What is an AI Chatbot? Explain It Like I’m Five

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated December 7, 2023

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What is AI chatbot?

An AI chatbot is like a computerized friend that can talk with you through text or voice. It uses artificial intelligence to understand what you're saying and respond in a contextual way. AI chatbots can help answer questions, guide you through tasks, or even teach you new things. With artificial intelligence powering their understanding and responses, these handy digital assistants have a range of uses to make your life easier and more fun.

AI chatbot fast facts

  • AI chatbots are increasingly used in customer service, offering efficient, 24/7 support and reducing the workload on human agents.

  • Many AI chatbots are now multilingual, breaking language barriers in customer engagement and sales.

  • ChatGPT is a free AI chatbot that offers advanced conversational capabilities like Whisper (voice chat) on various platforms, including iOS devices.

  • Google Bard AI delivers real-time information from the web, integrating seamlessly with Google's search engine.

  • ChatGPT Plus subscribers gain access to the newest and beta GPT models, faster response times, and advanced features, like plugins for niche chatbot capabilities.

An illustration of an AI chatbot interface, showing how complex algorithms are simplified into user-friendly interactions. Photograph: Anna Vozna via Glorium Technologies.

What does ChatGPT stand for?

ChatGPT stands for "Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer." 

The "Chat" part means it's designed to talk, just like chatting with a friend. "Generative" means it doesn't just repeat lines like a parrot. Instead, it creates new sentences each time, making the conversation flow naturally. "Pre-trained" means that it's already learned a lot before you even start talking to it. It has “read” lots of books, articles, and websites beforehand.

The "Transformer" part is about the technology it uses. Think of it like the brain of ChatGPT. This brain is really good at understanding the meaning behind words, which is pretty tricky even for humans, at times. So, when you chat with ChatGPT, it uses all this training and its smart "brain" to come up with responses that make sense and are relevant to what you're talking about.

What is the smartest AI bot?

Determining the "smartest" AI bot isn't straightforward, as it depends on what you mean by "smart." Different AI bots excel in various fields. If we're talking about language models and conversation, OpenAI's GPT models are often highlighted. 

They're known for understanding and generating human-like text, making them great for chatting, answering questions, or even handling customer support queries. These models use deep learning algorithms and have been trained on vast amounts of data, giving them a wide knowledge base.

Google's AI, like Google Bard, is another top contender, especially when integrated with Google's massive search database. It's excellent for real-time data processing and can pull in the latest information from the web. This makes it incredibly useful for up-to-date responses and information retrieval.

In specialized fields, other AIs might be the "smartest." For example, IBM's Watson excels in processing and analyzing large datasets, which is why it's used in fields like healthcare, finance, and business.

Which AI chatbot is best?

Choosing the "best" AI chatbot largely depends on what you need it for. 

For general conversation and a wide range of queries, OpenAI's GPT algorithm is highly regarded as the best. Its strengths lie in generating human-like responses, understanding context, and the fact that it’s been trained on trillions of parameters. It can be deployed using ChatGPT for manual queries or using OpenAI’s API to incorporate within your websites or apps.

Google's Contact Center AI is another top pick for businesses and customer engagement. It enables you to run an AI chatbot that closely mimics human agents. This chatbot integrates with Google Cloud and Google Workspace, providing a seamless experience for businesses. It's especially useful for automating responses, improving the efficiency of your customer support, and handling customer queries based on your internal data.

For those looking into content creation or needing a chatbot with strong search capabilities, Google Bard or Bing Chat might be more suitable. These platforms leverage their respective search engines (Google Search and Bing AI) to provide accurate and up-to-date information. They're great for real-time data inquiries and generating content based on current events or specific user queries.

A silhouette of a person using a smartphone with the OpenAI logo — one of the leading AI chatbot development companies today. Photograph: Rafael Henrique via Reuters Connect.

Is Google Bard better than ChatGPT?

Comparing Google Bard and ChatGPT involves looking at their different strengths and intended uses. Google Bard, backed by Google's massive data and search capabilities, is excellent for pulling in real-time information and providing up-to-date responses. This makes it particularly strong for queries that require the latest data or information directly from the web. 

ChatGPT, on the other hand, excels in generating human-like responses and engaging in more nuanced conversations. Its training, which was based on a diverse range of content, allows it to understand and respond to a wide variety of topics. ChatGPT's ability to keep conversations in context is particularly impressive, making it ideal for more in-depth discussions and human-like interaction.

