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ChatGPT Is Getting a Major Update. What it Means for Travelers

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Though ChatGPT still has issues and many of its features are in experimental phases, the continued updates paint a clearer picture of the future digital travel assistant.

Travelers could have a robotic voice translator in their pocket with the next updates to ChatGPT. That was the most significant travel-related feature in a group of updates that OpenAI unveiled on Monday. 

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The upgraded translation capabilities are part of the new flagship GPT-4o model for ChatGPT. OpenAI said the model is much faster than the previous version and is better at interacting with voice, photos, and video. 

A live demo of the translation capability showed two OpenAI employees speaking to ChatGPT as if it were a human translator.

OpenAI research lead Mark Chen told ChatGPT to function as a translator. 

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Mira Murati, chief technology officer for OpenAI, then spoke in Italian. The chatbot quickly translated what she said into English. Chen then responded in English, and the chatbot translated the answer into Italian.

An early version of the voice capabilities will be released in the coming weeks, with early access for paid users.

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Better Visual Analysis

OpenAI also said that the newest model is better at understanding photos, and an update is coming soon for video.

The company said in a blog post about the update that a user could now take a photo of a menu and ask ChatGPT to translate it, as well as provide cultural information about a dish and make recommendations about what to order. 

OpenAI also said that users will be able share live video with ChatGPT and ask about what they are seeing.

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Meta made similar announcements recently about its own AI model and its integration into the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.

What It Means

OpenAI first released ChatGPT in November 2022, showcasing what generative AI could do along with the many implications it could have for the travel industry. 

And OpenAI has made a lot of advancements since then. For example: The paid version of ChatGPT includes capabilities for web search with real-time info in partnership with Bing, and plug-ins for travel companies allow users to access information about flights and more.

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Though ChatGPT still has issues and many of its features are in experimental phases, the continued updates paint a clearer picture of the future digital travel assistant.

Generative AI has also impacted how large and small travel companies invest their money and outline their business strategies.

More on Updates

OpenAI said the GPT-4o model has the same intelligence as the previous model with improved quality and speed. 

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The company is beginning to release the new model to paid and unpaid users. The free version of ChatGPT allows a limited number of messages with GPT-4o, and then it automatically switches to GPT-3.5. Paid individual users get limits that are five times higher, and paid business users get higher limits than that.

OpenAI said it is making the latest model available to software developers to integrate into their own products.

The company also said it has released an Apple desktop app for Plus users, and it will become more broadly available in the coming weeks. There are plans to release a Windows version later this year.

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