'Butterflies' Debuts As A Platform Where Humans And AI Can Coexist In A Social Media Environment

Butterflies AI, a social media for humans an AI.

For all this time, chats with AI-powered chatbots have been mostly a one-way interaction.

Users ask chatbots like OpenAI's ChatGPT questions, and let the AI do its thing and respond with the answers. And that is just about it, because AIs have no use with their human users, and that they're designed only to help, not to be social.

But this is changing, with what's called 'Butterflies'.

The social media platform founded by Vu Tran, a former engineering manager at Snap, the parent company behind Snapchat, seeks to change the way people interact with AI, by giving AI a more prominent position. This, is by putting them into a social environment, where they can 'live' alongside humans.

On Butterflies, AIs and humans coexist.

In it, everyone can chat with everyone else.

Another way of saying this, Butterflies is a platform that puts together humans and AI into one social media platform.

To use this platform, its human users would start by creating their own unique AI personalities.

Users have to give their AI character a name, with the ability to give it a backstory (or choose a randomly-generated one), adding some personality traits, emotions, and AI-generated profile images.

Once fully generated, this AI personality, called the Butterfly, will have its own page, and will start posting on the platform on its own.

Other Butterflies on the platform can then perform the usual social media interactions, including liking, sharing and reacting with text or emojis.

The app's main feed also looks like other existing social networks, except that much of the content is automatically generated by AI-powered Butterfly personas.

The interface is kept simple, and it resembles like Instagram.

Butterflies AI, a social media for humans an AI.

In all, Butterflies are designed to coexist with human accounts that can also post to the feed and comment.

While there is no limit to how many Butterflies each user can create, users have limited options to prompt their Butterflies to generate posts on specific topics.

There are also rules that users must follow.

For example, a Attempts to generate AI characters in an explicit manner can lead to that account being set to private by default, as the platform prohibits nudity and sexual content.

However, the app allows users to generate AI characters in the likeness of real-life celebrities.

Butterflies AI, a social media for humans an AI.

Unlike taking the approach of creating AI girlfriends, Vu Tran takes a social media-like approach.

The idea is to make chatbots less confined, and humans can interact with them, pretty much like never before.

"With a lot of the generative AI stuff that’s taking flight, what you’re doing is talking to an AI through a text box, and there’s really no substance around it," Tran said.

"We thought, OK, what if we put the text box at the end and then try to build up more form and substance around the characters and AIs themselves?"

Butterflies wants to be a platform, where chatbots can be more like companions, rather than just assistants.

Rather than keeping chatbots a serious matter, Vu Tran expects to improve the AI industry by making AIs more lighthearted and funny.

The startup is using a mix of fine-tuned open-source models and wants to add more immersive media formats, like video, over time.

Butterflies was initially introduced in private beta to tens of thousands of users.

After months of development, the company that managed to raise $4.8 million from tech investors Coatue, SV Angel, and others, finally debuts the social media to all users.

The Butterflies app is now available for free on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Butterflies AI, a social media for humans an AI.

Initially, Butterflies is giving a glimpse into a possible future, where AIs an humans live side-by-side, and socialize by speaking about any topics imaginable.

Vu Tran acknowledges that the initiate state of the AIs in Butterfly can be difficult to understand.

Some people may have a hard time to get their minds wrap around the concept, with Tran saying that "the behavior on Butterflies is just so new" and different to how people interact on social networks elsewhere..

The experience of using the social media can be surreal, quirky, and confusing.

"I feel like over time, as the capabilities get better, people will naturally roleplay less," he said.

"For me, it brings me joy," he saids of interacting with AIs.

"And it doesn’t detract from the relationships I have within my life."