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Introduction to AI tools

Introduction to AI tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) is steadily permeating our lives, subtly influencing the way we work, interact, and even think. From crafting highly targeted marketing campaigns to streamlining workflows across departments, AI tools offer a treasure trove of capabilities. They automate boring tasks, freeing us up to focus on what truly matters – strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, and achieving that elusive work-life balance.

But AI isn’t some brand new invention. Believe it or not, you’ve probably been interacting with AI for years without even realizing it. Those spam filters keeping your inbox clean? Powered by AI. The eerily accurate recommendations on your favorite streaming service? You guessed it, AI again. 

Previously, AI has functioned unobtrusively, contributing significantly to various processes. Now, it stands poised to assume a more important role, becoming a valuable business partner.

How does AI learn and adapt?

AI functionality can be broken down into a continuous learning cycle. First, data serves as the fuel for AI. This data, in various formats like text, audio, or video, is carefully prepared. Usable data is fed into the system based on predefined protocols and criteria.

Equipped with algorithms trained to identify patterns, the AI analyzes the data to uncover hidden relationships and trends. These patterns are then used to generate predictions, often in the form of classifications or probabilities. For instance, an AI might predict customer behavior or market trends.

However, the learning doesn’t stop there. Through continuous assessment, if its predictions fall short, adjustments are made. It’s like the AI is constantly refining its skills, learning from its mistakes and becoming more accurate over time.

The final stage is all about putting the knowledge to work. The AI synthesizes the insights collected from the data to make informed assessments and guide decision-making. This is where different types of AI software come into play. 

Natural language processing (NLP) allows AI to understand and respond to human language, powering chatbots that interact with us seamlessly. Computer vision empowers AI with the ability to “see,” analyzing images and videos to identify objects and recognize patterns.

Big data processing approaches massive datasets, leveraging powerful computing to extract valuable insights. And decision-making algorithms, employing techniques like neural networks, help us make optimal choices with the highest probability of success.

Types of AI tools 

AI tools come in various forms, each tailored to address specific needs and tasks within the realm of AI. Some of the most popular AI tools include:

  • Generative AI tools
  • Conversational AI
  • Recommendation engines

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and the possibilities with AI tools are constantly expanding. As AI continues to learn and evolve, we can expect even more remarkable tools to emerge.

Generative AI tools

Generative AI tools represent a category of artificial intelligence capable of generating diverse content, from images and music to text and code. Unlike traditional AI that follows set rules, generative AI uses machine learning (ML) algorithms to learn patterns from massive datasets. 

Evolution of generative AI tools

The pioneering ML models for text relied on human guidance. Researchers would train these models by classifying various inputs according to predefined labels, such as labeling social media posts as positive or negative. This approach, known as supervised learning, essentially involved humans “teaching” the model how to interpret information.

The next generation of text-based models, however, takes a different approach, called self-supervised learning. This approach entails providing the model with extensive amounts of textual data. By analyzing this data, the model can identify patterns and make predictions. Through these self-created tasks, the model gradually builds an internal understanding of language structure and relationships.

The 5 most popular generative AI tools

While there are many text-based AI tools available, each with its own set of pros and cons, we’ll highlight some of the most used options here, providing descriptions of each tool. This way, you can make an informed decision about which tool best suits your needs.

1. ChatGPT

Developed by OpenAI and launched on November 30, 2022, ChatGPT stands as OpenAI’s most widely used tool to date… Wait, why not let him introduce himself?

For this purpose, we asked the ChatGPT to tell us something about himself, and here’s the output:

“I’m ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. My purpose is to assist you with a wide range of tasks, whether you need information, advice, creative input, or just someone to chat with. I’m trained on a diverse dataset, so feel free to ask me anything within reason, and I’ll do my best to help!”

Leveraging large language models (LLMs), the tool empowers users to shape conversations according to various parameters such as length, style, detail, and language. 

This means ChatGPT can adapt its responses based on the ongoing conversation, allowing for more natural and engaging interactions. OpenAI has also announced its experimental premium subscription, ChatGPT Plus, for users who need additional processing power, and early access to new features. 

GPT-4 is the most recent version of OpenAI’s LLM, developed after GPT-3 and GPT-3.5, marketed as being more inventive and accurate while also being characterized as safer and more stable than its predecessors.

Free and paid subscriptions in ChatGPT

OpenAI offers both free and paid access to their large language models. The free tier offers unlimited use of their GPT-3.5 model, allowing you to interact and experiment with AI content creation on various devices. 

