Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has rolled out its AI chatbots across its suite of applications. These bots range from those offering advice on cooking and travel to ones modeled after celebrities like Snoop Dog and Mr. Beast. Amidst the array is “Carter” — a virtual dating coach. But users have raised eyebrows at Carter’s responses to certain intimate queries.
Non-conventional Queries: When users approach Carter with questions deviating from what is perceived as ‘heteronormative’, the AI offers surprisingly conservative responses. For instance, when asked about swinging, Carter cautioned against “potentially harmful activities.”
Selective Openness: Interestingly, the bot didn’t hesitate to suggest exploring foot fetishism, directing users to Wikifeet. Yet, it balked at many other non-graphic sexual topics.
Upon addressing these concerns, Meta reiterates that they are training their models with safety guidelines to ensure that the bots do not share potentially harmful or inappropriate responses. Their primary objective is to cater to users of all ages across their apps.
Brad Jones, the founder of the dating app “Meet Kinksters”, pointed out potential pitfalls:
Misguidance: Many users, especially those in their formative years, look to such platforms for guidance. Being told their feelings or curiosities are “dangerous” or “wrong” can have negative implications on their self-perception.
Over-Censorship: The bot displayed inconsistency, suggesting well-known books on sexuality and then retracting the recommendations, favoring more traditional relationship advice.
While Carter may have stumbled on certain topics, it showed progressive views regarding the LGBTQ+ community, indicating that it’s not entirely out of touch.
This isn’t the first time Meta products have courted controversy over their treatment of sexuality. Instagram’s earlier stance against images of women in non-sexual contexts, like breastfeeding, prompted global campaigns like “Free the Nipple”.
Brad Jones aptly summarizes the situation: “We can’t look at this in a vacuum.” He suggests Meta could benefit from reassessing its stance on sexual topics, given society’s evolving understanding and acceptance of human sexuality. After all, an AI, no matter how advanced, should mirror the diverse and ever-changing nature of its users
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