AI is a hot-button issue right now. Debates rage on about whether or not it’s going to dismantle society; some believe that AI will lead us to a better future, while others think it will destroy entire job markets and destabilise global economies. Whether you’re in the naysayer or the enthusiast category, it’s fair to say that it’s impossible to ignore AI, and one of the most popular and well-known names in the AI world right now is ChatGPT.
First, let’s talk a little about what ChatGPT actually is. ChatGPT itself is simply a chatbot that you can talk to; you can ask it questions, set tasks for it, and use it to augment your searches on Bing. It uses the GPT engine, which is one of many AI engines (that’s right, it has competitors!). It’s far from the only AI chatbot out there, too, so let’s take a look at some of the best ChatGPT alternatives for 2023.
Trained on Google’s proprietary LaMDA model, Bard is probably the foremost ChatGPT alternative right now, as you’d expect from one of the world’s most iconic tech companies. Unlike ChatGPT, Bard isn’t restricted to data from a specific period; instead, it uses a different type of algorithm, so you’re less likely to get out-of-date answers to your questions. Bard is still in its experimental phase right now, like a lot of AI chatbots, so you may well experience a few hallucinations or quirks in the code here and there.
A quick disclaimer: since ChatGPT is one of the first publicly available AI chatbots, many of the options on this list may not be available immediately. DeepMind Sparrow is one of these bots; created by Google’s DeepMind program, it’s being considered for a beta test sometime in 2023, but as of right now, you can’t actually talk to it. Still, when it does debut, Sparrow’s aim will be to “reduce the risk of unsafe and inappropriate answers” to questions, which many have identified as one of the most pressing issues with AI chatbots.
If you’re a researcher looking for a large-scale language model created with total transparency, Bloom is for you. It’s billed as the world’s “first multilingual LLM (large language model) trained in complete transparency”, and it’s capable of generating text in an impressive 46 languages, as well as 13 programming languages. If the closed-off nature of companies like Google and Microsoft is off-putting to you, then Bloom may well be an option you want to look into, especially if you’re in the world of academia and you’re looking for the next big innovation in your field.
If you’ve never tried an AI chatbot before, then Chatsonic is a good place to start. The tool’s ability to instantly generate factual content based on simple parameters is nothing short of astonishing; you can tell Chatsonic to compare two smartphones, for instance, and it will do so with the rigour and knowledge of any tech expert out there (although you will, of course, want to get an expert in to make sure there are no factual errors!). Elsewhere, it can generate art, help you with academic problems, and even respond to voice commands.
Trying to create a search engine that competes with Google (or even Bing) is a monumental task, but the folks at You.com think they’re up to the challenge. To that end, they’ve created YouChat, an AI chatbot that’s now seamlessly integrated into the core You.com search engine. You (no pun intended) can use this tool for smarter searches; you can elaborate on queries and ask followup questions, just like you can with ChatGPT. YouChat also cites its sources, so you can easily do followup research to ensure you’re on the right track.
At first glance, Replika very much looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The site offers 3D avatar-based characters that can talk to you just like a human friend would; they’ll commiserate with you if you’re having problems, help you with search queries, and just shoot the breeze if you want a casual conversation. Replika uses GPT-3 for its AI basis, so it’s built on the same technology as ChatGPT, but it has the added benefit of a strong visual element, which can help to anchor it and make it feel less like a detached machine.
Right now, Quora’s Poe AI tool is only available on iOS devices and desktops – it can’t yet be downloaded on Android devices, sadly – but it’s a great little chatbot that gives you access to a wide variety of different AI models, including ChatGPT and Claude. You can ask Poe pretty much any question you can think of, and it will attempt to give you a deep and complex answer. If you don’t get the answer you want from the model you’re currently using, just switch to another one and Poe will provide a different answer for you – it’s that simple!
Last but not least, here’s an AI tool that’s a bit of (hopefully) harmless fun. Character.ai is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a range of fictional characters and celebrities brought to life via the magic of artificial intelligence. You can talk to personalities like Elon Musk, Tony Stark, and, uh, Mario from Super Mario 64. We’re not entirely sure what the blocky plumber might have to say that’s particularly insightful or intelligent, but hey; using Character.ai, you can find out! Just be sure to remember that it’s all in good fun and that nothing these characters say should be taken at face value.