OpenAI announces launch of new AI model

OpenAI announced on Monday the upcoming release of a new AI model called GPT-4o, with capabilities for realistic voice conversation and interaction across text and images.

This launch represents the Microsoft-backed company’s latest effort to maintain a leading position in the rapidly evolving AI assistant market.

The new audio features enable users to speak to ChatGPT and receive responses in real-time without delay. Users can also interrupt ChatGPT while it is speaking, allowing for more natural conversational flow that has been challenging for AI assistants.

In a blog post, OpenAI chief exec Sam Altman said: "Talking to a computer feels much more natural now.”

OpenAI faces increasing competition as companies race to develop advanced AI technologies and expand the user base for products like ChatGPT, the popular AI chatbot.

At a livestream event, researchers demonstrated ChatGPT's new voice capabilities. One example showed ChatGPT using its vision and voice skills to guide a researcher through solving a maths problem written on paper. Another showcased the model's real-time language translation abilities.

The demonstrations included some lighthearted moments, with ChatGPT engaging in friendly banter with a researcher who complimented its usefulness.

Mira Murati, OpenAI's chief technology officer, said the GPT-4o model will be offered for free to users, as it is more cost-effective than previous models. Paid subscribers will have higher usage limits. Additionally, free ChatGPT users now have a "browse" feature to access up-to-date web information through the chatbot.

Shortly after ChatGPT's launch in late 2022, it rapidly gained over 100 million monthly active users, though traffic has fluctuated since then according to analytics firm Similarweb.

The announcements came one day before Alphabet's annual Google developers' conference, where AI product reveals are expected from the tech giant as well. OpenAI had reportedly planned to unveil an AI-powered search product but delayed that announcement.

As AI capabilities rapidly advance, major tech companies are fiercely competing to lead this transformative technological wave.

Also on Monday, Anthropic, the Amazon and Google-backed AI startup founded by former OpenAI execs Dario and Daniela Amodei, announced that its own chatbot Claude would be made available across the European Union, as well as a handful of non-EU countries in Europe such as Switzerland and Iceland.

Said Dario Amodei, chief exec and co-founder at Anthropic: "Millions of people worldwide are already using Claude to do things like accelerate scientific processes, enhance customer service or refine their writing. I look forward to seeing what people and businesses across Europe create with Claude.”

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