Last Updated on 28.05.2023

TikTok’s New Experiment: Tako, the AI Chatbot

Popular short-form video service TikTok is developing its own artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.

TikTok is testing a feature called Tako, an AI-powered chatbot designed to provide content recommendations. The Verge reported on the screenshots of this new functionality.

Tako is built as an embedded messenger within TikTok, allowing users to ask the chatbot questions on various topics. It remains unclear what data set TikTok used to train the chatbot and how extensive its functionality will be.

Differentiating the Chatbot from YouTube’s Algorithms

The extent of the chatbot’s differentiation from algorithms used by platforms like YouTube for content recommendations is still unclear. According to TikTok spokesperson Zakary D. Kizer, the chatbot is considered a “limited experiment.” Kizer added that the chatbot is currently being tested only in the Philippines. Screenshots published, however, reveal that TikTok will store conversations with Tako in unencrypted form.

Expanding into Virtual Reality (VR)

In addition to the AI trend, TikTok is also aiming to expand into the realm of virtual reality (VR). ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has been hiring developers who previously worked on virtual reality (VR) projects for Meta, an American company.

According to reports, ByteDance offers VR developers between $15,000 and $25,000 for VR projects. ByteDance’s interest in VR is linked to its own VR headset, Pico. However, Meta does not see ByteDance’s move as a threat to its business. Chris Pruett, Director of Content Ecosystem at Meta, stated that it is “beneficial” for the American company to have ByteDance sponsoring VR developers.