AI showdown: Here’s which chatbots came out on top after a test run

Mar 18, 2024, 4:05 AM

We put three chatbots to the test to see which one came out on top. (Pexels File Photo)...

We put three chatbots to the test to see which one came out on top. (Pexels File Photo)

(Pexels File Photo)

As I scour 35 to 40 websites a day to make sure I’m up to speed on the tech world, I’m seeing a common theme: drama. There’s a lot of it in the AI world right now, and unsurprisingly, it’s mainly humans causing the buzz. While everyone from Elon Musk to The New York Times is busy suing OpenAI, I’m just focused on whether these AI chatbots actually work.

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So, how useful are they, really? I did the work for you. I compared the free versions of ChatGPT from OpenAI, Google Gemini and Perplexity to see how well they helped with some real-life scenarios.

First, I backed out of “Aunt Patty’s” family meal …

Without hurting her feelings, of course. I got our three bots to draft an email politely excusing me from a family meal put on by an imaginary aunt. We’ve all been there.

  • ChatGPT offered “my sincerest appreciation” for the aunt, mentioning that “I truly value the time we spend as a family” and that it was a “difficult decision” not to attend. A little too dramatic for me.
  • Perplexity started with thanks for the meal “you graciously organize each year,” mentioning “heartfelt gratitude” for the event, “regret” and “apologies” that I wouldn’t make it this time around. It felt impersonal.

Winner: Gemini. It acknowledged the “effort and love” the aunt was putting into the “special gathering” and said I was “incredibly disappointed to miss out.” Bonus: It suggested an alternative, like a video call.

Then, I launched a “million-dollar” business

“Shark Tank” here I come! I asked the bots to write a pitch for my hot new business idea: A phone case that physically locks your handset so you’re not distracted from work or family time.

  • Gemini called it “LockAway” and promised “focused productivity” from this innovative product. Gemini said it “isn’t just about protecting your phone — it’s about protecting your time and attention.” OK, not bad.
  • Perplexity’s genius name? “Smartphone Case with a Lock.” Step aside, Steve Jobs … It did come up with a decent tagline, though: “where productivity meets peace of mind.”

Winner: ChatGPT’s “FocusGuard.” I’m giving this one to ChatGPT (and not just because it was the most flattering). It was the most imaginative and even included made-up quotes! It raved about “Focus Guard’s” “ingenious” benefits for productivity, well-being and relationships.

Last up, I planned a hike

Of course, these big models don’t actually “know” anything, but they’ve read a lot of human knowledge — so I asked for some advice on planning a short hike with my husband.

  • Gemini was all about the ambiance. It talked more about how to choose a route and even the scenery we wanted to see (rolling green hills, please!). It also suggested safety gear like water and first aid.
  • Perplexity’s advice was brief and vague. It mentioned water and a first aid kit — glad we agreed. It did include some handy links though, including one to figure out how long a hike might take. (Fun fact: A Scottish hiker developed the method in 1892!)

My favorite: ChatGPT. It hit all the basics in a super clear and concise way — bullet points for the win! It reminded me to check the weather, research the trail, tell someone where we were going, avoid the hottest part of the day and (of course) bring water and first aid. Bonus: It reminded me not to litter in nature.

Final score: ChatGPT 2, Gemini 1, Perplexity 0

Listen, if AI can help us avoid awkward social interactions, it’ll be a crowning achievement. For now, they’re still autocorrect machines dialed up to 11— and I’m not sure I’d outsource any of these jobs to AI entirely just yet, but they do offer a good starting point.

Keep your tech-know going

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AI showdown: Here’s which chatbots came out on top after a test run