Staring at the Facebook prompt that offered to “Comment with AI”, I found myself questioning, “Has artificial intelligence made us this lazy?” This is just one of the many signs that the era of Meta AI on Facebook is upon us.

Facebook, now owned by Meta, has subtly started integrating AI into the social media experience. It’s now offering to write post comments for you, a feature that I stumbled upon when I was about to wish a friend a belated happy birthday on Facebook.

As I selected the comment space, the “Comment with AI” prompt appeared. Facebook, or should I say Meta, does a commendable job of explaining the core concepts of Generative AI. While the AI can write the comments for you, you also have the option to edit the AI’s suggestions and use it to generate something more personalized than just 'Happy Belated."

Facebook’s AI, presumably based on Meta’s Llama 2 generative model, offers a variety of AI-generated comment styles including:

  • Insightful
  • Inspirational
  • Heartfelt
  • Casual
  • Supportive
  • Bad ghost-writing

The “Comment with AI” prompt doesn’t pop up every time. After its first appearance, the AI sits quietly in the comment field as a trio of icon shapes, just to the left of the more preferable “GIF” option.

The AI-generated responses can range from terrible to weirdly insightful, depending on the subject of the image and original post, which the AI clearly reads and interprets. For my friend’s birthday, I chose “heartfelt,” but all the responses seemed unrelated to our connection and not at all in my voice.

Despite my distaste for virtually every word in that comment suggestion, I did appreciate that it added a cake emoji, something I regularly do. I’ve seen better options across a wide range of Facebook posts and appreciate that no matter where the AI starts, I can edit the comment so it makes more sense or at least seems more like it came from me.

However, this is a slippery slope. If I can’t muster the effort to come up with my own comments, why am I even on social media? Facebook’s core premise has always been about connection, not to another computer, neural network, or Skynet – but to another human, and usually someone you already know.

In recent years, I only return to Facebook to celebrate other people or just to enjoy people celebrating me on my birthday. This is not insignificant. All those comments do tend to fill up the heart. But what if people realized that your comment was composed totally or in part by an AI? It’s like letting Amazon choose the gift you’re giving to a loved one. They might like the gift, but you’ll know the truth and if they discover it, it will change how they feel about you.

Remember that phrase, “It’s the thought that counts”? It’s not supposed to be, “It’s the Artificial thought that counts.” People cherish being considered and thought about by others. Sometimes we can’t conceive that people are thinking about anything other than their own lives, but then someone reaches out on social media, with a text, or even a phone call(!), and you realize that you’ve been living rent-free in their gray matter.

You may think that Facebook offering AI-generated comments is no big deal, but I see a dark future where most Facebook users opt for the readily offered AI comments, and their actual connections to loved ones wither away.

I like AI and plan to use it in my daily life but it should not substitute for human thought and emotion. Nothing can come from the heart when it starts in silicon. So, if you’re wondering how to turn off Meta AI on Facebook or how to remove Meta AI from Instagram, remember that it’s about preserving the human connection. After all, isn’t that what social media is all about?