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TikTok launches AI Chatbot ‘Tako’ in Philippines.

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TikTok Tako
TikTok launches Tako

TikTok recently disclosed that it has submitted a trademark application for Tako.

TikTok, the popular social media platform, has announced its foray into the realm of chatbots with the introduction of “Tako.” In its preliminary stages, Tako aims to engage users in conversations about short videos and aid them in discovering captivating content. Currently, TikTok is conducting tests with a select group of users in the Philippines to evaluate Tako’s performance and gather valuable feedback.

The emergence of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a chatbot offering highly natural interactions, has spurred a race among tech companies to incorporate groundbreaking generative artificial intelligence (AI) features into their platforms. This race includes TikTok’s competitor, Snap Inc, which has integrated ChatGPT technology into its own chatbot, “My AI.”

TikTok envisions Tako as a valuable tool for users to uncover entertaining and inspiring content within the app. By engaging in conversations with Tako, users will have an interactive and personalized experience that enhances their exploration of TikTok’s vast video library.

Notably, Watchful Technologies, an Israeli-based app intelligence firm, reported the discovery of Tako in certain versions of the TikTok app on Apple Inc’s mobile devices earlier on Thursday. This finding indicates that TikTok is actively working towards implementing Tako across its user base, although specific details regarding its wider availability and timeline remain undisclosed.

Now create Avatars in TikTok.

Screenshots and a video that Watchful supplied show how prominently a chatbot is integrated into TikTok’s user interface. Users can have text-based discussions with the chatbot, which has the appearance of a ghost, and ask for help finding content while watching videos.

According to reports from American media sites in April, TikTok was testing a generative AI tool that allowed users to create avatars. ByteDance, the parent business with headquarters in China, has been said to be actively creating a sizable AI model. It is important to note that the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, does not currently offer AI chatbot features.

TikTok recently disclosed to the USPTO that it had submitted a trademark application for “TikTok Tako.”
Among the many areas covered by the application is “computer software for the artificial production of human speech and text.”

A TikTok spokeswoman explained that the social media network regularly investigates new technologies and improvements in answer to questions regarding Tako.

“In select markets, we’re testing new ways to power 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 drives culture,” the spokesperson said.

The selection of the Philippines as the testing ground for Tako, a new chatbot developed by TikTok, was not officially explained by the company. However, according to Daniel Buchuk, a diligent researcher, references to Tako were discovered by his team on certain versions of the TikTok app earlier this month. These references were found on a test version of the app running on an iOS device in the United States.

Buchuk and his team utilize computer vision and data analysis techniques to identify and replicate changes made to applications. They monitor devices across various countries; however, they were unable to determine the specific markets where TikTok was conducting its tests.

How Tako is different from ChatGPT

In contrast to ChatGPT, which is positioned as a versatile chatbot, Tako appears to function more like a navigation assistant with a primary focus on encouraging users to consume more video content, as explained by Buchuk. When a user poses a question such as, “When was King Charles’ coronation?” to Tako, the chatbot provides the answer while also displaying relevant TikTok videos for the user to explore.

Furthermore, Watchful, Buchuk’s team, demonstrated another feature of Tako. When asked a question like “How can we teach respect to children,” the chatbot responds by summarizing tips from TikTok users and also suggesting related videos to the user.

TikTok has issued a disclaimer stating that Tako is an experimental chatbot, which means that the responses provided by the chatbot may not always be accurate. The company has also announced that it will review conversations with Tako for safety purposes and has advised users not to share any private or sensitive information with the chatbot.

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