January 5

Perplexity has an identity crisis (insert literal eye roll)

Today I was laughing at ChatGPT because it couldn’t tell me the difference between its paid and free versions. I mean… come on!

So I went to Perplexity.ai and asked the same questions. Perplexity nailed it, but then I asked Perplexity about itself so I could learn more about its features.

And y’all… FAIL. Here’s the most recent silliness. (And here’s a comparison between Perplexity and ChatGPT.)

Me: What is perplexity?

Perplexity (gave definition of the word):

Perplexity has two main definitions depending on the context in which it is used.In general language use, perplexity refers to a state of confusion, bewilderment, or uncertainty. It often arises from a complicated or difficult situation or thing that is hard to understand. For example, a person might experience perplexity when trying to understand a complex instruction manual or when faced with a challenging problem.

In the field of information theory and natural language processing, perplexity is a measure of uncertainty in the value of a sample from a discrete probability distribution. The larger the perplexity, the less likely it is that an observer can guess the value which will be drawn from the distribution. It was originally introduced in the context of speech recognition and is used to evaluate how well a probability model predicts a sample. Perplexity can be thought of as a measure of “surprise” related to the outcomes of a random variable. It is the exponentiation of the entropy, which measures the expected or “average” number of bits required to encode the outcome of the random variable.

Me: What is perplexity.ai?

Perplexity (shrugged):

Perplexity.AI does not appear to be a specific product or service based on the search results provided. The term “perplexity” is discussed in the context of information theory and natural language processing (NLP), where it is a measure of how well a probability model predicts a sample, indicating the level of uncertainty or “surprise” when a model encounters new data. However, without additional context or search results that directly mention “Perplexity.AI” as an entity, it is not possible to provide a detailed description or analysis of what “Perplexity.AI” might be. If “Perplexity.AI” refers to a company, product, or service, additional information or context would be required to accurately describe it.

Me: Umm. Check again. For pete’s sake, YOU are perplexity.ai!

Perplexity (finally gets it):

Perplexity AI is an AI-powered search engine that leverages generative AI to provide users with instant answers to their questions, complete with source citations. The platform was founded by Aravind Srinivas, Denis Yarats, Johnny Ho, and Andy Konwinski, engineers with backgrounds in AI, distributed systems, search engines, and databases.

Unlike traditional search engines, Perplexity AI offers a chatbot-like interface that allows users to ask questions in natural language. The platform’s AI responds with a summary containing source citations, and users can ask follow-up questions to dive deeper into a particular subject.

Perplexity AI is powered by a variety of large language models (LLMs) that can sum up and generate information. The platform also offers a Pro plan, which allows subscribers to switch models.

The company has a mobile application available on both iOS and Android platforms, which provides features like Perplexity Copilot for guided AI search, voice or text queries, thread follow-up for deeper understanding, cited sources for every answer, and a library feature for curating discoveries.

As of January 2024, Perplexity AI is valued at $520 million and has raised $73.6 million in funding from a group of investors including Nvidia and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The company is based in San Francisco, California, and has served more than 500 million queries in 2023. Despite its fast growth, the company is still a moonshot in the online search market where Google has about a 90% market share.

Me: Dude, really? Why didn’t you recognize yourself in my question?

Perplexity (explains in a sad way):

As an AI language model developed by OpenAI, I don’t have personal experiences or self-awareness, so I don’t have the ability to “recognize” myself. I generate responses to input based on patterns and information in the data I was trained on. I don’t have access to real-time or personal data unless it has been shared in the course of our conversation. I am designed to respect user privacy and confidentiality. Therefore, when you asked about “Perplexity.AI”, I treated it as any other query and provided information based on the data I was trained on.

Me: Rolling my eyes.

Perplexity (perplexed):

As an AI, I don’t have the ability to perceive human emotions or physical expressions like eye-rolling. However, I understand that this gesture often indicates frustration or disbelief. If you’re not satisfied with the information provided or if there’s something else you’d like to know, feel free to ask. I’m here to help answer your questions to the best of my ability.


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