Discord is adding AI to its platform in the form of ChatGPT and generative art, which will manifest as a chatbot and options to manage chats and create custom avatar profiles.
Discord plans to roll out a public ChatGPT-powered chatbot named “Clyde” beginning next week, alongside a new technology to summarize Discord chats in a sidebar, called conversation summaries. This Friday, Discord will update its AutoMod automatic moderation bot to include AI-powered moderation, examining the content of moderated chats to determine if a server’s rules are being followed. All three are considered public experiments, with updated, further rollouts to come later.
Discord also showed off early progress in two new features it hopes to add later: the ability to “remix” Discord avatars, as well as an updated real-time whiteboard feature that can take sketches and transform them into generative AI art, via a prompt.
It might seem like most applications are hurriedly adding AI to their core functions, though Discord was on the cutting edge, early on. Midjourney’s AI art generator uses Discord as its only UI, in part because Midjourney chief executive David Holz led a self-funded team and didn’t have the time or resources to invest in a UI or social media model, he said during a briefing. Discord disclosed that Midjourney has 13 million subscribers as of March 2023. Slack, a Discord rival in the productivity space, has also announced an AI-powered chatbot, and Google and Microsoft have already launched their own AI-powered search or plan to.
Discord’s first chatbot, Clyde, will eventually be available site-wide, in both public and private channels as well as direct messages, according to Prachi Gupta, Discord’s vice president of engineering. In a demonstration, Gupta showed how you’ll use Clyde: addressing it via “@clyde” in a text chat, which will open a small text prompt button. You’ll be able to ask Clyde your own private queries, or use Clyde in a public setting to provide advice and answer questions. Clyde will also have access to Discord’s tools, so it can suggest GIFs and emojis, as well. Clyde can also be disabled by a channel admin.
(Discord also showed off a partner’s work, Anthropic, which uses a similar-sounding AI chatbot called Claude.)
ChatGPT will also be used to boost Discord’s AutoMod capability. Like Clyde, AutoMod has been available for some time, filtering out obscenities and performing other filtering roles. What ChatGPT will do is allow AutoMod to interpret and apply the varied rules that admins have set out for various servers and groups, understand them, and apply them. In a demonstration, Gupta showed how a group dedicated to hamsters could flag messages that self-promoted other social media channels (a no-no, according to the group rules) as well as look for deliberate misspellings to avoid moderation bans.
Filters sometimes aren’t enough. An AI-powered AutoMod can also look at intent as a moderation tool, Gupta added. “For example… asking about the ‘leading cause of death in hamsters’ is not the same as another ill-willed user declaring ‘death to hamsters,’” she said.
The conversation summary feature looks a bit like Otter.ai’s OtterPilot, a new feature in Otter’s transcription tool that transcribes, summarizes, and annotates a meeting, with links to relevant portions. If you’ve used ChatGPT, you may also be aware that it breaks down individual conversations by topic. Discord’s new conversation summary feature does something similar, marking a shift in the conversation topic with a link to the relevant exchange.
Eventually, you’ll be able to use generative AI to produce art that can be applied to Discord. You’ll be able to “remix” your own avatar (or someone else’s, which sounds a little weird) using AI art to add a mustache, a party hat, or some other feature. You’ll also be able to use image-to-image AI art (where an image or a sketch you provide can be used as a model for something else) to take a sketch and reimagine it as a piece of AI-generated art.
Discord has 150 million users per month, chief executive Jason Citron said. “Right now we’re seeing one of the most exciting moments in technology emerging and it has the power and potential to truly transform how we learn how we communicate, how we express creativity, how we have fun with the people in our lives,” he said. “Harnessed properly, AI can fundamentally enhance and empower genuine human experience and connection. That’s why Discord is the home for AI experiences with friends.”