Whether Google Bard is "better" than ChatGPT depends on your needs. If you need the most current information and direct integration with Google's search capabilities, Bard might be more suitable. However, if your focus is on the quality of conversation, nuanced understanding, and a more human-like interaction, ChatGPT could be the better choice.

Why is ChatGPT so much better than other AI?

ChatGPT stands out in the AI world for several reasons. First, its foundation in OpenAI's GPT models sets it apart. These models represent some of the most advanced in natural language understanding and generation. They're trained on an incredibly vast and diverse range of content, giving ChatGPT a broad knowledge base and the ability to deeply understand context. This training enables ChatGPT to provide more accurate, relevant, and coherent responses than most AI chatbots.

ChatGPT heavily mimics human conversation. It's not just about providing information — it's about engaging in a way that feels natural and human-like. This involves not only understanding the words but also grasping the nuances, intent, and subtleties of human language. The use of deep learning algorithms in ChatGPT allows it to continuously learn from interactions, improving its responses over time and adapting to new topics and styles of conversation.

The versatility of ChatGPT is also key. It's not limited to specific domains or topics, making it incredibly flexible for various applications, from casual chats to educational support, content creation, and even technical assistance. This wide-ranging capability, combined with its human-like interactive style, makes ChatGPT a preferred choice for many users and applications, setting it apart from more specialized or limited-function AI chatbots.

A friendly AI chatbot offering assistance, symbolizing the approachable and user-friendly interfaces we enjoy. Photograph: Nidhi Singh via Verloop.

Is ChatGPT free on iPhone?

You can use ChatGPT for free on your iPhone by accessing it through a web browser like Safari or Chrome. Simply go to chat.openai.com and sign up using your email, Google, or Microsoft account. There aren’t any usage limits on the free version of ChatGPT, making it accessible from your iPhone's browser

OpenAI has also released an official ChatGPT app for iOS devices. The ChatGPT app is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad users. This app not only provides the basic functionalities of ChatGPT but also integrates additional features. For instance, it includes Whisper, OpenAI’s open-source speech-recognition system, which enables voice input for a more interactive experience. 

While the basic app is free, there's an option for ChatGPT Plus subscribers to access exclusive features, like newer GPT model releases, early access to new features, and faster response times.

How do I use Google Bard?

To begin, you need to go to bard.google.com. There, you'll sign in with your Google account or Google Workspace account. This account access is important as it integrates your use of Bard with Google’s ecosystem.

Once you're logged in, you can start interacting with Bard. You can type in whatever you want to ask or discuss in the message box. This could be a question, a request for information, or even instructions for generating content. Bard is designed to understand a wide range of queries, so feel free to ask about almost anything!

Google Bard is not just a question-and-answer machine — it offers much more. For example, you can use Bard to learn about new topics, like getting an introduction to tennis or quick facts about whales. Bard can also analyze images and help create related content. It's integrated with Google's other apps and services, making it a useful tool for a variety of tasks. Additionally, Bard works in conjunction with Google Search. If you're looking for more detailed information, you can use the "Google it" feature to jump directly into a traditional Google search.

A conceptual representation of Google's AI chatbot, Bard, integrating data from Google Workspace and user account information to provide accurate responses. Photograph: Eeshita Srivastava via HappyFox.

Is Google Bard AI free?

Google Bard AI is currently available for free in every country. Users can access it free of charge, as long as they have a Google account and a supported browser. It’s also worth mentioning that, unlike many other Google products, Google Bard is not only free to use, and also free of advertising.

Is there a free AI chatbot?

Yes, there are several free AI chatbots available. Three popular examples include:

ChatGPT: Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is renowned for its advanced conversational capabilities and can be used for a wide range of purposes. It's accessible for free through any browser or smartphone.

Google Bard: This Google’s AI chatbot, designed to provide real-time, updated information from the web. It's available for free to users with a Google account.

Writesonic: Writesonic assists users in generating high-quality written, catering especially to marketers and content creators.

What is the difference between free and paid ChatGPT?

The differences between the free and paid versions of ChatGPT are mainly in access, features, and performance. ChatGPT Free is based on the older GPT models, which are mostly less developed and have been exposed to fewer training parameters than the newer model releases. 

ChatGPT Plus users enjoy faster response times and are able to access the platform even during periods of high demand. They also get early access to beta-test many features being developed by OpenAI. 

ChatGPT Plus also includes access to plugins that enhance the chatbot's capabilities by allowing users to tap into specific expert knowledge and perform a wider range of tasks using third-party plugin integrations with ChatGPT.

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