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OpenAI unveils new AI model as competition heats up

OpenAI unveils new AI model as competition heats up

Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 09:30 GMT+7
OpenAI unveils new AI model as competition heats up
OpenAI logo is seen near computer motherboard in this illustration taken January 8, 2024. Photo: Reuters

ChatGPT maker OpenAI said on Monday it would release a new AI model called GPT-4o, capable of realistic voice conversation and able to interact across text and image, its latest move to stay ahead in a race to dominate the emerging technology.

New audio capabilities enable users to speak to ChatGPT and obtain real-time responses with no delay, as well as interrupt ChatGPT while it is speaking, both hallmarks of realistic conversations that AI voice assistants have found challenging, the OpenAI researchers showed at a livestream event.

"It feels like AI from the movies ... Talking to a computer has never felt really natural for me; now it does," OpenAI CEO Sam Altman wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft-backed (MSFT.O) OpenAI faces growing competition and pressure to expand the user base of ChatGPT, its popular chatbot product that wowed the world with its ability to produce human-like written content and top-notch software code.

At the livestream event, OpenAI researchers showed off ChatGPT's new voice assistant capabilities. In one demo, ChatGPT used its vision and voice capabilities to talk a researcher through solving a math equation on a sheet of paper.

In another demo, researchers showed the GPT-4o model's capability of real-time language translation.

OpenAI's demonstrations verged on science-fiction, with ChatGPT and its interlocutor at one point engaging in coquettish banter. The OpenAI researcher told the chatbot he was in a great mood because he was demonstrating "how useful and amazing you are."

ChatGPT responded: "Oh stop it! You're making me blush!"

Altman posted on X after the demo, "her," in what appeared to be a reference to the so named 2013 film by Spike Jonze about a man falling in love with his AI assistant, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

Reuters Graphics

Reuters Graphics

OpenAI's chief technology officer, Mira Murati, said at the event that the new model would be offered for free because it is more cost-effective than the company's previous models. Paid users of GPT-4o will have greater capacity limits than the company's free users, she said. The GPT-4o model will be available in ChatGPT over the next few weeks, the company said.

In addition, free ChatGPT users now have access to a "browse" feature that enables ChatGPT to display up-to-date information from the web, Murati told Reuters after the event. The company does not intend to make money off free users through selling ads, Murati said.

Shortly after launching in late 2022, ChatGPT was called the fastest application ever to reach 100 million monthly active users.

However, worldwide traffic to ChatGPT's website has been on a roller-coaster ride in the past year and is only now returning to its May 2023 peak, according to analytics firm Similarweb.

OpenAI made the announcements a day before Alphabet is scheduled to hold its annual Google developers' conference, where it is expected to show off its own new AI-related features.

Reuters reported last week that OpenAI planned to announce an AI-powered search product, citing sources.

But the company decided to delay the search product announcement, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Shares of Alphabet were down 0.4 percent on Monday afternoon, after falling nearly three percent earlier in the day. Microsoft shares were down 0.2 percent.

Reuters

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