Introducing ChatGPT
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
Compared to GPT-3.5, GPT-4 is smarter, can handle longer prompts and conversations, and doesn't make as many factual errors. However, GPT-3.5 is faster in generating responses and doesn't come with the hourly prompt restrictions GPT-4 does.

If you’ve been following the rapid development of AI language models used in applications like ChatGPT and Bing AI chat, you’re likely familiar with OpenAI’s GPT-3 and GPT-4. But what about GPT 3.5, the stepping stone between these two AI titans? How does it compare to the latest GPT 4?

What Is GPT 3.5?

GPT 3.5 is, as the name suggests, a sort of bridge between GPT-3 and GPT-4. OpenAI hasn’t really been particularly open about what makes GPT 3.5 specifically better than GPT 3, but it seems that the main goals were to increase the speed of the model and perhaps most importantly to reduce the cost of running it.

Interestingly, what OpenAI has made available to users isn’t the raw core GPT 3.5, but rather several specialized offshoots. For example, GPT 3.5 Turbo is a version that’s been fine-tuned specifically for chat purposes, although it can generally still do all the other things GPT 3.5 can.

What Is GPT 4?

OpenAI’s GPT-4 has emerged as their most advanced language model yet, offering safer and more effective responses. This cutting-edge, multimodal system accepts both text and image inputs and generates text outputs, showcasing human-level performance on an array of professional and academic benchmarks.

When comparing GPT-3 and GPT-4, the difference in their capabilities is striking. GPT-4 has enhanced reliability, creativity, and collaboration, as well as a greater ability to process more nuanced instructions. This marks a significant improvement over the already impressive GPT-3, which often made logic and other reasoning errors with more complex prompts.

Another key distinction between the two models lies in their size. GPT-3 boasts a remarkable 175 billion parameters, while GPT-4 takes it a step further with a (rumored) 1 trillion parameters.

GPT3.5 vs. GPT4: Core Differences Explained

When it comes to GPT-3 versus GPT-4, the key difference lies in their respective model sizes and training data. GPT-4 has a much larger model size, which means it can handle more complex tasks and generate more accurate responses. This is thanks to its more extensive training dataset, which gives it a broader knowledge base and improved contextual understanding.

And boy, does it ever translate into better accuracy! GPT-4 is better equipped to handle longer text passages, maintain coherence, and generate contextually relevant responses. For this reason, it’s an incredibly powerful tool for natural language understanding applications. It’s so complex, some researchers from Microsoft think it’s shows “Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence” or AGI.

But there’s a downside, as with any cutting-edge technology. The significant advancements in GPT-4 come at the cost of increased computational power requirements. This makes it less accessible to smaller organizations or individual developers who may not have the resources to invest in such a high-powered machine. Plus, the higher resource demand also leads to greater energy consumption during the training process, raising environmental concerns.

On the other hand, GPT-4 is just plain smarter than GPT-3.5. It can write much more complex code, solve more complex problems, and learn much more quickly.

Finally, both GPT-3 and GPT-4 grapple with the challenge of bias within AI language models. But GPT-4 seems much less likely to give biased answers, or ones that are offensive to any particular group of people. It’s still entirely possible, but OpenAI has spent more time implementing safeties. GPT-4 is also much less likely than GPT-3.5 to just make things up or provide factually inaccurate responses.

At the time of writing, GPT-4 used through ChatGPT is restricted to 25 prompts every three hours, but this is likely to change over time. GPT-4 is also much, much slower to respond and generate text at this early stage. This is likely thanks to its much larger size, and higher processing requirements and costs.

What About Previous Versions of GPT?

All the mainstream talk about GPT didn’t start until around the time GPT 3 arrived, so you might be wondering what came before it.

The inception of the Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT) series marked a turning point in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. GPT, the first in the series, was unveiled in 2018 by OpenAI. This initial model showcased the power of transformer architecture and unsupervised learning, capturing the attention of researchers and developers. However, it was the release of GPT-2 in 2019 that truly ignited the AI community’s imagination, thanks to its unparalleled ability to generate coherent and contextually relevant text. At the same time, OpenAI wasn’t willing to publically release it over safety concerns,

The launch of GPT-3 in 2020 signaled another breakthrough in the world of AI language models. With its staggering 175 billion+ parameters, GPT-3 offered remarkable language understanding and generation capabilities, allowing for more advanced applications such as machine translation, content generation, and virtual assistants. Despite its impressive achievements, GPT-3 still had room for improvement, paving the way for the development of GPT 3.5, an intermediate model addressing some of the limitations of GPT-3.

When Should You Use GPT 3.5 or GPT 4?

Whether you’re building your own GPT-based app or using ChatGPT and have a choice between GPT 3.5 and 4, there are some use cases where GPT 3.5, despite being objectively inferior to GPT-4, is a better choice:

  • If you’re limited in terms of computing power, GPT 3.5 is significantly cheaper to run.
  • Although GPT-4 is less likely to “hallucinate” or make factual errors than GPT 3.5, it takes the same amount of time for a human to fact-check and edit the text. So if speed is the priority, the older model might be the better choice.

But there are good reasons to GPT 4 as well:

  • If you need GPT to do anything that requires complex reasoning, you’ll want to use GPT-4 every time.
  • If you need GPT to process more than 3000 words at once, you’ll have to go with GPT-4.

Over time, as computing power becomes more powerful and less expensive, while GPT-4 and it’s successors become more efficient and refined, it’s likely that GPT-4 will replace GPT 3.5 in every situation. Until then, you’ll have to choose the model that best suits your resources and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Bing Using GPT-4?

The short answer is yes. Microsoft revealed, following the release and reveal of GPT-4 by OpenAI, that Bing’s AI chat feature had been running on GPT-4 all along. However, given the early troubles Bing AI chat experienced, the AI has been significantly restricted with guardrails put in place limiting what you can talk about and how long chats can last.

Is ChatGPT GPT-4?

At the time of writing, ChatGPT is still mainly running on GPT-3.5 Turbo—the default model for ChatGPT when you start a new chat. However, if you are a paying customer and subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, you can change the model to GPT-4 before you start a chat.

Profile Photo for Sydney Butler Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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