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AI-powered sticker creation could soon empower WhatsApp users

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WhatsApp could soon have the capability to generate stickers from text. Photo by Amin Moshrefi - Unsplash.

By: Prof. Ts. Dr. Manjit Singh Sidhu

Similar to platforms such as OpenAI’s DALL-E, WhatsApp is said to be in the process of experimenting with an innovative AI capability. This feature would enable users to create personalized stickers by providing instructions in text format.

Prof. Ts. Dr. Manjit Singh Sidhu

A fresh wave of transformation is sweeping through the technology industry. Major tech giants including Google and Microsoft are actively crafting various AI models and functionalities to enhance their platforms. Meta, led by Mark Zuckerberg, is also staying at the forefront of this movement. There are reports that the company is gearing up to introduce an additional AI feature to WhatsApp, while simultaneously focusing on several machine learning and artificial intelligence projects.

Reports indicate that the Meta instant messaging application is currently in the process of testing a novel AI capability. This feature will empower users to craft personalized stickers through text-based commands. The envisioned functionality of this feature is akin to the capabilities seen in prevailing generative AI models like DALL-E or Midjourney.

In line with this development, it has been disclosed that WhatsApp, in its version 2.23.17.14, is actively distributing this new AI feature among selected participants enrolled in the Android WhatsApp beta program. Once the testing phase concludes, and the feature is ready for wider use, users will encounter a prompt within their sticker panel, notifying them of this innovative option. Furthermore, a dedicated button will be present, enabling users to seamlessly generate these customized stickers.

The operational process of the new AI feature is depicted through a screenshot on the website. To initiate the feature, users are required to tap a designated button which triggers the generation of AI-generated stickers. Once activated, users input a prompt of their choice, such as “a lion wearing a hat” or “a bear playing guitar.” Subsequently, WhatsApp will generate a selection of stickers closely aligned with the provided prompt. These generated options can be effortlessly incorporated into the ongoing conversation by users who can simply tap on their preferred sticker.

Furthermore, the recipients of these stickers will have the ability to distinguish those created by the AI-powered feature. This distinction could be achieved through an alternative watermark, resembling the Bing label that Microsoft appends to images. As this feature becomes universally accessible, its availability will become evident to all users.

As outlined in the report, it is stated that Meta will employ secure software to generate the AI-powered stickers. Nonetheless, the specific generative AI model harnessed by WhatsApp for this feature remains undisclosed. The functionality of this feature holds promise, enabling users to craft uncomplicated and personalized visuals that can be shared as stickers with their contacts or groups on WhatsApp, thereby imparting a unique touch to their conversations.

When addressing user privacy, it’s worth considering that certain individuals may exploit AI technology to produce stickers that are offensive or detrimental. As a proactive measure, WhatsApp plans to furnish users with the ability to flag such stickers for review. Furthermore, the precise

extent of supplementary security protocols that the platform will provide has not yet been revealed at this juncture.

In brief, WhatsApp is working on a fresh Generative-AI feature designed for Stickers. This functionality is presently being introduced to a limited group of participants in the Android WhatsApp beta program. Once the feature becomes accessible to all users, a notification will appear within their sticker panel, providing information about the newly integrated AI option.

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The author is a Professor at the College of Computing and Informatics, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), Fellow of the British Computer Society, Chartered IT Professional, Fellow of the Malaysian Scientific Association, Senior IEEE member and Professional Technologist MBOT Malaysia. He may be reached at manjit@uniten.edu.my

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