As of late, tech news has predominantly revolved around emerging AI tools like ChatGPT. That’s because, in the span of only a few years, we’ve gone from having computer programs like AlphaGo that use machine learning to do only one task really well to being able to create tools like ChatGPT that can do a large number of tasks about as well as a human can.
And while that sounds scary, it really isn’t! Yes, the speed and span of AI progress has taken the mainstream media by surprise, but many in tech saw this coming years ago. In fact, researchers have been working on AI tools for decades and have published many AI tools that consumers can use today for free! So, let’s explore those right now!
But first, let’s take a step back. I’m sure we’ve all heard of ChatGPT, but do you really know what it is? If you’re a tech veteran, feel free to skip to exciting alternatives down below. For the rest of us mere mortals though, read on to learn all about what ChatGPT is—and isn’t!
What is ChatGPT?
Other than being the subject of a million different tweets, YouTube videos, and news segments (we’ve had a few posts about ChatGPT recently on our blog), ChatGPT is also a powerful tool. It’s what researchers call a “large language model,” and is a machine learning algorithm (i.e. computer program) that is able to understand natural language inputs and generate human-like responses.
Limitations of ChatGPT
Spoiler alert: ChatGPT isn’t able to do everything. Yes, it’s a powerful tool, but it won’t be replacing human jobs anytime soon and just like with every tool you use, you should know its exact limitations. ChatGPT’s drawbacks are a lack of common sense, an inability to reason, a limited domain expertise, and biases in training data.
Lack of common sense: ChatGPT generates responses based on patterns it found in its training data, but it lacks what we consider to be an “understanding” of the real world. It may generate responses that are technically correct but not useful in practical situations.
Inability to reason: ChatGPT isn’t capable of thinking critically. It can generate responses based on patterns, but it can’t comprehend logic behind a question and generate a response based on that understanding.
Limited domain expertise: while ChatGPT was trained on an incredibly vast array of data, it may not have expertise in specific domains. It’s capable of answering basic questions in just about any field, but may be ineffective at any questions that require more than a surface-level understanding of a problem.
Biases in training data: the training data used to train ChatGPT certainly contains biases and inaccuracies. By no fault of its own, ChatGPT can and will provide the user with inaccurate answers because of an inaccurate training set.
What if I want to use ChatGPT, but its servers are full?
Sometimes, when you try to sign up for ChatGPT, you may get an error message saying something along the lines of, “Sorry, but our servers are at capacity right now.” We’re here to tell you not to worry! Take a breath! There are a number of cool alternatives to ChatGPT available for you to try.
Chat LLM Streaming
You’ve probably never heard of this one: Chat LLM Streaming doesn’t have the same big budget as ChatGPT or some of the other offerings we’re highlighting below, but what it does have is a grand goal: to keep AI free. It’s a no-frills offering that does not require any referrals, does not require you to sign-in, and does not have a waitlist that you need to hop on before you use it. Sure, it’s not flashy, but if you want a large language model similar to ChatGPT that you can use at this exact moment, then Chat LLM Streaming may just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Every big tech company is vying for a spot at the AI table. To nobody’s surprise, Google’s trying to get into the game, too. If you have a Google account, you can sign up for Bard today! And if you don’t, then what are you waiting for? It’s free!
Bard, just like ChatGPT, is a conversational AI tool that can be used by anyone. But, unlike the free version of ChatGPT available to most users, Google Bard can browse the internet and use real-time data to generate answers about any topic, no matter how recent.
Bing with AI
You may not have known this, but Microsoft is a major backer of ChatGPT. It’s no surprise, then, that they are quickly trying to integrate their search engine, Bing, with ChatGPT 4.0. If you have a Microsoft account, all you have to do is download the Edge browser and you’ll be able to try a feature called “conversational search” on Bing. Conversational search isn’t exactly the same as what you get with vanilla ChatGPT, but in many ways it’s better: Bing with AI uses current data to provide answers to any questions you could search for.
What if I want to use a different kind of AI tool?
What can we use AI for? Well, not just chat bots, that’s for sure! If you’re looking to enhance your productivity in different ways, you should look no further than GitHub Pilot, DALL-E, or Soundraw. Let’s learn more about each of these tools below.
Maybe the biggest addition to a software engineer’s toolset since the creation of the IDE, GitHub Copilot is an AI pair programmer that offers suggestions as you code. GitHub Pilot can help you save time and effort when developing a new idea by taking context from comments and surrounding code to generate code that it thinks does what you’re trying to do.
Like all tools, it’s not always right—but it’s not meant to be! It’s there to help you get started and get going, but it can’t think for you. As the developer, you have to choose whether to use Copilot’s suggestion or take a different path. But, whatever choice you make, remember that you still have to test your code!
DALL-E is the first tool we’ve talked about that does not generate text. Instead, DALL-E is able to generate images based on a text input. How cool is that? You can tell DALL-E what you want to see and you’ll have an image of it in just a few seconds. After DALL-E generates the image, you can download it as a PNG file and do whatever you want with it! The world is your oyster.
For those of us who love music but aren’t able to create our own, there’s Soundraw, an AI music generator that can take a text description and generate music that matches exactly what you wanted to hear. And, just like DALL-E, you own the content that you create in Soundraw and you can use it without fear of a copyright strike. If you’re a creator who’s searching for royalty-free music, Soundraw may just be the tool for you.
ChatGPT has no doubt changed the tech landscape forever. But innovation does not start or end with ChatGPT. The AI landscape is constantly evolving and there are already some cool tools that go beyond what ChatGPT was ever intended to achieve. Don’t let yourself be limited by just the abilities of one tool; use the alternatives we’ve outlined here today to enhance your abilities and dramatically increase your day-to-day productivity.
And, If you’re looking to not just use these tools, but also create your own, then Ironhack’s bootcamps may just be the right choice for you. Poke around our website and see which bootcamp is the best fit for you. We can’t wait to see you in class!