However, their Plus tier, priced at $20 per month, unlocks access to their latest and most capable model, GPT-4. This upgrade comes with higher message limits and additional tools like image generation (DALL-E), web browsing capabilities for GPT-4, and advanced data analysis.

The pricing table for ChatGPT subscription service. Source: ChatGPT 

Choosing between the paid and free versions depends on your specific needs. The free version of ChatGPT offers a wide range of functionalities, including generating text summaries, stories, jokes, shopping lists, code, letters, schedules, resumes, and solutions to math problems, all without requiring a subscription.

Essentially, if you’re a casual user, the free ChatGPT should be fine. Also, using Microsoft’s Copilot is similar to using ChatGPT Plus, but it’s free unless you decide to pay. 

Just know that Copilot and ChatGPT give different kinds of answers: Copilot pulls together info from various sources, while ChatGPT sounds more natural in its responses.

In addition, the ChatGPT app is now available for download on both Android and iOS devices. Users can access it through either the Google Play Store or the App Store.


DALL-E is a series of text-to-image models developed by OpenAI, the same company behind the ChatGPT language model. It can be seen as an extension of the GPT architecture into the visual realm. DALL-E takes natural language prompts as input and generates corresponding images as output.

It can also be used to edit and enhance existing ones. You can provide DALL-E with an image and text instructions, and it will modify the image based on your specifications. DALL-E even allows for “inpainting,” where you select specific areas within an image and provide instructions for those areas only.

The history of OpenAI’s DALL-E

DALL-E is named as a blend of “DALL” (short for “Data-Driven Approach to Language Learning”) and “Pixar’s WALL-E.”

The original DALL-E, released in January 2021, laid the foundation for future advancements. While not as powerful as its successors, it demonstrated the potential for AI-powered image generation.

One year later, OpenAI launched DALL-E 2, the version that boasts the ability to generate very realistic and creative images based on user descriptions. It allows for customization of style (photorealistic, painting, etc.) and the merging of different concepts in imaginative ways.

The latest version, called DALL-E 3, was released in August 2023, and the company claims that: 

“DALL-E 3 understands significantly more nuance and detail than our previous systems, allowing you to easily translate your ideas into exceptionally accurate images.”

The image below illustrates the difference between the output of the DALL-E 2 and DALL-E 3 versions, both generated from the identical prompt: “An expressive oil painting of a chocolate chip cookie being dipped in a glass of milk, depicted as an explosion of flavors.”

The output difference between DALL-E 2 and DALL-E 3 versions. Source: OpenAI

DALL-E availability and available alternatives

OpenAI offers DALL-E to users subscribed to ChatGPT Plus, Teams, and Enterprise plans. Additionally, developers can leverage its capabilities through their API, which typically requires a paid subscription.

However, in the realm of DALL-E alternatives, there are diverse options available, with some being entirely free of charge while others require a subscription for access.

  • Midjourney – Initially offered a free trial with 25 images in July 2022, but this program was discontinued in April 2023. Currently, paid subscriptions are required for access.

The pricing table for Midjourney subscription service. Source: Midjourney

  • Stable Diffusion – Offers features like text-based image generation, image editing, and style control, all accessible from your web browser on Windows, Mac, or even Google Colab. While the core functionality is free, there’s also an upgrade plan available for users who want access to additional features.

The upgrade plan for Stable Diffusion. Source: Stable Diffusion

3. Google Gemini

We asked ChatGPT to tell us something about Google Gemini (formerly Bard), and he stated:

“As of my last update in January 2022, I don’t have specific information about a product or project called “Google Gemini.” It’s possible that it could be a newer development or a project introduced after my last update. If it’s a recent development, I recommend checking the latest news from reliable sources or the official announcements from Google for accurate information about Google Gemini.”

This perfectly illustrates a major weakness of the free ChatGPT – outdated information. 

In contrast to other chatbots, Google Gemini possesses real-time access to Google Search. This allows it to integrate the most recent information into its responses. As a result, users interacting with Gemini benefit from both its internal knowledge and the latest online information.

Google Gemini’s chatbot journey

Google first announced Bard, in February, 2023, and it was launched a month later, on March 21. Since its launch, Google’s LLM has seen continuous improvements. 

Initially, the chatbot relied on a streamlined version of LaMDA, a neural network architecture built by Google in 2017. This focus on efficiency allowed Bard to serve a wider audience with minimal computing resources. Interestingly, both Bard (powered by LaMDA) and its competitor, ChatGPT, leveraged the Transformer architecture.

