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5 Generative AI Chatbots With Features You’ll Love

You may find these bots in places on the internet that you already frequent

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ChatGPT exploded onto the scene nearly a year ago to become the fastest-growing consumer application in history, suggesting a new future of tech had arrived and was not hyperbole.

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San Francisco startup OpenAI’s “generative AI” chatbot churns out computer code, letters, party ideas, poems, reports and scripts in seconds after the typing of a prompt. It became the poster child behind arguably the biggest change in computing since the internet, an artificial intelligence-fueled modern era.

Types of artificial intelligence

These aren’t the only types of artificial intelligence but can give you a glimpse of what’s out there.

Conversational AI. Advanced technology that allows computer programs to understand and respond to questions in everyday language, something that tech experts call natural language processing. This type of artificial intelligence includes chatbots and virtual assistants. Both generative and traditional AI are conversational.

Generative AI. A computer program that can create original content based on patterns of data it has accumulated rather than giving an answer from something it already knows.

Rule-based chatbots. These computer programs, which you’ll often encounter in customer service settings on websites, use scripts and information on a particular topic to generate answers to questions. At its most basic, if a customer asks a specific query, then the bot responds with an answer already in its memory.

Traditional AI. A computer system with capability to learn from data and make decisions, predict next steps or solve problems based on that data. 

Although developments in artificial intelligence have been taking place since the mid-1950s, it took decades before the technology captured the public’s fascination with twin triumphs. In October 2011, a month after IBM’s Watson supercomputer defeated beloved Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, Apple added its Siri digital assistant to iPhones.

Now, OpenAI isn’t the only company exploring and exploiting AI technology on the front lines. Generative AI chatbots are trained on what techies refer to as large language models (LLMs), mammoth sets of data culled from the internet.

It's worth emphasizing that these remain early days for AI, even though the technology was born 67 years ago. Chatbots are still beset by incomplete data and inaccuracies. They often spit out stuff that sounds plausible but is wrong or misleading, commonly known as “hallucinations.”

Given the daily stream of headlines, you need a scorecard to keep track of what every company is doing in the space, or at the very least, wish you could unleash an AI bot to help you stay on top of the topic.

Here’s a summary of what some leading AI companies have been up to lately, and how you might engage with AI now or in the near future.

1. ChatGPT now knows current events, responds to voice

ChatGPT rolled out Nov. 30, 2022, as mostly text-based, meaning you had to type a prompt into a computer and wait, usually not long, for a result.

On Sept. 25 of this year, OpenAI began rolling out fresh voice and image capabilities for ChatGPT. But for now, you must either be a business customer or subscribe to a $20-a-month ChatGPT Plus plan.

If you do, you can snap a picture of a landmark while sightseeing and have a live conversation with the bot about what you’re looking at. You might take a picture of your refrigerator or pantry to get ideas for dinner, something you might previously have needed to Google, tried to consult a recipe app or rummaged through your own cookbooks for inspiration.

You’ll also be able to have a back-and-forth conversation with ChatGPT, maybe to settle an argument or read a bedtime story to your kid or grandkid.

Until recently, ChatGPT had only limited knowledge of global events after 2021. That’s still the case for the free version of ChatGPT which anyone can try by visiting or by downloading its app onto your smartphone from the Apple App or Google Play stores.

That constraint goes away for Plus and business customers, who can now use ChatGPT-4 to browse the internet with the help of Microsoft’s Bing search engine. The feature is being beta tested.

When asked, “What kind of reviews did the film Oppenheimer get?” ChatGPT responded that the movie received “positive feedback.” A link led to the underlying source, in this case the website, which provided more details.

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When asked, “What is the latest news on COVID-19 vaccines?” ChatGPT indicated that the FDA approved updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, pulling source information from the federal Food & Drug Administration website. To try these latest features as a Plus subscriber, click the menu with your picture, and then click Settings & Beta | Beta Features | Browse with Bing.

2. Google Bard has option to check via traditional search

By most accounts, Bard has had to play catch-up with ChatGPT. Google has started to leverage its AI technology by connecting its chatbot through what are called Bard Extensions to a suite of Google apps and services, including Gmail, Maps and YouTube.

