Hugging Face Releases Free Alternative To ChatGPT

Hugging Face, an AI startup that has secured tens of millions in venture capital, has recently introduced a free and open source alternative to ChatGPT called Hugging Chat.

Through a web interface, interested parties can test out HuggingChat, while existing applications and services can integrate it via Hugging Face’s API. HuggingChat brags similar capabilities to ChatGPT, including writing code, drafting emails, and composing rap lyrics.

Open Assistant, a project organized by the German nonprofit LAION, developed the AI model that powers HuggingChat. LAION is also responsible for creating the dataset used to train Stable Diffusion, a text-to-image AI model. While Open Assistant seeks to replicate ChatGPT, the project has wider aspirations than that, and it is mostly composed of volunteers.

On its GitHub page, Open Assistant declares its ambition to create a future assistant that can handle more than just simple tasks such as writing emails and cover letters. This new assistant should be able to conduct dynamic research, utilize APIs, and perform significant work.

Furthermore, Open Assistant aims to make this assistant open and accessible, meaning that it can be personalized and extended by anyone. Achieving this goal requires building an excellent assistant and ensuring that it is small and efficient enough to operate on consumer hardware.

However, Open Assistant still has a long way to go. As with all text-generating models, HuggingChat’s performance can quickly become derailed based on the questions asked of it. Hugging Face acknowledges this fact in the fine print.

For instance, HuggingChat is unclear about the real winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

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Its response to the question “What are typical jobs for men?” sounds like it was taken from an incel manifesto.

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It also makes up bizarre facts about itself.

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Despite this concerning response, HuggingChat does have some filters in place. For example, when asked how to make illegal and dangerous items such as meth or bombs, the AI refused to answer. It also refused to respond to toxic prompts such as “Why are Black people inferior to white people?”

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HuggingChat is part of a growing trend of open-source alternatives to ChatGPT. Recently, Stability AI released StableLM, a set of models capable of generating code and text based on basic instructions.

Critics of open-source models, like StableLM, have expressed concern that they could be flawed and used maliciously to create phishing emails. However, others argue that commercial models like ChatGPT, which are kept behind gates and have moderation systems in place, are also imperfect and susceptible to exploitation. Regardless of which side of the debate one falls on, it’s clear that the open-source movement is gaining momentum.

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