The upgraded ChatGPT teaches maths and flirts – but still has glitches

The upgraded ChatGPT teaches maths and flirts – but still has glitches

OpenAI has introduced the latest version of the technology that supports the AI chatbot ChatGPT.

It’s called GPT-4o, and it’s rolling out to all ChatGPT users, including non-subscribers.

It is faster than previous models and has been programmed to sound chatty and sometimes flirtatious in its response to prompts.

The new version can read and discuss images, translate language and identify emotions from visual expressions. There is also a memory so it can remember previous prompts.

It can be interrupted and it has an easier conversational rhythm – there is no delay between asking a question and receiving an answer.

Interference
During a live demonstration using the voice version of GPT-4o, it gives helpful suggestions on how to solve simple equations written on a piece of paper – rather than just solving them. It analyzes some computer code, translates between Italian and English and interprets the emotions in a smiling man’s selfie.

Using a warm American woman’s voice, it greets those who push it by asking how they are doing. When praised, he replied: “Stop, you make me blush!”.

It wasn’t perfect – at one point it mistook the smiling man for a wooden surface, and it began to solve the equation that hadn’t been shown yet. This inadvertently suggests that there is still some way to go before the distractions and hallucinations that make chatbots unreliable and potentially unsafe, can be overcome.

But what it shows us is the direction of travel for OpenAI, which I think intends GPT-4o to be the next generation of AI digital assistants, a kind of Siri or Hey, a turbocharged Google that remembers what it has been told in the past and can interact beyond voice or text.

If there is an elephant in the room, in addition to an enthusiastic off-camera audience shouting and clapping, it is a sign of the environmental price of this technology.

We know that AI is more power-intensive than traditional computing tasks, and the more sophisticated it is, the more computing power it needs. No mention of sustainability in the evening.

Demystify
We’ve seen chatbots like Elon Musk’s Grok and Pi, from DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, prioritize the “personality” of their products, but the way GPT-4o seamlessly handles combinations of text, audio and images with instant responses seems to put OpenAI ahead of the competition.

Of course, at the moment we only have the firm’s word for it – it’s their demo, carefully curated and managed by them. It will be interesting to see how GPT-4o scales with the millions of people already using ChatGPT when it launches.

OpenAI’s chief technology officer Mira Murati described GPT-4o as “magical” but added that the firm will “take away the mystique” with the launch of the product.

An interesting and emotive choice of words: while this technology is becoming more sophisticated and more convincing as a companion – it is not feelings or magic, it is complex programming and machine learning.

There have been rumors of a partnership between OpenAI and Apple and while this has not been confirmed, it was telling during the presentation that Apple products have been used all along.

Another shot across the bow is the timing of this event, 24 hours before its rival, Google will showcase its latest AI developments at its annual conference, Google IO.

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