You can ask Bard to summarize recent emails from your kid’s school or create an itinerary for a family visit to Portugal. It also can summarize and explain documents stored in Google Docs or Google Drive.

To get going, head to, and make sure you connect Bard to your Google Workspace. Meanwhile, if you’re unsatisfied or not sure an AI response generated by Bard is accurate, click on the “G” logo to double-check the answer in search.

If you’re worried about privacy, Google claims it does not collect or store any personal information about its users, and that it uses automated tools to help remove email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information before human evaluators eventually review Bard’s work. The subset of conversations shared with humans are not associated with user accounts, Google says.

3. Microsoft has new Bing and Copilot, a new digital assistant

As an investor in OpenAI, Microsoft leverages technology in ChatGPT inside its own Bing search engine. The new Bing, as it is referred to, can display regular search listings next to AI-generated chat exchanges.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is pushing a new AI companion it calls Copilot, made available free as part of the Windows 11 update for PCs and in an update to the Microsoft Edge browser, Microsoft 365 and Bing itself. You’ll be able to launch Copilot from the taskbar in Windows or via a Win+C keyboard shortcut.

Microsoft recently retired its Cortana app, which had been its version of the Alexa and Google Assistant digital assistants with nowhere near the popularity. Copilot now assumes this assistant role.

You might ask it to organize your windows on a PC or summarize articles you’ve read. Microsoft points to other possible tasks: Ask Copilot to “Write a paragraph about minimalist architecture,” or “Create an Instagram reel with photos from my vacation.”

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Separately, Microsoft is bringing the DALL-E AI text-to-image generator, also from OpenAI, to its Paint program in Windows.

4. Amazon Alexa brings next generation of AI to your home

Lots of people ask Amazon’s popular Alexa voice assistant inside Echo smart speakers and other devices to tell them today’s weather, set timers or play a song. At a recent press event in Northern Virginia, Amazon outlined ways in which you’ll be able to converse with Alexa more naturally, based on Amazon’s own AlexaLLM.

When Alexa-capable gear is embedded in a smart home, you might say something like, “Alexa, it’s chilly in here” and Alexa will know to raise the temperature on your smart thermostat. You won’t need to spell out, “Raise the thermostat to 73 degrees.”

You might ask Alexa: “Turn on the TV, make the living room lights look like the aurora borealis, and clean the dining room,” and Alexa will oblige, based on the other smart devices linked to it. Or before you go to bed, you can ask, “Alexa, is everything locked up for the night?”

Through an update that will be coming to Amazon’s Fire TVs and streaming sticks, Alexa might also help you find something to watch with AI-based queries like these:

  • “Find movies for date night.”
  • “Find movies we can sing along to.”
  • “Find movies that should have won an Oscar.”
  • “Find just ones that are free to me or that I haven’t seen yet.”

One unsettling development to take note of: Outgoing Amazon executive Dave Limp told Bloomberg that future versions of Alexa could eventually require a subscription.

5. Meta’s AI takes on various personalities with expertise

The Facebook parent and company behind Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp has launched a conversational rival to ChatGPT called Meta AI but is taking a far more playful approach than others.

Your designated Meta AI can help you search the web with an assist from Microsoft Bing, generate images from what you describe or provide recommendations on places to eat or visit.

But here’s where it differs: Many of the Meta AI bots you choose to engage with are “played by” and represented by real-life celebrities who assume different personas and specialties. Among them: retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady in the role of Bru, the “sports brain”; tennis star Naomi Osaka is Tamika, a “manga master”; Paris Hilton is Amber the “detective”; and Snoop Dogg is Dungeon Master, the “guide to games.”

The New York Times conducted a text conversation in WhatsApp with another of Meta’s AIs, a 19th century representation of British author Jane Austen. You’ll engage with these and other AI assistants through one-on-one or group chats inside Meta’s various apps, as well as new versions of Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3 augmented reality headsets, both coming soon.

Meta’s approach brings to mind another AI company, Character Technologies, which lets you design and text with living and dead characters from William Shakespeare to Oprah Winfrey. Sure, the Character AI conversation is made up, but advances in AI are real and coming fast.

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