Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Over the past year, there has been an explosion in conversational AI assistants and chatbots. Many of the major tech companies have all released their own take on this technology, aiming to be the leader in the space, with several more coming soon. Below we will compare and contrast four of the top conversational AI systems currently available to the general public: ChatGPT, Google Bard, Bing Chat, and Claude.
Four Top Conversational AI Assistants
ChatGPT by OpenAI
Released in November 2022, ChatGPT took the world by storm and brought conversational AI assistants into the mainstream. Built by research lab OpenAI, ChatGPT is powered by their GPT-3.5 language model, which is available to anyone who creates an account with OpenAI. The company also offers an advanced version, GPT-4, which can be accessed through a premium subscription of $20/month (as of August 2023). This premium version offers access to features like 3rd party plug-ins, a code interpreter, and new feature known as “Custom Instructions”, which allows you to tell ChatGPT about yourself so that it can customize responses better. In the features highlighted below, I am only referencing the ChatGPT-3.5 model, as that is generally available.
Key features of ChatGPT:
- Extremely human-like conversational ability. Can carry on nuanced, multi-turn conversations on nearly any topic.
- Impressive knowledge and reasoning skills. Can answer follow up questions, admit knowledge gaps, and politely decline inappropriate requests.
- Customizable through training. Users can provide feedback to correct incorrect responses.
- Limited real-time knowledge. Does not have up-to-date info on current events, as the model was trained on data only up until 2021.
Unveiled in February 2023, Bard represents Google’s entry into the conversational AI assistant space. It aims to combine the breadth of knowledge available through Google’s search engine with AI conversational capabilities.
Key features of Google Bard:
- Leverages Google’s vast trove of data and search results to provide more up-to-date, real-time information compared to ChatGPT.
- Still in limited preview so full capabilities remain to be seen. Initial demos suggest it may not yet match ChatGPT for conversational eloquence.
- Google wants Bard to be an “AI co-pilot” that provides helpful information rather than unverified opinions. More constrained compared to ChatGPT’s open-domain approach.
Microsoft Bing Chat
Integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search engine in February 2023, Bing Chat uses the same large language model AI that OpenAI developed (though not the exact same model as ChatGPT).
Key features of Microsoft Bing Chat:
- Tightly coupled with search results, allowing users to have a conversation about the information they are seeking rather than just getting a list of blue links.
- Appears to be based on an older version of GPT-3, so has some limitations compared to ChatGPT. Conversations feel less smooth and natural.
- As it’s part of Bing, has access to constantly updated data, avoiding the “stale” feel of ChatGPT’s knowledge.
Microsoft Bing Chat is available for free, but works best if you use the Microsoft Edge browser and go to Bing’s website. On the top navigation bar, you will see “Chat”. Click on that and you can access the Bing Chat interface.
Claude by Anthropic
Released in March 2023, Claude was created by startup Anthropic to be an evolution beyond existing chatbots. Personally, Claude has been my go-to tool of choice in terms of conversational AI assistants.
Key features of Claude AI:
- Focuses on having honest, harmless conversations. Will admit knowledge gaps rather than make things up. Uses a technique called Constitutional AI to avoid potential harms.
- Very careful and deliberate conversational style. Will double check interpretations and refrain from providing opinions unless confident.
- Still in beta testing with limited availability. Long-term aims seem to be focused more on social than informational use cases.
While they all have conversational AI capabilities, these systems have been optimized for slightly different purposes by their creators. ChatGPT leads in eloquent, human-like conversation while Bing Chat is focused on search. Google Bard aims to combine conversation with Google’s wealth of knowledge. Claude is taking a cautious approach focused on safety. The field continues to evolve rapidly and it remains to be seen which one will become dominant. But for now users have several excellent options to experience the power of conversational AI assistants.
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