The Game-Changing Impact of HuggingChat on Open Source ChatGPT

Written by Prompt Engineering - February 05, 2024


This is probably one of the biggest developments when it comes to a free and open-source alternative to ChatGPT. The CEO of HuggingFace just announced the release of HuggingChat, an Open Source Early prototype interface powered by Open Assistant. HuggingFace, if you don't know, is the company that has really democratized access to AI for the masses, and they are hosting a large number of open-source models as well as datasets for applications related to computer vision, natural language processing, audio processing, and a whole bunch of multi-modal models.

Description and Analysis

In terms of privacy, according to HuggingFace, in this version 0 of HuggingChat, they only store messages to display them to the user, not for any other usage, including research or model training purposes. They are not collecting any data, unlike ChatGPT or OpenAI.

To use HuggingChat, currently you don't even need to have an account with HuggingFace. However, you need to be careful with your cookies if you want to keep your browser or chat history. Clearing your cookies or switching browsers will result in the loss of all your conversations. While they are not collecting any data, they might introduce a feature in the future where you can let the authors of the model connect your data and use it for training purposes. But you will have control over the data you generate.

HuggingChat is currently interfaced with Open Assistant, but they plan to integrate other open-source models in the future. The best part is that it's running in a space, which means that the code for the UI is open source. You can actually copy this into another space and customize it. You can replace the model with another model of your choice, update the user interface, or even add memory to the model.

Features of HuggingChat

HuggingChat has several key features:

  1. Privacy-focused: HuggingFace only stores messages for displaying to the user, not for any other purpose.
  2. Account-free usage: You do not need an account with HuggingFace to use HuggingChat.
  3. Customizability: The UI code is open source, allowing you to copy and customize it to your requirements.
  4. Integration with open-source models: While currently interfaced with Open Assistant, HuggingChat plans to incorporate other open-source models in the future.

Chat Interface

The chat interface of HuggingChat is similar to ChatGPT, with a familiar look and feel. You can start a new chat by clicking on "New Chat." Additionally, there is a button to change the theme, allowing you to customize the interface according to your preferences.

Model Information and Transparency

HuggingChat is powered by the Open Assistant model, which is a 30 billion parameter model. There is a small disclaimer stating that the generated content may be inaccurate or false, as this is just the v0 version and the model may not be perfect. However, HuggingChat provides all the necessary information and transparency regarding the model and the dataset used for training. You can click on links to access more details about the model and the dataset.

One of the unique aspects of HuggingChat is that it allows you to replace the underlying model with another model of your choice. By copying the UI into your own space, you can make changes and explore different models hosted on HuggingFace.

As HuggingFace hosts various open-source models, you can potentially have different apps within HuggingChat. For example, the Hugging GPT paper describes an "everything app" version, where Microsoft researchers used models hosted on HuggingFace to perform different operations. This kind of flexibility and access to different models opens up numerous possibilities for users.

Examples of HuggingChat

To better understand the capabilities of HuggingChat, let's take a look at some examples:

Example 1: Writing an Email

As a restaurant owner, you want to write a professional email to a supplier to inquire about their availability for regular deliveries. Here's the email generated by HuggingChat:

"I hope this email finds you well. I'm writing on behalf of our restaurant to inquire about your availability for regular deliveries of certain products that we use in our kitchen."

The email seems coherent and effectively conveys the request. HuggingChat manages to generate the email content accurately, including the quantity of the products required.

Example 2: Advantages of Open Source Language Models

You ask HuggingChat to provide you with five reasons why open-source large language models are better than closed-source models. Here are the reasons given by HuggingChat:

  • Community environment and contribution
  • Customizability
  • Cost savings
  • Security
  • Freedom of choice

HuggingChat explains that open-source projects often have a large community of contributors who can provide feedback, report bugs, suggest improvements, and contribute code. This leads to more extensive testing, frequent updates, and bug fixes. The advantages mentioned by HuggingChat seem valid and highlight the benefits of open-source language models.

Example 3: Programming Task

You give HuggingChat a programming task of writing a Python function to write a file to an S3 bucket using the Boto library. HuggingChat successfully generates the code for this task, demonstrating its ability to handle programming queries.

Sharing and Collaborating

HuggingChat offers the option to share your conversations by generating a unique link. This allows you to share your chat with others, which could be useful for collaboration or seeking feedback. While HuggingChat currently doesn't require an account, this may change in the future as new features are introduced.

Conclusion

HuggingChat is a game-changing development in the world of open-source chat models. Its unique features, such as privacy focus, customizability, and integration with various open-source models, make it a promising alternative to ChatGPT and other closed-source models. HuggingFace's commitment to transparency and open-source contribution further enhances its value. With HuggingChat, users have the opportunity to explore and customize different models within a familiar and user-friendly interface. It's an exciting time for open-source AI, and HuggingChat is leading the way.

FAQs

  • Can I use HuggingChat without creating an account?

    Yes, currently you don't need an account to use HuggingChat. However, this may change in the future as new features are introduced.

  • What models are currently integrated with HuggingChat?

    HuggingChat is currently powered by the Open Assistant model. However, HuggingFace plans to integrate other open-source models in the future.

  • Can I replace the underlying model with another model?

    Yes, you can replace the model in HuggingChat by copying the UI into your own space and making the necessary changes. This allows you to explore different models hosted on HuggingFace.

  • How can I share my conversations in HuggingChat?

    HuggingChat provides a feature to generate a unique link that you can share with others. This allows you to collaborate and seek feedback on your chat.

  • Is HuggingChat a viable alternative to ChatGPT?

    Yes, HuggingChat offers a promising alternative to ChatGPT and other closed-source models. With its focus on privacy, customizability, and integration with open-source models, it provides users with more control and flexibility.

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