Discord announced a bevy of plans on Thursday to expand artificial intelligence offerings on the popular chat platform, including incorporating OpenAI’s technology into functions such as its chatbot and moderation systems.
Once considered a niche gaming voice-chat app, Discord has grown to become a hub for all sorts of conversations via text, audio and video and now counts more than 150 million users across 19 million servers, or groups organised by interest.
Millions of people already use AI apps on Discord every month, according to the company, creating content from gaming assets to collectively writing a novel, and about 10% of new users join the platform to participate in its various AI communities.
The Discord server for AI text-to-image generation, Midjourney, is the platform’s largest community with more than 13 million members.
“Harnessed properly, AI can fundamentally enhance and empower genuine human connection,” CEO Jason Citron said at a press event.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which creates human-like conversational text from a few words of prompt, and Dall-E, which generates realistic images based on a handful of words, have caught broad consumer attention over the past year. Companies have scrambled to incorporate the technology into their products even as there have been public snafus showing how it can go awry.
Discord is updating its chatbot Clyde to respond to users’ questions in real time and hold extended conversations using OpenAI technology. Users can tag Clyde in messages and it will reply to prompts, like giving the the weather or time in another country or recommending a playlist. Discord said no user messages were utilised to train the chatbot algorithms.
It’s also updating its AutoMod feature, which will use OpenAI to mine text and alert moderators when server rules may have been broken. Other enhancements are designed to improve social interactions on the platform, such as using AI-generated conversation summaries to bundle streams of messages so that users can catch up to a discussion quickly after being away.
Last year, Discord created a US$5-million fund for developers and early-stage start-ups. On Thursday, Discord announced that part of that fund will be used to launch an AI incubator and targeted at resources for developers to build AI tools on the platform
In the future, Discord may explore generative voice AI, said Anjney Midha, vice president of platform ecosystem. “Voice is completely underrated. I’m pretty confident that within some short amount of time we’ll be talking to all our favourite software and our favourite software will be talking back to us,” Midha said. He suggested that perhaps this AI use case could help schedule meetings between users.
One day, he said, AI might “take some of the friction of hanging out as friends out of our lives”. — Cecilia D’Anastasio, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP