7 Features to Consider When Subscribing to an AI Chatbot Service – MUO – MakeUseOf

Thinking of subscribing to an AI chatbot? Here’s what you need to look out for.
AI chatbots have changed our workflows in such a way that it's now becoming hard to imagine a world without them. As language models from Google, OpenAI, and Meta continue to evolve, the capabilities will only improve. There are already many chatbots that differ in terms of functionalities and the language model that they use.
Most generative AI chatbots offer a subscription service that unlocks new features. However, how do you know you're choosing the right one? Here, we'll be discussing seven features that you should look out for when subscribing to one of these services.
AI chatbots can sometimes fall prey to AI Hallucination, meaning the output can be inaccurate or illogical. While chatbots are good at responding to basic prompts, they occasionally struggle with longer or more complex questions. It's the kind of tradeoff you expect when talking about bleeding-edge technology.
Various factors affect chatbot accuracy, such as comprehension and contextual memory. If you plan on subscribing to a chatbot service, try the free version first. Chatbots like ChatGPT and Perplexity have free versions that you can use to get an idea of accuracy. If the free version is good, the odds are that the paid version is even better.
While many people are beginning to use AI tools, we're still in largely uncharted territory. It's hard to predict how AI will affect society and how we will deal with it. There are also concerns that chatbots like ChatGPT represent a privacy risk. For example, ChatGPT developer OpenAI has stated that they review your ChatGPT conversations to further its training.
It is uncertain how much data they're actually collecting and what they plan to do with it in the long term. The best you can do is ensure the service you're subscribing to has good privacy policies and you're not sharing personal data or private information with any generative AI chatbot.
While comparing ChatGPT Plus and Perplexity AI, we found that Perplexity was faster while ChatGPT Plus had a better contextual understanding. This is why ChatGPT Plus outperforms most other chatbots regarding detailed responses. If an AI chatbot struggles with understanding context, it will start to hallucinate and give irrational responses.
Contextual understanding is what separates an AI chatbot from a search engine. However, the line is beginning to blur between the two. Bing AI is an AI search engine with an AI chatbot feature. It can access information from the web in real-time and has a decent contextual understanding.
The level of contextual understanding depends on the language model and how it's trained. Again, you should try the free version to check this for yourself.
Most AI chatbots are trained on a limited knowledge base. They have information cutoffs, meaning they can't access information released beyond a certain date. This is a well-known issue with ChatGPT, which is trained on data up to September 2021.
Access to the internet is an obvious fix to this problem. Microsoft's Bing is now powered by AI, meaning Bing AI Chat also has access to the web and can access relevant and updated information without any limits. ChatGPT Plus also has this feature in the form of plugins, but you'll have to upgrade from the free version if you want to use them.
The biggest difference between AI chatbots is the type of large language model (LLM) they use. For example, the free version of Perplexity uses GPT-3, while the paid version gives you access to GPT-4. The situation is similar in the case of ChatGPT. Some chatbots, such as Bard, use Google's PaLM 2 LLM, with others use Meta's Llama or one of its many variants.
Currently, most AI chatbots appear to use GPT-3 or GPT-4. While GPT-3 is quite capable, GPT-4 is much better. The latter is better at understanding longer prompts, has better contextual understanding, and is trained on a larger dataset.
One of the best AI chatbot features is the ability to converse in different languages. You can type in almost any language; most AI chatbots will respond in the same tongue. However, not all AI chatbots can do this. For example, while Perplexity AI can understand most languages, it still defaults to responding to English. Fortunately, you can specify the language you want.
One of the many downsides of Google Bard at launch was its limited language support. Google has since fixed that issue with an update, and Bard can now respond to any language you want.
Multilingual support shouldn't be an issue as AI chatbots continue to improve. However, you should still try out a potential AI chatbot to ensure its translation features are up to par.
Most AI chatbots have a free version and a premium version with advanced features. For example, ChatGPT's free version works great, but upgrading to Plus gives you access to GPT-4 and plugins. Similarly, Perplexity is free, but upgrading to Perplexity Pro gives you more GPT-4 uses and access to the file upload feature.
You'll have to consider carefully whether the paid AI chatbot versions are worth it. Usually, the features are great for the price, but it depends on how much use you will get out of them. Remember that the paid versions also tend to be faster than the free ones. Paying for faster responses should be a no-brainer if your workflow involves time-sensitive projects.
While paid AI chatbot services are great, the free versions are often good enough. In fact, they're almost too good. GPT-3 or GPT-3.5 is enough for most people, meaning upgrading to GPT-4 might not be worth it for everyone. However, it's still worth it if you need more detailed and faster responses.
Hashir is an established tech journalist who covers Mac and iOS at MakeUseOf. He started his writing journey in 2020, and has since then been contributing to top-tier technology publications like MakeTechEasier, PCGuide101, and MacBook Journal. In his free time, Hashir polishes his jabs at the local boxing club, preparing for the robot apocalypse.