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Snapchat Unveils ‘Dreams,’ a Generative AI Twist on Selfies

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Snapchat has rolled out an intriguing new feature known as “Dreams,” which uses generative AI technology to give your selfies an imaginative makeover. While it’s a sibling of sorts to Snapchat’s renowned Augmented Reality (AR) effects, commonly called lenses, this new feature offers a different take. Instead of augmenting your camera view in real-time, “Dreams” leverages generative AI algorithms to morph your selfies into whimsical representations that present you in fresh avatars.

You can find the feature nested under the “memories” tab in the Snapchat app. It kicks off with a prompt asking users to snap selfies from various angles. The app then goes on to generate a collection of eight images that are themed around captivating concepts like “time travel” or “parallel dimensions.” Looking ahead, Snapchat has revealed that users will soon be able to incorporate their friends’ faces into these dreamy vistas.

This isn’t Snapchat’s maiden voyage into the realm of generative AI. The company previously introduced its MyAI chatbot, which is built on OpenAI’s frameworks. Unlike MyAI, however, “Dreams” employs a blend of open-source software and proprietary data. Though Snapchat remains tight-lipped about the specific collaborations involved, it’s clear the company is taking generative AI seriously.

The “Dreams” feature also serves as a window into Snapchat’s broader monetization strategy. Initially, MyAI was exclusive to Snapchat+, the premium tier of the app, before being made available to the general user base. Snapchat has since peppered the premium tier with exclusive perks, such as enabling MyAI to respond to photo Snaps with its own AI-concocted images.

Similarly, “Dreams” isn’t entirely free. While non-Snapchat+ members can take advantage of a single “pack” consisting of eight selfies, subscribers will receive a new pack every month. Snapchat says that updates with fresh themes and styles are in the pipeline. For those craving more, additional packs are up for grabs through a $0.99 in-app purchase.

In Reality, Not Quite a Dream Yet

While the generated images are fascinating, they aren’t perfect. The promotional visuals released by Snapchat displayed what seemed like awkwardly superimposed finger tips over the chest of the subject. My own experience with the feature mirrored this peculiarity; some of the selfies had odd hand placements, though they at least displayed the correct number of fingers in anatomically accurate positions.

Despite these hiccups, the “Dreams” feature holds potential to be a magnet for Snapchat users—especially given that over 10 billion messages have already been sent to MyAI. With several generative AI tools like Midjourney now hiding behind paywalls, Snapchat’s offerings might just emerge as the go-to choice for anyone keen on dabbling in generative AI.

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