OpenAI looks like it’s been hard at work, making moves like continuing to improve the GPT store and recently sharing demonstrations of one of the other highly sophisticated models in its pipeline, the video-generation tool Sora. That said, it looks like it’s not completely resting on ChatGPT’s previous success and giving the impressive AI chatbot the capability to read its responses out loud. The feature is being rolled out on both the web version and the mobile versions of the chatbot. 

The new feature will be called 'Read Aloud', as per an official X (formerly Twitter) post from the generative artificial intelligence (AI) company. These will come in useful for many users, including those who have different accessibility needs and people using the chatbot while on the go.

Users can try it for themselves now, according to the Verge, either on the web version of ChatGPT or a mobile version (iOS and Android), and they will be given five different voices they can select from that ChatGPT can use. The feature is available to try whether you use the free version available to all users, GPT-3.5, or the premium paid version, GPT-4. When it comes to languages, users can expect to be able to use the Read Aloud feature in 37 languages (for now) and ChatGPT will be given the ability to autodetect the language that the conversation is happening in. 

If you want to try it on the desktop version of ChatGPT, there should be a speaker icon that shows up below the generated text that activates the feature. If you'd like to try it on a mobile app version, users can tap on and hold the text to open the Read Aloud feature player. In the player, users can play, pause, and rewind the reading of ChatGPTs’ response. Bear in mind that the feature is still being rolled out, so not every user in every region will have access just yet.

A step in the right direction for ChatGPT

This isn’t the first voice-related feature that ChatGPT has received, with Open AI introducing a voice chat feature in September 2023, which allowed users to make inquiries using voice input instead of typing. Users can keep this setting on, prompting ChatGPT to always respond out loud to their inputs.

The debut of this feature comes at an interesting time, as Anthropic recently introduced similar features to its own generative AI models, including Claude. Anthropic is an OpenAI competitor that’s recently seen major amounts of investment from Amazon. 

Overall, this new feature is great news in my eyes (or ears), primarily for expanding accessibility to ChatGPT, but also because I've had a Read-Aloud plugin for ChatGPT in my browser for a while now. I find it interesting to listen to and analyze ChatGPT’s responses out loud, especially as I’m researching and writing. After all, its responses are designed to be as human-like as possible, and a big part of how we process actual real-life human communication is by speaking and listening to each other. 

Giving Chat-GPT a capability like this can help users think about how well ChatGPT is responding, as it makes use of another one of our primary ways of receiving verbal information. Beyond the obvious accessibility benefits for blind or partially-sighted users, I think this is a solid move by OpenAI in cementing ChatGPT as the go-to generative AI tool, opening up another avenue for humans to connect to it. 


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