SAN FRANCISCO: OpenAI on Monday released a higher performing and more efficient version of the artificial intelligence technology that underpins its popular generative tool ChatGPT, making it free to all users.

The update to OpenAI’s flagship product landed a day before Google is expected to make its own announcements about Gemini, the search engine giant’s own AI tool competing with ChatGPT head on.

“We’re very, very excited to bring GPT-4o to all of our free users out there,” Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati said at the highly anticipated launch event in San Francisco.

The new model will be rolled out in OpenAI’s products over the next weeks, the company said.

Murati and engineers from OpenAI demonstrated the new powers of GPT-4o at the virtual event, asking questions and posing challenges to the beefed-up version of the ChatGPT chatbot.

“We know that these models get more and more complex, but we want the experience of interaction to actually become more natural, easy,” Murati said before the demo.

This included asking questions to a human-sounding ChatGPT in Italian and asking the bot to interpret facial expressions or make complex math equations.

The event is just the latest episode in the AI arms race that has seen OpenAI-backer Microsoft propelled past Apple as the world’s biggest company by market capitalisation.

OpenAI and Microsoft are in a heated rivalry with Google to be generative AI’s major player, but Facebook-owner Meta and upstart Anthropic are also making big moves to compete.

All the companies are scrambling to come up with ways to cover generative AI’s exorbitant costs, much of which goes to chip giant Nvidia and its powerful GPU semiconductors.

For now less performing versions of OpenIA or Google’s chatbots are available to customers for free, with questions still lingering over whether the public at large is ready to pay a subscription to maintain access to the technology.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2024

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