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Differences between conversational AI and generative AI

In this video, TechTarget editor Jen English discusses the differences between conversational AI and generative AI.

Is ChatGPT a conversational AI or generative AI?

As artificial intelligence ushers in new technology, programs and ethical concerns, various concepts and vocabulary have come about in an effort to understand it. To get a full grasp on how AI operates and for what purpose, one should understand the difference between conversational AI and generative AI. While these two branches of AI work hand in hand, each has distinct functions and abilities.

Here, we'll discuss the differences between conversational and generative AI, as well as how they work together.

Conversational AI refers to the technology that helps machines engage in a more natural way with humans. It's best used for tasks related to customer service or virtual assistance. Think of customer service chatbots, or virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa. These technologies are known for their conversational abilities, assisting people through back-and-forth communication.

Generative AI, on the other hand, enables users to create new content, whether it be text, images, animations or sounds. It relies on machine learning algorithms and the data they are trained on and comes in handy for writing and other content creation tasks. Some examples of generative AI include Google Bard, ChatGPT and Jasper AI.

Aside from their respective functions, there are also differences when it comes to how these technologies operate. While they both rely on training data, they use it in different ways.

The training data for conversational AI, for instance, is trained on data sets with human dialogue so it understands the flow of language and responds to the user in a more natural manner. Meanwhile, generative AI uses neural networks to identify patterns in its training data. By identifying these patterns and taking note of human responses and feedback, generative AI programs learn to create more accurate content.

While these two branches of AI are different, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, AI programs like ChatGPT involve both -- it's conversational, since it's a chatbot, yet it is also generative, since it provides users with written content in response to prompts.

How do you use conversational and generative AI? Let us know in the comments, and remember to like and subscribe, too.

Tommy Everson is an assistant editor for video content at TechTarget. He assists in content creation for TechTarget's YouTube channel and TikTok page.

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