Since ChatGPT came out in November, hundreds of millions of people have experimented with an online chatbot, which can answer questions, write poetry, draft emails, and talk about almost any topic from within a web browser.
On Thursday, OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence lab behind ChatGPT, unveiled a new version of the chatbot for the iPhone, hoping to build on its massive popularity.
Unlike the browser-based version of ChatGPT, the smartphone app responds to voice commands, acting a bit like Apple’s Siri digital assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. The application does not answer with voice, but generates responses in text.
In a blog post, OpenAI said the app was part of its effort to turn its AI research into “useful tools that empower people, while making them more accessible.” He declined to comment further.
By bringing its groundbreaking technology to billions of iPhone users, OpenAI is solidifying its place among the tech industry giants. ChatGPT is the most prominent example of so-called generative AI, a technology that can generate text, images, and other media based on short prompts. Google, Microsoft, and many other startups have launched similar bots and are starting to roll out this technology in a wide range of online services.
The result of more than a decade of research at companies like Google and OpenAI, these chatbots are poised to reshape everything from Internet search engines like Google Search and Bing to email programs like Gmail and Outlook.
They can create digital text that can be used in almost any context, including for students to write term papers and for business people to compose emails and other marketing materials.
Technology is not perfect. Because these chatbots learn by analyzing huge amounts of digital text extracted from the internet, they cannot distinguish between fact and fiction. And the computer code they generate is often flawed.
Today, technology tends to complement human workers rather than directly replace their skills.
OpenAI is not the first to introduce technology that allows people to use ChatGPT with voice. Some small companies and independent developers have already done so. Microsoft also offers a version of Bing chatbot that responds to voice commands.
The new iPhone app is free. ChatGPT Plus subscribers – available for $20 per month – can use a more powerful version of the chatbot based on a technology called GPT-4.
OpenAI began rolling out the app in the US on Thursday and will expand to other countries in the coming weeks. A version of the app for Android phones is also in the works.