However, user feedback suggested that Bard’s performance wasn’t meeting expectations. Google reacted quickly, implementing an upgrade in May 2023. The new engine, PaLM 2, a more advanced iteration of PaLM released earlier in 2022, notably enhanced the efficiency and overall capabilities of what is now known as Gemini.

Then, in December 2023, Google upgraded their chatbot again and formerly Bard was renamed Gemini almost a year after its launch.

Free and paid subscriptions in Google Gemini

While the core functionality of Gemini is available for free, Google offers an advanced version called Gemini Advanced through their Google One subscription service. This upgraded version leverages Google’s most powerful AI model, 1.0 Ultra, promising state-of-the-art performance for complex tasks.

The upgrade plan for Google Gemini. Source: Google One

You can download the free Gemini app for Android or access it within the Google app on iOS. Also, on Android phones, you can choose Gemini to replace Google Assistant entirely.

4. Claude

Claude represents a suite of fundamental AI models adaptable across various applications. In March 2024, a company called Anthropic, dedicated to safe and beneficial AI development announced the Claude 3 model family.

The Claude 3 family includes three models, each offering a progressively stronger level of capability: Haiku, Sonnet, and Opus. They excel at both understanding and generating human-like text, as well as interpreting visual information. This capability allows them to analyze both images and text simultaneously, and then produce written responses that closely resemble human language. 

As you move up the range, these models provide a blend of intelligence, speed, and cost-effectiveness, allowing users to choose the perfect fit for their specific needs.

Claude 3 models. Source: Anthropic

Claude availability and price

A convenient and direct way to interact with Claude AI is through its website. The site offers a user-friendly demo chatbox where you can ask questions and receive responses directly from Claude. This serves as a great opportunity to experience Claude’s capabilities firsthand and gain a practical understanding of its functionalities. 

The pricing table for Claude subscription service. Source: Anthropic

However, free access comes with limitations. The number of responses you can receive might be capped, and the information Claude can access might be focused primarily on introducing new users to its potential. To unlock Claude’s full potential, a subscription is required.

Also, it is important to note that Claude is currently available only in certain regions.

5. Microsoft Copilot

In September 2023, Microsoft introduced Copilot, an AI assistant aimed at supercharging productivity across its various applications. Initially offered as a free update for Windows 11, Copilot has since been integrated into other Microsoft products like Bing and the Microsoft 365 suite.

The way Copilot functions depends on the platform you’re using. On Windows 11, it acts as a creative partner within applications like Paint and Photos, offering suggestions and streamlining workflows. 

When using Bing, Copilot personalizes search results based on your past searches and even facilitates an AI-powered shopping experience. 

For those with a Microsoft 365 subscription, Copilot becomes a work-focused companion. It automates repetitive tasks, gathers information, and even assists with crafting and summarizing emails.

Copilot availability and price

The good news is you can access its core features for free. This includes interacting with Copilot through text, voice, or even images on the web, within Windows, the Edge browser, and their mobile apps. It can summarize documents and webpages, or even create images based on your requests. 

However, if you want to use Copilot within Microsoft 365 applications like Word or Excel, you’ll need a subscription. This unlocks advanced features that personalize results based on your data and give you a performance boost with faster response times and image generation.

There are three versions of Copilot: Free, Copilot Pro, and Copilot for Microsoft 365.

The pricing table for Copilot subscription service. Source: Microsoft

As mentioned before, Copilot utilizes advanced generative AI technologies developed by OpenAI, specifically ChatGPT-4 and DALL-E 3. While accessing these tools through ChatGPT would require a ChatGPT Plus subscription fee, Copilot provides them for free.

Conversational AI

While both chatbots and conversational AI are used for communication, there’s a key difference in their capabilities. Chatbots provide a starting point for automation but lack the sophistication to navigate real-world complexities. 

Conversational AI, on the other hand, offers a more natural and engaging experience, handling complex questions, responding to different phrasings, and even learning from your interactions. 

Imagine a conversation with a highly knowledgeable and helpful assistant who gets better at understanding you as you interact. This is powered by machine learning, automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing, allowing the AI to understand the meaning behind your words.

The most popular usage of conversational AI

Virtual assistants

Virtual assistants are AI-powered programs built into smart speakers or accessible through smartphone apps, enabling us to control our technology using natural language – simply speak your request, and your assistant will do its best to fulfill it.

