ChatGPT took the world by storm when it was released in late 2022, quickly becoming the hottest AI tool for work and entertainment purposes alike. Since then, however, other providers have upped their game, and we’re seeing a range of new models on the market that are challenging ChatGPT.
In this blog post, I’ll look at three chatbot models that can serve as free alternatives to ChatGPT, assessing the pros and cons of each. Whether you’re an individual or business user, read on to learn more.
Best known as Google’s alternative to ChatGPT, Bard endured a rocky start upon its release. However, as I discussed in a video for Hays back in May, discounting it so early would be a mistake.
It’s certainly improved a lot since then. For starters, the information it’s drawing from is more up to date than what you’ll find on the free version of ChatGPT, which is what many of you will be using. It's true that it’s still lacking in accuracy on some occasions, but you’ll find a similar disclaimer on any large language model (LLM) - the output shouldn’t be taken as gospel.
So, what’s the difference between Bard and ChatGPT? One of the key selling points of Google’s chatbot is its ability to write and debug code and, through some basic tests, I can confirm it’s pretty good, though not necessarily an upgrade on ChatGPT. I do enjoy that I can share the solution via hyperlink (something you can do for any Bard output), while you can export to Colab or Replit if that’s what you’re using. Unlike ChatGPT 3.5, Google’s generative AI tool can also analyse and identify the subjects of images. There’s also a new speech function, similar to the one you’ll find on Google’s Translate tool, which could be helpful for some users.
Given the features I’ve outlined above, there are plenty of advantages that Google’s chatbot has over ChatGPT. It's certainly better suited to collaborative work and, given the investment, I expect it’ll get better in terms of accuracy and relevance.
As an alternative to ChatGPT, Anthropic’s Claude has been on my radar for some time, and the recent launch of Claude 2 is an exciting development.
A key draw is Claude’s ability to extract insights from uploaded files. For example, I asked it to tell me what the number one hiring challenge for cybersecurity recruiters was based on a Hays PDF report, and, lo and behold, it found the correct information. I then attached a Hays salary guide and asked it where I could find the best daily rate, based on different specialisms. Not only was the answer accurate, but Claude also detailed how my income would increase.
I did, however, have mixed success with CSV files. It struggled to total the values in a column when the table was not at the top of a page but was able to identify figures in a simpler table, as well as total up the columns and rows. In any case, it regularly prompts the user to offer feedback, which I was able to do when it provided the wrong answer.
Overall, this will save time in summarising documents and scouring reports. It offers the same functions that ChatGPT does in terms of generating ideas, although some of the information it found online was outdated, so that’s something to be wary of.
How best to describe Pi? Let’s ask it!
“I can provide information on a wide range of topics, from history and science to pop culture and current events. I can help with decision making, by providing pros and cons and alternative perspectives. I can offer emotional support by being a good listener and offering a non-judgmental ear. And I can provide recommendations and suggestions, based on the context of our conversation.”
Whether you choose to think of Pi as a personal assistant or a workplace buddy, its purpose is to provide support. Its tone of voice is warmer and more informal than other models I’ve encountered, which is welcome when it’s helping you to prioritise your workload or think about things in a new way. It’s certainly an active listener, which some people might find preferable when they want to share.
I was able to discuss a stumbling block I’d hit in my writing, at which point it coaxed the information it needed to write a couple of paragraphs itself. I wouldn’t turn to Pi to write content as I do with ChatGPT or its alternatives, but I enjoyed its approach.
Will Pi be for everyone? No, but it has many uses and it’s definitely one to try out in a range of scenarios. It is outstanding as a conversational application and sets the bar high for virtual assistants coming down the line.
If you’re looking for a free alternative to ChatGPT, I recommend exploring each of these models. Each of them has their benefits, so it’s about finding what works best for you depending on your requirements, which could even change from task to task. Keep in mind that these are in their relative infancy, and it’s unrealistic to expect perfection just yet. Nonetheless, they’re sure to help you in your day-to-day work.
For ideas on how you can use generative AI to be more productive in your work, read this piece from my colleague, Travis O’Rourke.
Intelligent Automation Director, Hays Technology
Tim worked in digital transformation for 20 years developing solutions to improve user journeys and experience for blue chip clients. More recently he grew the UK’s largest RPA CoE and went on to specialise in helping organisations overcome their barriers to scaling automation. He is a thought leader and evangelist for Intelligent