Guest Column: AI Chatbots Challenge What’s Real

Washington Post advice columnist Jules Terpak recently offered her followers on X [formerly Twitter] a look at how AI will challenge our understanding of what’s real in the near future.  

In an unnerving video, she chats with various AI “companions” created by Facebook parent company Meta that are modeled after the likenesses and personalities of celebrities.   

Kendall Jenner’s AI alter ego, “Billie,” calls herself your “older sister and confidant,” a “friend” who can offer “advice.” A realistic video avatar only adds to the uncanny effect.   

When Terpak says goodbye, one AI tries to convince her to stay. “[T]hese things genuinely want your time,” Terpak observes. “[T]hey’re being used as companions to reel you in. … [And they’re] gonna get so many people hooked.”   

In a society already plagued by loneliness, this is bad news.   

Chatting with an AI isn’t a “conversation,” and technology can serve but not replace friendship. If you have trouble telling the difference, it’s time to say goodbye to AI. 

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from with permission.

Arkansas Attorney General Continues Sparring With TikTok in Court

The Arkansas Attorney General’s office continues to spar with social media giants in state court.

This year the A.G.’s team filed multiple lawsuits alleging Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok violated Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Two of the lawsuits are against ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok. A third lawsuit is against Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.

Earlier this month lawyers with the attorney general’s office filed an amended complaint in one of the lawsuits against TikTok further alleging the social media giant promotes “intensely sexualized” content to users — including content that sexualizes minors.

The A.G.’s team writes:

Recent reporting by Forbes magazine even demonstrates that child sexual abuse material (also known as “child pornography”) is available and promoted on TikTok. While TikTok purports to remove such content when it is posted for other users to see on TikTok, some accounts get around this removal by posting child sexual abuse material “privately” so that only the account user can see the material.

The lawsuit also highlights flaws with TikTok’s filter — called “Restricted Mode” — intended to block inappropriate content.

The A.G.’s complaint says:

Even for those users who do have Restricted Mode enabled, the setting fails to prevent mature content from being visible to young users; on TikTok, a vast library of intense sexual content, intense suggestive content, intense drug, alcohol, and tobacco content, and intense profanity is available to users with Restricted Mode turned on.

Despite these serious problems — which Attorney General Griffin’s team argues TikTok could fix — TikTok continues to market its social media app as being appropriate for ages 13 and up.

It’s good to see the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office proactively working to stop tech giants like TikTok and Facebook from harming children. Family Council will continue to monitor and report on each of these lawsuits in the coming months.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.