OpenAI Adds Voice Conversation To New ChatGPT Model

Microsoft-backed OpenAI has launched a new AI model called GPT-4o with improved text, video and audio capabilities, as well as a desktop version of ChatGPT and an updated user interface.

The new model is capable of realistic voice conversation and can interact across text and visual modes, OpenAI said at a livestreamed event on Monday, as the company seeks to stay at the forefront of the generative AI technology it popularised in late 2022.

The new model’s Voice Mode can respond to users’ audio prompts in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which OpenAI said is similar to human response time in a conversation.

The model can allow users to interrupt it, another feature similar to a human conversation.

OpenAI chief technical officer Mira Murati. Image credit: OpenAI

Video chats

The company plans to test the voice capabilities in the coming weeks, with early access for paid ChatGPT Plus users.

The company said it eventually plans to allow users to hold video chats with the tool.

“This is the first time that we are really making a huge step forward when it comes to the ease of use,” said the company’s chief technical officer Mira Murati of the new offerings.

She said GPT-4o is twice as fast and runs at half the cost of GPT-4 Turbo, allowing the company to offer it for free.

OpenAI researcher Mark Chen demonstrated the model telling a bedtime story in different tones, being more dramatic or more robotic, and even singing the words.

Voice translation

Chen and Murati demonstrated the tool acting as a translator to facilitate a conversation between them in real time as he spoke English and she spoke Italian.

Team members demonstrated the chatbot using vision capabilities to read a math equation on a sheet of paper and then walk through the solution through speech.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out these capabilities to everyone,” Murati said.

Users accessing GPT-4o for free will face usage restrictions, with usage allowances five times higher for ChatGPT Plus users and greater still for ChatGPT Team and Enterprise.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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