In brief

  • Launched by veteran app developers, Perplexity AI not only provides answers to questions and prompts but also includes links to citations and related topics.
  • The currently free AI chatbot is available via web browser and the Apple App Store.

In the digital cafeteria where AI chatbots mingle, Perplexity AI is the scrawny new kid ready to stand up to ChatGPT, which has so far run roughshod over the AI landscape. With impressive lineage, a wide array of features, and a dedicated mobile app, this newcomer hopes to make the competition eat its dust.

Perplexity has a significant runway, raising $26 million in series A funding in March, but it's unclear what the business model will be. For now, however, making their offering free compared to GPT-4’s subscription model could be a significant advantage.

Who created Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI was launched in August 2022 by a team of heavy hitters from OpenAI, Meta, Quora, and Databrick. The team has its sights set on dethroning ChatGPT. Led by Aravind Srinivas, Denis Yarats, Johnny Ho, and Andy Konwinski, this alliance of AI aficionados offers a formidable chatbot experience.


Like ChatGPT, Perplexity AI is a chatbot that uses machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to respond to user questions.

Natural Language Processing is a part of machine learning that lets computers understand and process human language. NLP helps the AI interpret and manipulate the data and has multiple applications such as translation, chatbots, and voice assistants.

Much like ChatGPT, Perplexity AI serves up detailed answers to various questions to satisfy user curiosity. However, its dedicated mobile app sets it apart, which requires no account signup and offers seamless, on-the-go access.

GPT-4 vs. Perplexity AI

I test-drove Perplexity AI, comparing it against OpenAI’s GPT-4 to find the top universities teaching artificial intelligence. GPT-4 responded with a list of ten universities that could claim to be among the of top universities for AI education, including universities outside of the United States. 

Image: ChatGPT

Perplexity AI, by comparison, came back with a shorter list, five to GPT-4’s ten, but while GPT-4 gave more answers, Perplexity AI included links with its response, including US News and World Reports, tech website CIO, and college planning websites Great Value Colleges and Computer Science Degree Hub.

Image: Perplexity AI

Adding to Perplexity AI’s edge in the fight is its search results are more up-to-date, boasting information as recent as December 2022, compared to GPT-4’s 2021 knowledge cutoff.

We next asked each chatbot to write an introduction email to Elon Musk for an interview on artificial intelligence using the following prompt: “Write a 600-character introduction email to Tesla CEO Elon Musk asking for an interview on artificial intelligence in daily life.”

Image: ChatGPT

Both chatbots responded with pretty detailed letters to Musk that are courteous and also provide a bit of an ego boost to the celebrity recipient. But, again, where Perplexity AI outshines GPT-4 is providing additional resources, including a link to the Tesla website and articles on Musk, including a wikiHow post on how to contact the Twitter CEO. Something Musk would probably prefer AI didn't do.

Image: Perplexity AI

Of course, no AI chatbot is perfect, and users should always check the sources that Perplexity AI provides for accuracy and timeliness.  


For those seeking an accessible, powerful AI chatbot with a competitive edge and a free price tag, Perplexity AI is worth a try.

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