The OpenAI chatbot ChatGPT has brought in a revolution of sorts in the world of technology. There is of course the looming threat on jobs, especially those of writers and artists, but there are also concerns over the manner in which artificial intelligence (AI) is getting integrated with the daily lives of people. Despite this, there has been a marked interest in ChatGPT alternatives.
Interestingly, some of these are way better than OpenAI’s chatbot.
AI chatbots such as ChatGPT and its alternatives are neural language models based on the Transformer architecture. Simply put, such chatbots can process queries fed to them and respond in a far more structured, coherent and complete manner than ordinary chatbots. As such these AI tools can hold conversations with the user and can write code or create art among other tasks according to user input.
A poll by the publication Fishbowl indicates that around 30 per cent of professional workers have tried ChatGPT at work. Since it is free to use, more and more people are possibly flocking to the AI chatbot to help with their writing tasks or simply to ‘test’ it with intriguing, or even silly, questions and share their interactions on social media platforms.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is one of the most famous chatbots. Developed by OpenAI, which counts Elon Musk as one of its co-founders, the large language model is an advanced AI that can interact with human users in a conversational style.
It learns from interactions and processes information based on its learnings. Additionally, ChatGPT is trained on Generative Pre-Trained Transformer architecture — the neural network that lends the ‘GPT’ to its name.
Introduced in a 2017 paper titled Attention Is All You Need, the GPT is the core behind some of the highly advanced chatbots that are coming up with increasing frequency.
ChatGPT features and uses
ChatGPT is based on GPT-3.5, which is more advanced than its predecessor GPT-3. This is why ChatGPT is able to perform a very wide range of functions. Its popularity has also led Microsoft to include the chatbot in Bing.
It can do anything from writing code to fixing errors in it. Other than holding text-based conversations with human users almost like normal humans, it can recall earlier comments from the conversations in future interactions too. ChatGPT can also write poems or frame an essay on any topic the user wants.
But the system has its limitations. In fact, OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman underlined this in a tweet in December 2022.
“ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness,” he wrote.
ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness.
it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.
— Sam Altman (@sama) December 11, 2022
Even though many other AI chatbots have been around since before the November 2022 launch of ChatGPT, it is the latter — and perhaps OpenAI’s connection to Elon Musk — that has led to a surge in the popularity of chatbots that can carry an intelligent conversation that is nothing like talking to an English language speech assistant.
These alternatives to ChatGPT are not only helping in the popularity of chatbots but also increasing the reach and usability of the models. As more users join in, some of these AI chatbots may continue to learn and expand their knowledge. As such, their responses may become more refined and their ability to handle a wider range of tasks may grow.
ChatGPT alternatives redefining the AI chatbot space
Widely hailed as one of the best alternatives of ChatGPT, Chatsonic is built on the GPT-3.5 architecture. But the crucial difference between ChatGPT and Chatsonic is that the latter can access the internet.
This difference makes Chatsonic “Like ChatGPT but with Superpowers” — as its maker, Writesonic, one of the world’s best AI writing tools, describes it on its official website.
To put it simply, the advanced AI chatbot Chatsonic can give far more concrete answers to queries than ChatGPT. This is because its algorithm can browse the internet to gather the information that would be needed for a more comprehensive output.
Chatsonic is constantly integrated with Google search, which means that it is always up-to-date with information. ChatGPT, on the other hand, has limited information on events after September 2021, because the GPT-3 has been trained on data till only that period.
Moreover, Chatsonic comes with a feature called ‘Persona.’ It allows users to tailor their experience according to their needs by seemingly interacting with 16 unique AI characters including, Maths professor, interviewer, dentist and poet.
While ChatGPT is purely text-based, Chatsonic can ‘talk’ to the user like Siri and Google Assistant. It can also understand voice commands. It can also generate AI images using integrated tools, stable diffusion and DALL-E.
Chatsonic is free only up to 25 generations per day. Anything more would require users to sign-up for a premium long-form plan on Writesonic.
Character.AI is a unique ChatGPT alternative which is completely persona-driven. This means that users actually ‘speak’ to the chatbot and, in return, receive voice-based answers instead of text.
The chatbot is trained on neural language models and follows a conversational style with the users. Since voice is central to the chatbot, its personas are also very unique. It can respond in the voices of many fictional and real-life personalities, even historical people.
Users can ‘interact’ with Elon Musk, US President Joe Biden, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tony Stark and even ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle among others. The character of the AI also changes with the chosen persona. For instance, if the AI persona is Socrates, the answers would be more philosophical and calm.
Users can also create a sharable AI character of their own and define how they would sound, greet and appear using the in-built image generator.
The chatbot is free to use, but creating a user account allows the chat to continue without interruptions.
Perplexity AI is a great alternative for those looking for completely free AI platforms. There is no need to even create an account to use this chatbot.
Another area where Perplexity AI perhaps scores above the rest is in its simplicity; it has a minimalist interface, which makes it relatively easier for user interaction.
Trained on OpenAI’s API, the chatbot cites sources from where it draws the information that the user seeks. Though reviewers say that the chatbot appears to be avoiding plagiarism, its sources include Wikipedia — whose own authenticity has often been questionable due to the fact that anyone can edit articles on the platform.
Perplexity AI is completely text-based and has no persona feature, which means that there is no voice-based interaction. There is no multi-turn response rendering it unable to recollect previous responses. Its responses are, however, carefully constructed and sophisticated, quite like that of ChatGPT.
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Jasper Chat is a chatbot by AI content generation company Jasper. Though a new chatbot, it has quickly become one of the best ChatGPT alternatives in the tech space.
Like ChatGPT, Jasper Chat is also based on the GPT 3.5 platform and counts OpenAI as its partner. The company says that the chatbot has been trained in 29 languages and learned information available till mid-2021.
Jasper Chat cannot produce the most recent information like Chatsonic. But it can include Google search data if that option is selected. It is noteworthy that the chatbot is designed specifically for those in the business of marketing, advertising and the like, and not for just about anyone.
The chatbot is normally free for use, but the full set of features is unlocked for subscribers of Jasper’s Boss Mode or Business plan. The Business plan of the AI writing tool is meant for over five users as part of a team and is customisable.
Chinchilla is a DeepMind project. Its 70 billion (70B) parameter count makes it more efficient than ChatGPT, whose parameter count is between 10B and 52B.
It gives answers in just a few seconds. As such it is faster than most other AI chatbots and, despite having a much lower parameter count than Gopher (280B), has four times more data than the latter.
Research indicates that it surpasses other major AI language models such as GPT-3, Jurassic-1 and others when it comes to performing downstream tasks. As a language model, it is three times the size of GPT-3.
Chinchilla is better for those users who like a language model for reasoning capabilities, AI art, writing and search. Its pricing structure is not known. Users who intend to try Chinchilla need to contact DeepMind.
Developed by Google, Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) made headlines around the world in June 2022 after an engineer working on the AI chatbot claimed that it had gained sentience.
LaMDA is unlike other ChatGPT alternatives. It is a model that has revolutionised Natural Language Processing (NLP). It interacts through natural language input and responds in a highly contextual manner, which is both sophisticated and logical.
It can also answer follow-up questions, holding a conversation with the user that can be very structured. LaMDA has a parameter count of 137B.
(Main image credit: Andy Kelly/@askkell/Unsplash; Featured image credit: Christopher Gower/@cgower/Unsplash)