ChatGPT-4o is a monumental free AI upgrade that adds human-like conversations, faster replies, and flirting

example of a transcript with chatpgt-4o on the ipad app with the logo of openAI's chatgpt in the background

ChatGPT-4o is the next-generation AI model from OpenAI and unlocks natural conversations in real-time and the ability for the chatbot to identify items inside images and audio files

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 14/05/2024

- 11:08

Updated: 15/05/2024

- 16:07

The AI chatbot can also draw on its own memories

  • ChatGPT-4o will be a free upgrade rolling out "over the next few weeks"
  • The upgraded AI model will be available to paid subscribers and free users
  • You can have real-time conversations with ChatGPT-4o
  • In a demo, the AI chatbot taught maths and flirted with OpenAI researchers
  • Many have compared the latest innovation to Scarlett Johansson film Her

ChatGPT maker OpenAI has announced a seismic upgrade to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that powers its popular chatbot, unlocking the ability to have realistic voice conversations, and improving its ability to understand audio, images, and text.

The upgrade — known as GPT-4o — has dramatically cut the amount of time you'll be waiting for an answer from the all-knowing 'bot, promising an almost human-like response time. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman penned in a blog post: "It feels like AI from the movies ... Talking to a computer has never felt really natural for me; now it does."

In one demo, ChatGPT-4o was able to harmonise and sing with a second device also running ChatGPT.

Industry watchers have compared ChatGPT-4o to the AI voiced by Scarlett Johansson in the Academy Award-winning film Her by Spike Jonze. In the film, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) develops a romantic relationship with an AI chatbot, who speaks to him via an earpiece.

At its latest livestream event, researchers from OpenAI demoed ChatGPT's new voice assistant capabilities. In one demo, ChatGPT used its vision and voice capabilities to talk a researcher through solving a math equation on a sheet of paper. In another demo, researchers showed the GPT-4o model's capability of real-time language translation.

OpenAI's demonstrations verged on science fiction, with ChatGPT and its interlocutor at one point engaging in coquettish banter. The OpenAI researcher told the chatbot he was in a great mood because he was demonstrating "how useful and amazing you are."

ChatGPT-4o responded: "Oh stop it! You're making me blush!"

Joaquin Phoenix is pictured sitting in front of his computer talking to an AI chatbot in the film Her

Many have compared the latest innovations in ChatGPT-4o to "Her", a Hollywood film from 2013 that followed Joaquin Phoenix's character Theodore Twombly as he develops a romantic attachment with an AI chatbot, who speaks to him via an earpiece and via his computer, voiced by Scarlett Johansson


OpenAI said it was making the new, enhanced model available to all ChatGPT users for free. This is partly due to the dramatically lower cost of running GPT-4o compared to its predecessor, making it more cost-effective for OpenAI to offer the newer model to all users.

However, those with a paid subscription will still benefit from greater capacity limits than free users. Until now, free users were restricted to the previous AI model.

The company does not intend to make money off free users through selling ads, OpenAI Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati confirmed at the event. GPT-4o will be available in ChatGPT over the next few weeks.

According to OpenAI, the latest new model is “much better” than any existing model at understanding and discussing images users share.

"For example, you can now take a picture of a menu in a different language and talk to GPT-4o to translate it, learn about the food’s history and significance, and get recommendations," said the company, previously funded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, but most recently supported to the tune of $10 billion by Microsoft.

"In the future, improvements will allow for more natural, real-time voice conversation and the ability to converse with ChatGPT via real-time video. For example, you could show ChatGPT a live sports game and ask it to explain the rules to you."


At a time when the scrutiny around AI tools continues to grow, OpenAI said the new model had been extensively safety tested, using independent experts, and has “safety built-in by design”.

Despite rumours swirling that OpenAI would use the event to announce a fully-fledged replacement for Google search, powered by its latest AI model... that didn't come to pass during the event.

openAI logo pictured on a white background

ChatGPT-4o will release worldwide in the coming weeks, there's no additional charge to use the brand-new AI model — the upgraded chatbot will be available to all users for free


Nevertheless, the timing of the latest announcement was still designed to be a shot across the bow of Google — one of the biggest competitors to OpenAI. The Californian company will hold its annual developer conference, known as Google I/O, one day after the reveal of ChatGPT-4o. Google is widely-tipped to use its event to discuss its own plans for generative AI, known as Google Gemini.

Apple has also teased plans to introduce ChatGPT-like featuresto its next major overhaul of the iPhone and iPad operating system, which will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Shortly after launching in late 2022, ChatGPT was called the fastest application ever to reach 100 million monthly active users. However, worldwide traffic to ChatGPT's website has been on a roller-coaster ride in the past year and is only now returning to its May 2023 peak, according to analytics firm Similarweb.

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