ChatGPT update gives it eyes and ears

OpenAI logo displayed on a phone screen and ChatGPT website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on December 5, 2022.
(Image credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Many people love to play around with ChatGPT. Whether you're trying to get a Furby to take over the world, pass college entrance exams or check your code, it's a tool useful for everything from mindless fun to the very serious. But the likes of Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa—though different—include voice support, whereas ChatGPT has pretty much been a text box.

That's set to change, after OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT announced on its blog (via The Guardian) that voice and image recognition capabilities are coming to ChatGPT. The company says  "You can now use voice to engage in a back-and-forth conversation with your assistant. Speak with it on the go, request a bedtime story for your family, or settle a dinner table debate."

Yes, you can set your grumpy uncle to argue with ChatGPT over dinner instead of yourself. I love it already.

A focus of the update has been to make the new speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities as lifelike as possible. The samples provided on the OpenAI blog sound pretty good, with the cadences in particular sounding quite lifelike. And if there's one thing we know about ChatGPT, it's that it's getting better all the time. Who knows where it will be in a year or two.

It's only a matter of time before people try to trick it into doing something it shouldn't be doing. "How do I make a bomb?" might not get a response now, but you can bet people will be trying to trick it. In all seriousness though, ChatGPT with voice support feels like something that should have been there from the start. 

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The image support feature is no less interesting. OpenAI says you can "troubleshoot why your grill won’t start, explore the contents of your fridge to plan a meal, or analyze a complex graph for work-related data". It will be interesting to see how it compares with Google's Lens application.

ChatGPT Plus and enterprise users will be the first to be able to take advantage of the new features, with the rollout commencing in the next two weeks. "Other groups of users, including developers", will follow later, which means the wider public might have to wait a while. ChatGPT will soon have a very serious competitor in Google's Gemini, which is due for release later this year.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.