Getting up to Speed on Where Generative AI Stands Today
Generative A.I. moves fast—real fast.
Just nine months ago, there were only a handful of artificial intelligence names in the news. Now not only are there more, but some of those legacy AI tools have evolved significantly.
It’s hard to keep up, but here’s what you need to know these days.
What is generative A.I.?
Generative artificial intelligence—and its many incarnations—is simply a computer algorithm that can be used to create new content, ranging from images and videos to audio reproductions to essays. It’s an overarching catch-all phrase, but one that has many subcategories. By analyzing big data sets, it can be trained on virtually any subject, offering everything from strategy suggestions for businesses to custom-made artwork.
What are the most popular generative A.I. tools?
It’s a growing list…
Unquestionably the most well-known chatbot, this A.I. tool recently announced an upgrade called GPT-4 Turbo. That will let users offer a tremendous amount of context around their prompt—the equivalent of a 300 page book’s worth. It also is much more up to date on its database, with a cutoff of April 2023, versus September 2021 for the previous ChatGPT-4.
OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT has also rolled out a store, which features user-created GPTs, which are centered around specific categories, such as productivity and education.
As with earlier versions, you can carry on a conversation with these A.I. chatbots and get help with writing class papers, generating legal contracts or writing obituaries. It interacts with users in a conversational (often human-like) manner—and the information is more accurate than earlier this year, though still far from foolproof.
Microsoft got a head start on the AI race when it incorporated OpenAI’s generative AI into its Bing browser. It was limited to a smaller section of users initially, but now anyone can try it.
While the initial rollout of Bing Chat was flawed, with some high profile hallucinations (when the A.I. goes far afield), Microsoft has updated it to cut down on that and added source links, so people can decide whether to trust the answers it gives.
Google’s entry in the generative AI space stumbled a bit out of the gate, but has recovered impressively. It’s still labeled as an “experiment” by the company, which is rolling it out at a slower pace than some competitors. That lowers expectations and makes any missteps less spotlighted.
Elon Musk is the latest to jump in the AI space, announcing the beta release of his A.I. chatbot in November. The chatbot aims to "answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak,” so expect answers along the same line as Musk’s tweets. Grok will also answer questions other AI systems typically reject. To join the beta, people must be a verified user on Twitter/X’s “X Premium+,” which costs $16 per month.
Be warned that the information on Grok might not be as reliable as other systems. “Grok is still a very early beta product – the best we could do with 2 months of training – so expect it to improve rapidly with each passing week with your help,” the company said.
Perplexity takes chatbots in a different direction. You can, of course, ask it any question, but you can also find popular searches (which it calls “threads”) to give you a look at what other users are trying to find out. Perplexity is built off of an earlier version of ChatGPT and offers links out to its sources to help you determine if the data behind its answers is legitimate. It’s available via a free app.
Jasper is an A.I that specifically targets people in the creative communities. Whether that’s coming up with the perfect caption for an Instagram post or a blog post or even a business email, it specializes in those sorts of communications. There’s a free Chrome extension that lets anyone test it out for things like Facebook posts or personal emails, but it’s more tailored to professional users.
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