The hands-free function of virtual assistants offers important convenience, enabling users to manage their devices even when their hands are busy. 

Additionally, virtual assistants act as important aids for accessibility, empowering people with disabilities by providing voice-operated access to technology.

Famous virtual assistant models:

  • Amazon Alexa – Featured in Amazon Echo gadgets, Alexa is a favored option with a wide range of abilities and integrates smoothly with smart home devices.
  • Google Assistant – Embedded in Google Home devices and numerous Android phones, Google Assistant is famous for its excellent search capabilities and ability to adapt to your preferences.
  • Apple Siri – A recognizable voice on iPhones and iPads, Siri stands out for its compatibility with other Apple products and services.

Customer Service and Support

AI technology revolutionizes customer service by offering 24/7 accessibility and efficient interaction. Conversational AI, powered by natural language processing, understands even poorly phrased inquiries.

This allows businesses to handle a wider range of customer issues, guide them through processes, and answer their questions, without needing a human agent for every interaction. The result? Faster resolutions, happier customers, and reduced costs.

Recommendation Engines

Have you ever scrolled through a streaming service and thought, “damn! they get me.” Or shopped online and been met by a barrage of suggestions that almost seem tailor-made? That’s how AI recommendation engines operate.

These are software tools that employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to recommend items, services or content to users. They go through huge volumes of data like user behavior, likes and past buys in order to discern trends and predict what a user will want next.

Recommendation engines are everywhere you look online, and here are some common examples:

  • Streaming services like Netflix – They suggest movies and shows based on your watch history and ratings.
  • Social media platforms – Recommend friends, groups, and content you might be interested in.
  • E-commerce platforms such as eBay or Amazon – Recommended products based on browsing history and past purchases.
  • Music streaming services (e.g Spotify, Apple Music) – Playlists and suggested new artists based on your listening habits.

Why are people afraid of AI?

It is a common fact that people are often afraid of the new and unfamiliar. While some fears are realistic, and let’s say understandable, others are simply bizarre and inexplicable. Urban legends or not, these are some of the weirdest examples and situations that have been recorded in the world:

  • A woman in Texas reported her robot vacuum cleaner had gone rogue, escaping the house and leading police on a bizarre chase.
  • A Florida man, convinced his smart toaster was spying on him for the government, rigged it to explode.
  • Some people are worried that AI could become so adept at analyzing data that it could predict and exploit people’s deepest fears.
  • Some parents fear AI nannies could develop their own ideas about child-rearing.

Joking aside, people are often most afraid that AI will replace humans in their workplaces, causing mass unemployment. 

In addition, AI systems rely on massive amounts of data, raising privacy and security concerns. In the wrong hands, AI could be used for mass surveillance or cybercrime.

Therefore, understanding how AI works, its capabilities and limitations, is critical. The more you learn, the less mysterious and intimidating it becomes. Explore reliable sources and reputable articles to gain a solid foundation. 

Remember, AI is a tool, and like any tool, it depends on how we use it. To make sure AI benefits humanity, we need to approach it with knowledge, focus on its potential and critically evaluate it.

Ethics of Artificial intelligence

AI ethics is a field concerned with the ethical implications of developing and using artificial intelligence. It’s a set of moral principles meant to guide responsible creation and use of AI tools. These principles aim to ensure that AI systems are developed and used in a manner that is fair, transparent, accountable, and aligned with human values and societal norms.

To address these growing concerns, various organizations are actively developing ethical guidelines for AI. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), adopted the first-ever global agreement on AI ethics, the “Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence“, in November 2021. The recommendation, adopted by all 193 member states, outlines ten core principles that guide ethical AI development and use, by prioritizing human rights and dignity.

Beyond international organizations, the private sector is playing a crucial role. Major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM have established AI ethics teams and published ethical frameworks for their own AI development and deployment.

Furthermore, the academic community is actively contributing to the field of AI ethics. Philosophers, computer scientists, legal scholars, and social scientists are engaged in ongoing research and publishing. Their contributions range from identifying potential risks to proposing solutions and shaping responsible development practices.

In essence, the field of AI tools is rapidly expanding, presenting a multitude of possibilities to enhance productivity, creativity, and decision-making across various sectors. However, as AI undergoes continuous development, it is crucial to address ethical concerns and guarantee responsible creation and implementation. 

Through a comprehensive understanding of AI’s capabilities, limitations, and ethical considerations, we can use its potential to simplify our lives while minimizing potential risks. 

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