Surprise, Discord is partnering with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT throughout the app. There’s obviously a chatbot out there, but the company also plans to use machine learning in a handful of new and useful ways. Starting next week, the company will begin rolling out a public experiment that will enhance Clyde, the built-in bot that Discord uses to notify users of errors and respond to slash commands, with chat capabilities. Judging from the demo I showed, Discord envisions people turning to Clyde for information they would have gotten from Google in the past. For example, you might ask a chatbot for the local time where someone lives on your server to decide if it is appropriate to message them. You can summon Clyde at any time, including in private conversations between your friends, by typing Clyde.
Discord is quick to note that Clyde is programmed not to disturb you and your friends. Administrators can also disable the chatbot if they do not want the feature to be used on their server. The first time you activate Clyde, Discord will display a subscription prompt. For users concerned about privacy, Anjney Midha, head of the platform ecosystem at Discord, told Engadget that the company does not share user data with OpenAI to help the startup train its machine learning models.
Aside from Clyde, Discord is using OpenAI technology to enhance AutoMod, the automated content moderation tool that the company introduced last June. As a reminder, server administrators and moderators can configure AutoMod to automatically detect and block inappropriate messages before they are posted by creating a list of words and phrases they don’t want to see. In the nine months since it began rolling out AutoMod, Discord says the feature has blocked more than 45 million spam messages.
From now on, the tool will use large language models to interpret and apply server rules. In practice, this should make AutoMod able to detect and take action against people who try to go against community standards and expectations. In one demo, Discord showed AutoMod taking action against someone who tried to circumvent a server rule against self-promotion by writing their message in a different language. In this case, AutoMod wasn’t pre-programmed to see a specific word or phrase, but was able to use context to infer a possible offence.
According to Midha, Discord has been exploring how machine learning can improve user safety for a while. While he didn’t have early data to share about AutoMod’s new capabilities, he said the initial results are “extremely promising,” adding that he’s “never seen anything like it before.” The new and improved AutoMod to select servers is rolling out starting today.
If you’re the type who uses Discord mostly to chat with friends, chances are Clyde and AutoMod upgrades won’t dramatically change your experience with the app, especially since plenty of other apps already offer ChatGPT integration. But Discord is also using OpenAI technology to power a feature everyone should find useful: conversation summaries. If you join a large server only to immediately feel like you can’t keep up with some of its most active members, this feature promises to solve one of Discord’s longstanding weaknesses. When it hits a limited number of servers next week, the feature will start creating packets designed to give you an overview of chats you might have missed while you were away from the app. Each package will include a title, a summary of what was said, any photos shared, as well as a record of who participated. You won’t need to scroll endlessly to try to piece together something you missed.
It can feel like Discord is just another tech company in the generative AI craze, but Midha wants users to know that machine learning has been a part of Discord’s identity for a while. Each month, more than 30 million people use AI applications through the platform, and nearly 3 million servers have at least one AI experience. On GitHub, many of the machine learning projects have links to Discord servers, a fact Midha attributes to Discord being a natural place to start those conversations. With its focus on bringing friends and communities together, the company believes it has a leg up on the competition.