Tagged for OEG Connect: 13 Best Open Source ChatGPT Alternatives

Ollama / Jan.ai can be used as ChatGPT alternatives running on the local computer. I mostly use the text / code generation features but expect the primary usage to shift towards extracting knowledge from existing documents and media, chatting with my personal knowledge base, and using agents for more complex workflows. Educators can probably transfer a lot of their existing ChatGPT use cases to their local LLMs but need to be careful about hallucinations because compact models have a small knowledge base, so it’s no surprise that they fill in the blanks by making things up.

Small open source LLMs are a lot less capable than the paid GPT-4 but I like their focus and capability (some are trained for a narrow use case instead of general knowledge of everything), their programmability and the ability to uplolad my own data without sending it to the internet. I also think it’s helpful to gain more understanding by tinkering with them locally instead of only using the finished polished commercial product on the web. Only paying a flat fee for electricity instead of pay-per-use is also nice.

From the philosophical perspective, I believe it is healthy for the society not to rely on a few gigacorps for AI but have as much autonomy and independence as possible (sounds familiar to open educators?). We will only have independence and sovereignty if we use open tools (echoing the sentiment of @moodler here).

Also, by using open tools and open source LLMs, I like to think I contribute a small bit towards their wider acceptance, which will hopefully help make them better. We can’t outcompete big corps in raw hardware performance and scale but we can outcompete them in ingenuity and efficiency. They have no moat. Today’s open source LLMs are already as capable as some of the top tier commercial models from just a few months ago. And this is just the beginning.