GPT-4 is the newest large language model created by artificial intelligence company OpenAI. It is capable of generating content with more accuracy, nuance and proficiency than its predecessor, GPT-3.5, which powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
What Is GPT-4?
GPT-4 is OpenAI’s large language model that generates content with more accuracy, nuance and proficiency than previous models. It also has multimodal capabilities, allowing it to accept both text and image inputs and produce natural language text outputs.
Launched in March of 2023, GPT-4 is available with a $20 monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus, as well as through an API that enables paying customers to build their own products with the model. GPT-4 can also be accessed for free via platforms like Hugging Face and Microsoft’s Bing Chat. Meanwhile, the free version of ChatGPT is still powered by GPT-3.5.
What Is GPT-4?
GPT-4 is OpenAI’s fourth and most recent version of its large language model. GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer, meaning the model is a type of neural network that generates natural, fluent text by predicting the next most-likely word or phrase.
GPTs require petabytes of data and typically have at least a billion parameters, which are variables enabling a model to output new text. More parameters typically indicate a more intricate understanding of language, leading to improved performance across various tasks. While the exact size of GPT-4 has not been publicly disclosed, it is rumored to exceed 1 trillion parameters. For comparison, GPT-3.5 has roughly 175 billion parameters.
What Can GPT-4 Do?
Because it is a multimodal language model, GPT-4 accepts both text and image inputs and produces human-like text as outputs. For example, if a user feeds GPT-4 a graph, the model can generate plain-language summarizations or analyses based on that graph. Or if a user inputs a photograph of their refrigerator, GPT-4 can offer recipe ideas.
People use GPT-4 to do their taxes, write books and create entire websites. Edtech company Khan Academy used the model to create an AI-assisted math tutor. Vision assistance app Be My Eyes made a GPT-4-powered feature to identify objects for people who are blind or have limited vision. And legal AI company Casetext used GPT-4 to make a research tool for lawyers.
GPT-4 vs. GPT-3.5
GPT-4 is a significantly larger and more powerful model than GPT-3.5, surpassing its predecessor’s capabilities. “GPT-4 really is the next-gen model,” Pablo Arredondo, co-founder of legal AI company Casetext who has used and researched GPT-4, told Built In. “We didn’t just cross the inflection point, we leapfrogged over it.”
GPT-4 Is Multimodal
GPT-4 has the capacity to understand images and draw logical conclusions from them. For example, when presented with a photo of helium balloons and asked what would happen if the strings were cut, GPT-4 accurately responded that the balloons would fly away. Meanwhile, GPT-3.5 can only handle text inputs.
GPT-4 Can Handle More Words
GPT-4 can analyze, read and generate up to 25,000 words — more than eight times the capacity of GPT-3.5. This means the new model can both accept longer prompts and generate longer entries, making it ideal for tasks like long-form content creation, extended conversations and document search and analysis.
GPT-4 Is Better at Advanced Reasoning
OpenAI says GPT-4 excels beyond GPT-3.5 in advanced reasoning, meaning it can apply its knowledge in more nuanced and sophisticated ways.
To prove it, the newer model was given a battery of professional and academic benchmark tests. While it was “less capable than humans” in many scenarios, it exhibited “human-level performance” on several of them, according to OpenAI. For example, GPT-4 managed to score well enough to be within the top 10 percent of test takers in a simulated bar exam, whereas GPT-3.5 was at the bottom 10 percent. GPT-4 also outperformed other models in language translation.
GPT-4 Is Better at Following Instructions
GPT-4 is also “much better” at following instructions than GPT-3.5, according to Julian Lozano, a software engineer who has made several products using both models. When Lozano helped make a natural language search engine for talent, he noticed that GPT-3.5 required users to be more explicit in their queries about what to do and what not to do.
“There’s endless amounts of edge cases where it just wouldn’t understand,” Lozano told Built In. “Or if you had a lot of instructions in one prompt, it would get confused.”
Meanwhile, GPT-4 is better at “understanding multiple instructions in one prompt,” Lozano said. Because it reliably handles more nuanced instructions, GPT-4 can assist in everything from routine obligations like managing a busy schedule to more creative work like producing poems and stories.
GPT-4 Is More Creative
While GPT-3.5 can generate creative content, GPT-4 goes a step further by producing everything from songs to screenplays with more coherence and originality. OpenAI says it can even learn a user’s writing style.
Lozano has seen this creativity first hand with GhostWriter, a GPT-4 powered mobile app he created to help musicians write song lyrics. When he first prompted the app to write a rap, he was amazed by what came out.
“Usually [GPT-3.5] would come up with cutesy poems,” Lozano said. “But GPT-4 was generating something that Eminem would write.”
GPT-4 Is More Trustworthy
OpenAI also claims that GPT-4 is generally more trustworthy than GPT-3.5, returning more factual answers. This is backed up by a 2023 paper published by more than a dozen researchers from Center for AI Safety, Microsoft Research and several universities — who gave GPT-4 a higher trustworthiness score than its predecessor.
While GPT-4 is better than GPT-3.5 in a variety of ways, it is still prone to the same limitations as previous GPT models — particularly when it comes to the inaccuracy of its outputs.
Like all language models, GPT-4 hallucinates, meaning it generates false or misleading information as if it were correct. Although OpenAI says the new model makes things up less often than previous models, it is “still flawed, still limited,” as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman put it. So it shouldn’t be used for high-stakes applications like medical diagnoses or financial advice without some kind of human intervention.
And while GPT-4 is more trustworthy than GPT-3.5, it is more vulnerable to jailbreaking, according to that 2023 research paper — meaning it is easier to bypass a models’ ethical safeguards and elicit biased, harmful, or otherwise prohibited information. “It can still generate very toxic content,” Bo Li, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who co-authored the paper, told Built In.
“It can still generate very toxic content.”
OpenAI says it updates and improves GPT-4 at a “regular cadence,” which means these limitations and others will likely improve with time. But Li doesn’t think they will be entirely solved.
After all, the data used to train these models is imperfect. Not to mention the fact that even AI experts have a hard time figuring out exactly how and why language models generate the outputs they do. So, to actually solve the accuracy problems facing GPT-4 and other large language models,“we still have a long way to go,” Li said.
What Comes After GPT-4
In 2023, Sam Altman told the Financial Times that OpenAI is in the early stages of developing its GPT-5 model, which will inevitably be bigger and better than GPT-4. Ultimately, the company’s stated mission is to realize artificial general intelligence (AGI), a hypothetical benchmark at which AI could perform tasks as well as — or perhaps better than — a human.
While research suggests that GPT-4 has shown “sparks” of artificial general intelligence, it is nowhere near true AGI. But Altman predicted that it could be accomplished in a “reasonably close-ish future” at the 2024 World Economic Forum — a timeline as ambiguous as it is optimistic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is GPT-4 available to the public?
GPT-4 is publicly available through OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus subscription, which costs $20/month. It is also available as an API, enabling paying customers to build their own products with the model.
Can I use GPT-4 for free?
GPT-4 costs $20 a month through OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus subscription, but can also be accessed for free on platforms like Hugging Face and Microsoft’s Bing Chat.
How do I get access to GPT-4?
GPT-4 can be accessed through OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus, Hugging Face and Microsoft’s Bing Chat.