top of page
  • Robert Farago

TikTok Tako Takeaway

TikTok's AI chatbot is here and that's not good

TikTok missed a trick. The People’s Republic of China should have named their AI chatbot Toe. TikTok Toe is a lot catchier than Tako – depending on how you pronounce it. As an Austin food truck devotee, I’m good with TikTok Taco. TikTok Take-O not so much…

As the Montana legislature would be glad to remind you, ByteDance’s app is a Commie plot to Take-Over the world. Or at least Taiwan, by maintaining weak-minded Americans’ preference for thirst traps over Pacific rim warfare. For the vindicated tinfoil hat-wearing amongst us – Wuhan lab leak! – the addition of an AI chatbot to the world’s most popular video platform is deeply worrying.

Needless to say, TikTok’s masters have poured oil over troubled conspiracy theorists. The Commies tout Tako as a way to “find new content and learn more about what’s being discussed in the clips.”

The example given: “When watching a video of King Charles’ coronation, Tako might suggest that users ask ‘What is the significance of King Charles III’s coronation?’” Presumably with the words “sweet FA.”

According to this innocuous explanation, Tako works like Google Chrome’s Monica AI chatbot extension. It sits on the side of the screen, ready to educate ignoramuses. Or, if you prefer, interpret a video’s “meaning” according to a large language model tweaked to reflect to its provider’s socio-political bias (exposed in Chat GTP is a Social Justice Warrior).

If so, I highly doubt anyone’s going to use it. TikTok’s videos are as dumbed down as a Stop sign. Yes, well, education isn’t Tako’s real mission. According to its master’s official statement, “Tako is… designed to help make it easier to discover entertaining and inspiring content on TikTok.”

Color me confused. I thought TikTok’s algorithm made finding “entertaining and inspiring content” as easy as swiping upwards with a single finger. If users want to get more content from the same source, they click on the content maker’s icon, choose another video and/or hit follow and let the algorithm feed more of the same to users’ For You feed as and when. The content curious can also use the search function.

My guess: Tako was designed to remove the need to type something into said search bar, based on a minor modification of P.T. Barnum’s wisdom: “No one ever went broke underestimating the laziness [substituting for “taste”) of the American public.” More to the point, well, my point, Tako opens the door to AI’s more insidious aspects.

Offending grammerly AI’s prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition, a Tako-laden screenshot coos “feel free to ask me anything and I’ll do my best to help you find what you’re looking for.” The offer hardly limits or indeed focuses on users looking for additional videos. “How do I get a date with the woman in this video?” is the most likely entry, but a lot of TikTok’s videos have a distinctly political bent.

To my mind, Tako is ready, willing and able to deliver Commie AI’s spin on current events and political analysis. And then there’s the report that TikTok’s fascist facilitators have gone above and beyond a didactic chatbot. They’ve developed custom AI avatars for TikTok users.

Called AI Avatars, the tool lets you upload three to 10 photos of yourself and choose from five art styles. It will then generate up to 30 separate avatars in a couple of minutes. You can then download one, several or all of the images to use as a profile picture or in stories.

How long before TikTok’s Tako is an avatar rather than a button? An avatar that’s your 24/7 comrade.

My post Chatbots Are Not Your Friend gives you the 411 on the sinister possibilities. Suffice it to say, billions of worldwide users may soon have a close personal relationship with an AI representative of the Chinese Communist Party.

Speaking of paranoia, TikTok is beta testing Tako in the Philippines. The fact that the country has an active Communist Party has nothing to with it, of course. Still, the decision to roll-out Tako in the Philippines when TikTok is available in over 150 countries is one our independent press should be investigating. But isn’t.

Meanwhile, TikTok is fighting a rearguard action in Montana, of all places. The inherent dangers of ByteDance’s Tako AI chatbot didn’t hit the media’s radar before the Big Sky ban, but it didn’t need to.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gianforte said in a statement. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Harvesting is an interesting word. The unanswered question – that will no doubt come up in court – what does/could the People’s Republic of China do with this personal information?

While I don’t foresee a Chinese invasion of the United States, I can imagine the Commies using information gleaned from TikTok users’ history and, even more potently, their BFF AI chatbot, to influence and yes, blackmail Americans.

It’s not like the PRC hasn’t done it before using humint (e.g., taking Senator Feinstein for a ride) and, presumably, continuing to do so as a I type.

All done with… wait for it… love. Call it the electronic bread and circuses strategy.

Alternatively, the TikTok Trojan horse. As the Eagles sang in Victim of Love, I could be wrong, but I’m not. No I’m not.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page