Clyde, Discord's cartoon mascot, is getting an AI makeover. On Thursday, the popular chat platform unveiled a wide collection of new AI tools and experiments including an OpenAI-powered chatbot update.
You may not use Discord every day, or at all, but it's become a go-to destination for people looking to have group discussions about topics like gaming, pets, anime, coding, and other nerdy pursuits. According to Discord, 150 million people chat on the service each month.
It's also become a key destination for AI content creation where, according to Discord, 30M users have experienced AI apps on the platform each month.
While most people are now familiar with OpenAI's DALL-E 2 AI image generation tool, Discord users have been creating images with Midjourney's generative AI image tools for just as long. The difference in Discord, though, is the community enhancement that revolves around AI content creation.
As Discord CEO Jason Citron explained it on Tuesday, Discord provides, “AI at your fingertips, together.”
Next week, Discord rolls out the OpenAI-enhanced Clyde as a free public experiment.
Like Bing's new Chatbot, Clyde utilizes ChatGPT's large language model to engage in conversation. You invoke Clyde, opt-in to use him on your server and in your group, and can then start asking Clyde questions much in the same way as you'd converse with ChatGPT.
The difference is that because Clyde operates in Discord's chat environment, it has to be aware of group discussion dynamics. Clyde will not just pipe in and interrupt a group chat but a mention of it will allow Clyde to join in. Clyde operates like a real Discord member and can in its responses include GIFs and emojis (ChatGPT in Bing can use emojis, but not GIFs).
Clyde can look up information to settle a dispute or assist with the group project. As with everything else on Discord, admins can easily disable Clyde.
While we've seen a lot of AI chatbot abuse, Discord's Citron prefaced the announcements by reiterating how they work hard to enable all of this “in a safe and trustworthy environment.”
Other AI experiments
Beyond chat, Discord is actively spreading AI capabilities throughout the platform, with many of them launching as limited experiments next week.
To help server moderators, Discord is enhancing its AutoMod tool which already uses preset keywords to actively ban content from group chats with AI that takes proactive moderation a step further.
If, for example, you posted in your group chat that the group does not allow self-promotion or topics outside the core one, which might be sailboats, AutoMod AI could use that post to ban posts skirting those rules. It can even do it if the post is in a different language.
Discord chats are often quite active and since no one can spend 24/7 monitoring them, Discord is adding a Conversations Summary Experiment. As the name suggests, it can with a prompt read through previous Discord discussions to surface who was chatting, and the context of all the messages.
If, for example, someone at the end of a long chat asks you if you're coming to “the event on Saturday,” you can ask the AI to summarize the previous chat activity to figure out what event they were talking about – and if you want to attend.
More AI tools
We also got a sneak peek at a couple of interesting AI tools, one productivity-focused and the other mostly pure whimsy.
There's the Avatar Remix App, which will let you use a prompt to apply a generative image update to a group member's avatar. Discord showed us how it could easily add a birthday hat to one avatar image and a mustache to the other. The effect is realistic and pretty clever. Obviously, there might be some concern about image abuse here, but at least the tool is only usable on people who already opted into your group.
Discord plans to place the open-source code on GitHub so developers can fork, mix, and extend the Remix code.
There's also a powerful-looking new integrated Whiteboard with AI. It'll be the first shared, real-time whiteboard space inside of Discord. The AI integration lets you use simple sketches and text prompts to generate rich, expressive images. Discord claims it can “solve the blank canvas syndrome” many people have with these AI image-generation tools.
To try out any of these AIs, though, you need to be on Discord. That means setting up an account, joining a server, and finding or setting up your own groups. It's not hard but for the uninitiated, Discord can be overwhelming. However, these cool tools might inspire you to give it a try.