Social Networks and Artificial Intelligence

Picture from Canva

Artificial Intelligence (AI) consists of the ability of a computer to implement tasks commonly performed by human beings. The recent widespread rise of applications like ChatGPT, ChatbotAI, and more made this technology even more present.

Social media already use AI-based systems, but in the near future, such interconnection is set to be even stronger. Not surprisingly, the most known social media are already testing new evolutions of integration with AI.

TikTok, for example, is testing new functionalities to provide users with a more personalised and attractive experience. Thanks to AI, they should be able to create unique profile pictures. In a Tweet released on 25 May 2023, the company said that they are “in the early stages of exploring chatbot tools with a limited test of Tako with select users in the Philippines. Tako is an AI-powered tool to help with search and discovery on TikTok”.

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, is also testing new AI functionalities. Nick Clegg, Head of global affairs at Meta, confirmed the possible release of an open-source AI model (see article published on 19 July 2023 in the Guardian). He also stated that Meta intends to apply more transparency on how the AI of the algorithms which lead to the content appearing to users work. On Instagram, they are considering integrating a Chatbot similar to ChatGPT into the messenger system to answer the users’ questions.

All these systems are under construction, and the release date has yet to be discovered. We expect these developments related to the application of AI to social media to impact the way teachers use social media for educational purposes. There are various implications of AI in social media for education, as teachers and youngsters will have to:

– Learn how algorithms work and see how it impacts our online activities;

– Develop further skills and best practices to avoid fake news or learn how to use AI to identify them;

– Develop critical thinking to understand the so-called filter bubble, e.g., we are surrounded by opinions we agree with while being sheltered from opposing perspectives.

As expected, some experts criticise such use of AI applied to social media, warning that it could lead to malicious purposes, like:

– The creation of deep fakes, that is, manipulating pictures or videos through deep generative methods. Since detecting such content is becoming extremely difficult, they may be used to spread fake news and disinformation (read more here).

– The emergence of copyright issues related to various sectors, including, for example, art and design, as AI tools may use images without the artists’ consent (read more here).

We can affirm that AI is still controversial, and many of its implications still need to be analysed. It’s OK to be cautious, but we should also keep an open mind, in the same way as we promote in our Subscribed project for the social media world applied to the educational field. By knowing it and how to use it, AI can help our lives. We can take the most and find many advantages, including in the social media and educational fields.