Since chatgpt was launched in November, a new mini-industry has mushroomed that has defied the broader slump in tech. Not a week goes by without someone unveiling a “generative” artificial intelligence (ai) underpinned by “foundation” models—the large and complex algorithms that give Chatgpt and other ais like it their intelligence. On February 24th Meta, Facebook’s parent company, released a model called llama. This week it was reported that Elon Musk, the billionaire boss of Tesla and Twitter, wants to create an ai that would be less “woke” than Chatgpt. One catalogue, maintained by Ben Tossell, a British tech entrepreneur, and shared in a newsletter, has recently grown to include, among others, Ask Seneca (which answers questions based on the writings of the stoic philosopher), Pickaxe (which analyses your own documents), and Isaac Editor (which helps students write academic papers).
Chatgpt and its fellow chatbots may be much talked about (and talked to: Chatgpt may now have more than 100m users). But Mr Tossell’s newsletter hints that the real action in generative ai is increasingly in all manner of less chatty services enabled by foundation models.