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Generative AI Tools

While ChatGPT is perhaps the most well-known text-based GenAI tool, there are many others available for use (and the numbers continue to grow). Below are brief descriptions of a few of the most common GenAI tools along with some notable differences between them. The variable features can impact the type of outputs that the tools generate based on a given prompt.

These technologies change frequently, often without warning, so instructors are encouraged to continually play with any tools they ask their students to use to remain up-to-date on functionality. Instructors are also encouraged to experiment with these tools and others to establish a better understanding of how they work.


About ChatGPT

OpenAI's ChatGPT free version currently runs on GPT-3.5, a type of "Generative Pre-Trained Transformer" that is an auto-regressive Large Language Model (LLM). Although the free version of the tool is used via a web browser, it does not crawl the web for recent information. As a result it currently suffers from a 2021 knowledge cut off point (the endpoint for its training data). It is less effective at generating citations or accurately compiling a list of sources.

ChatGPT Plus, the paid version of the tool, costs $20 a month and is connected to the internet. Therefore, it is more powerful and its outputs are influence by more recent (since 2021) freely available web content.

Screenshot of chatgpt home screen.

ChatGPT dashboard

Bing Chat

About Bing Chat

Bing Chat, when set to creative mode runs GPT-4. Like ChatGPT Plus, it is connected to the internet and can produce more accurate citations and resource lists than GPT-3.5 LLMs. Bing Chat is a way for students to access GPT-4 technology for free instead of paying for ChatGPT Plus.

At times, Microsoft has limited the number of questions users can ask Bing Chat. Microsoft claimed in this blog post that restrictions were made because "long chats can confuse the underlying chat model." Bing Chat itself stated that a recent 5-question limit was made due to "problems with the server." Question limits are now back up to 30 but it is clear that those limits will continually shift as needed. This tendency is notable for instructors who may be looking to have students use Bing Chat for assignments, study help, or other classroom uses.

Screenshot of ChatGPT dashboard

Bing Chat dashboard

Google's Bard

About Google's Bard

Bard is a GenAI tool that runs on PaLM 2, Google's latest Large Language Model. Google claims that Bard powered by PaLM 2 is skilled at "coding, reasoning," and operating in multiple languages. Anecdotally, Bard appears to be behind GPT-based tools in development and it struggles at times to accurately respond to some prompts. However, like GPT-4, it is connected to the internet and can therefore pull from more recent (since 2021) sources.

Screenshot of Google Bard.

Bard dashboard