ChatGPT Alternatives Rise Up, Including a Bot from China’s Baidu

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 30, 2023

The rise of ChatGPT and generative AI as a whole has been hard to miss in the past months, especially with Microsoft throwing its money behind OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT. However, with that attention has come a slew of ChatGPT alternatives, including a ChatGPT-style bot set to be launched in March by Baidu called ERNIE Bot.

The Baidu ChatGPT Alternative

According to Reuters, China’s Baidu plans to launch an AI chatbot service in March similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. While it will originally be launched as a standalone application, there are plans to integrate it into Baidu’s search engine, much like what Microsoft is planning to do with OpenAI’s technology and Bing.

The goal is to incorporate the chatbot-generated results in search requests, providing more than links to users. Additionally, Baidu has unveiled AI-powered “creators,” which can assume various roles, including:

  • Screenwriter
  • Illustrator
  • Editor
  • Animator

All of this comes as Baidu continues to invest heavily in AI tech, including cloud services, chips, and autonomous driving.

The Open-Source ChatGPT Alternative

Open-source projects are also trying to mimic ChatGPT, including PaLM + RLHF, a text-generating model developed by Philip Wang. It combines PaLM, a large language model from Google, and Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) to get the model closer to what users expect. However, there are serious limitations:

  • It is not pre-trained, meaning it requires a lot of data and computing power to function effectively, which might be out of reach of the average user.
  • Training ChatGPT alternatives is an expensive process, whether it be in terms of actual cost or the hardware required to make it function properly.

To put it into perspective, PaLM is a big language model with 540 billion learned parts (parameters) from training data. It costs up to $1.6 million to make a text-generating model with only 1.5 billion parameters, according to a 2020 study. To train the open-source model BLOOM (176 billion parameters), it took three months and 384 expensive Nvidia A100 GPUs, which are each worth thousands of dollars.

Other ChatGPT Alternatives

One of the ChatGPT alternatives that deals with writing is Jasper, an AI writer for businesses and marketers. There are some definite benefits that make it start out, including writing templates, copyediting features, and plagiarism detection to streamline the process as much as possible.

However, it also has its fair share of cons, including a sole focus on written text and rather steep costs, which is a big deal when you consider that ChatGPT costs users nothing. Though, that might change in the near future. Moreover, Jasper uses the same language model as ChatGPT, OpenAI’s GPT-3.

Other potential ChatGPT alternatives include:

  • ChatSonic – A conversational AI chatbot that is described as a ChatGPT alternative built with superpowers. It has the ability to pull from current events, unlike ChatGPT’s limitation to training data up to 2021.
  • BLOOM – Mentioned above, BLOOM is capable of generating text in 46 natural languages and 13 programming languages.
  • Replika – Designed to be an AI friend, which offers “no judgment, drama, or social anxiety.” Apparently, it can even form an emotional connection.

Those are only a few of the many ChatGPT alternatives already on the market, and with the rising interest in AI, there will be even more coming soon. They will become better, more specialized, and perhaps even indistinguishable from actual humans.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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