Generative AI Tools
OpenAI - The earliest mover with the viral web front-end and the name ChatGPT. The free version uses GPT 3.5 as the model, which is suitable for most tasks, though there are significant improvements in the latest model GPT 4, particularly in the area of reasoning and avoiding hallucinations (think of AI as an intern). An iPhone app was released in mid-May with a phased launch across the world and they are going to launch Android app soon. If you sign up for the paid plan ($20 a month), you get early access to features such as the ability for the bot to access the web and use plugins that supercharge the functionality of the bot. The Code Interpreter feature is in alpha currently and promises to be significantly good at analysis.
Google Bard - A free interface available to everyone with a Google account. Does reasonably well on most tasks, and has access to the web by default. Currently does not match up to the latest models from OpenAI, but it might improve fast given Google’s focus on AI now. A feature similar to plugins, is being labeled ’tools’ and was announced in May 2023. Some AI capabilities are already integrated into Google tools.
Microsoft Bing Chat - A free interface available to all. Powered by OpenAI models. Currently requires downloading the Microsoft Edge browser to access the chat feature. Has default access to the web and is powered by the latest models from OpenAI, so for normal usage this could be considered a free version, versus the paid version from OpenAI. Microsoft has also enabled plugins for several services and will continue to add more. They have also committed to following the same standard for plugins as OpenAI, so the plugins developed once will work across both interfaces. Given that Microsoft is currently offering OpenAI models for free, and adding plugins support, it seems the best free option, and it includes references as well.
ChatPDF - One specific use case that might be very relevant for most users is to be able to ‘chat’ with a PDF document. This might be a research article, a printout of a web page (saved as .pdf), or a PDF of a book. It is a very simple and elegant solution. There are limitations on how much you can use it for free. This feature will be subsumed in one of the other platforms soon, but for now, it is an excellent tool.
Perplexity - If you are looking for a response from a model that includes an aggregation of search and a generative model and present it with references, this is a good option. Microsoft Bing chat also includes references in its response, so this is not specific to Perplexity, though the experience is better with this tool.
Adobe Firefly – Generative AI can be used for images, audio, and video. Adobe Firefly (beta) is currently available via university license and lets you quickly create graphics. Two powerful features include: “text to image” to generate images from a detailed text description and “generative fill” which makes it easy to remove objects or paint in new ones by supplying text descriptions. Other features include text effects, generative recolor, 3D to image, and extending images.
For a full searchable list of AI Tools, check out the AI Scout Directory.
To purchase a license or subscription for generative AI, you must first fill out the following two forms and obtain approvals on both before using a university P-Card for purchase:
- Electronic Services Purchased by P-Card
Once this is signed, after purchase, upload along with the receipt into Chrome River.
- P-Card Exception Request
This form, once signed, authorizes you to enter a P-Card to pay the monthly subscription fee. Do not purchase until this is in place/approved. Approval will take up to 10 business days.
The University System offices are currently finalizing guidance on the use of generative AI tools. Once this guidance is available, an extra educational and consent step will be added to this process.