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Imagine a world where our cell phones and computers are more than just gadgets — they're personal assistants that can help us navigate life with convenience and ease. Well, welcome to the future, because that reality is here and now. From streamlining online shopping experiences, drafting emails, resumes, and cover letters, to helping plan a dream vacation, artificial intelligence (AI) has stepped out of the realms of outlandish sci-fi movie plots and into our everyday lives. 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the one AI-driven tool that's taken the world by storm is ChatGPT. From helping simplify daily tasks such as meal prepping and workout regimens, to helping consumers save money by coming up with comprehensive shopping lists and travel itineraries, ChatGPT has transformed the way we think and work.

Now, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has launched ChatGPT Plus, an enhanced version of the existing advanced language model (ALM), for $20 a month. But is the souped-up version worth the money? Join us as we explore the AI evolution that's revolutionizing our lives, including what frequent users think, to determine whether ChatGPT Plus is worth the added cost. 

@the.rachel.woods The cost of AI is dropping like crazy. Not to mention this is much cheaper than these models were 2 years ago. 🤯 #rachelwoods #chatgpt #openai #gpt #chatgptapi #openaiplayground ♬ original sound - Rachel | The AI Exchange 🤖

What Is ChatGPT Plus?

Simply put, ChatGPT is "a lot smarter" than its previous language model, users say. 

Developed by OpenAI, the revamped model has been trained to understand and generate human-like text in a faster and more accurate way, while providing faster response times, and giving users "priority access to new features and improvements." According to the San Francisco-based company, ChatGPT Plus provides "40% more likely to produce factual responses" and "leverages more data and more computation to create increasingly sophisticated and capable language models."

The chatbot can even crack a joke or two, and can be used as a "shoulder to lean on when you need someone to talk to." (Yes, that last bit is what ChatGPT says about itself, but I've seen too many sci-fi movies to know that AIs pretend to act all nice and endearing before turning evil and trying to take over the world). 

But who knows, perhaps ChatGPT really is just an innocent tool (please don't come after me) that can indeed help make our lives easier. In fact, the new model is so sophisticated that it can help users create lengthy blog posts and movie scripts, tutor students in a variety of school subjects, write code, break down technical problems, and more. 

ChatGPT PromptPhoto credit: Alina Wang/Cheapism

How Does ChatGPT Plus Work? 

Like its predecessors, ChatGPT Plus is based on "transformer architecture," which, without delving too much into AI jargon, means it's really good at understanding context and prompts, experts say. The model has been trained on a broad range of data from the internet and other sources of information since 2021, but it doesn't have access to personal data (unless explicitly provided during the conversation), and it also doesn't store and share chats with third-party vendors or business entities. 

Though ChatGPT's basic version is free for anyone to use, the paid tier promises extra perks and features such as general access even when the service is at full capacity, faster response times, and an improved understanding of longer prompts, its creators say. 

Redditors say the "Plus" version can simplify numerous tasks, including:

  • Content Creation: Need help crafting an article or blog post? ChatGPT Plus can help sprinkle some creativity while helping you churn out content in the blink of an eye.

  • Email and Document Drafting: If you find yourself struggling to proofread or compose a professional email or document, the chat model can help guide your thoughts into clear, effective communication.

  • Learning Aid: Stuck on a complex concept or homework? ChatGPT Plus can step in as a supportive tutor, helping learners unravel diverse subjects. However, this can also be a slippery slope as the chatbot can also potentially help students solve homework assignments, write essays, and more. (Talk about an odd time to be a college professor). 

  • Programming Assistance: If you work in tech and come across a technical issue or coding glitch, ChatGPT Plus can offer insightful tips, and can even decipher basic code snippets to help lighten your workload. 

  • Emotional Support: Need a sympathetic presence to share your concerns with? While it's no substitute for human connection, ChatGPT Plus can lend a non-judgmental "ear,"  to create a space for those in need of a good venting sesh.

Chatbot Chat with AI, Artificial Intelligence. man using technology smart robot AI, artificial intelligence by enter command prompt for generates something, Futuristic technology transformation.Photo credit: Userba011d64_201/istockphoto

What Do Users Think?

The majority of users on the subreddit r/ChatGPT seemed to agree on the consensus that ChatGPT Plus is worth the $20 monthly subscription. "Yes, the speed increase is amazing. All responses are almost instant," writes u/Guilty-Resident, adding that despite certain features not being available yet, it is still worth taking it for a spin. "You can't yet use GPT 4 to its full potential as it's limited and slow. Still, for me personally, it was worth it."

"I think it is worth it," seconds another Redditor, u/The_Lovely_Blue_Faux, describing how the chatbot has helped them with schoolwork. "It is helping with being my personal math tutor by making scripts in Python to visualize the concepts and relationships between concepts."

On the other hand, the "Plus" model is also not perfect and can still make mistakes, users say. "Using it for programming, it's annoying that it invents stuff," writes u/Heroe-D, describing how the chatbot couldn't figure out how to correctly solve a basic coding problem. "I've tried it seriously yesterday for the first time and was disappointed, it couldn't even figure out a 'one for loop' problem both in TS and python." 

The Redditor noted that after trying it out at a later time, however, the model did come up with correct answers. "Maybe it's way less performant during peak hours," writes u/Heroe-D, adding, "Similarly, day one it made mistakes when I asked him a simple bash script, but when you tell him it's wrong, it accepts it and explains why." 

Other Redditors also noted that the model isn't as fast as it claims to be. "[ChatGPT Plus] is actually slower by a significant amount. It's just smarter. And you only get to use it so much even paying the 20 bucks," writes u/dfreinc. Indeed, GPT-4 "currently has a cap of 25 messages every 3 hours," says the server. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you need help with work, school, or just want someone (or something) to chat with, ChatGPT's new AI companion can be a useful tool that can make everyday tasks feel like a breeze, or at least make them a lot more manageable. Let's just hope it won't steal all our jobs soon, too. But until then, cheers to technology for making our lives easier, one algorithm at a time. 

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