a trademark application for TikTok Tako in April, which may indicate that this is just a first step. TikTok, however, tweeted, “No current plans for this beyond these early tests, but we’re excited to hear your feedback!”

Generative AI has exploded in the last few months, with Microsoft leading the pack and Google following by adding AI capabilities to its search engine. LinkedIn has also kicked off testing of text generation tools for its LinkedIn Premium users.

Policy makers are also trying to catch up with the exponential growth in the industry. In the US, a number of leaders from high tech companies have appeared before congress, and in Europe, the first draft of new legislation is being reviewed.

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