The phonies: "AI chat" in the app store, rise of the imposters.

The phonies: "AI chat" in the app store, rise of the imposters.

Buckle up, we're diving right in.

Apple and their 'App Store' — you'd expect nothing but perfection, right? I am rather dissatisfied, but you can't help but raise an eyebrow at the landscape they've allowed to develop.

OpenAI, the tech world's hot topic, making waves yet again. This time, it's with the shiny new bauble they've unveiled, an official ChatGPT app mentioned here And wouldn't you know it, my interest was somewhat piqued.

But, just like a bad magic trick, there's always a catch. For those of you who actually read things you would have seen the trick, it's quite clear it says it is rolling out starting in the US. A minor detail that our friends online seemed to conveniently gloss over - Or in simpler terms just failing to read from the source and use logic. Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't salivating over this app, just a tad curious about what the Japanese app store had on offer.

And my oh my, was it a sight for sore eyes.

Wading through the countless 'AI Chat' apps was akin to navigating an obnoxious neon labyrinth. Red flags shot up like fireworks, and it became painfully clear that many of these apps had as much substance as a puff of smoke. It was as if I'd stepped into a land of knock-off products with all these apps trying to masquerade as ChatGPT, the stupid names, the horrible icons trying to fool you. Cunning imposters, digital doppelgängers if you will, masquerading as something they're not to lure you in.

Now, pay attention. This won't be repeated.

Think of those old-timey charlatans, peddling their wares as the next best thing since sliced bread. Those swindling snake oil salesmen peddling miracle cures that were often nothing more than colored water? That's what's unfolding here, but with a dash of digital disaster. Sure, a few apps could be upstanding, but an alarming majority are nothing more than polished trash. And the worst of the bunch? Crafty apps masquerading as the real deal, only to rain down a parade of red flags the second you look a bit closer.

Those warning bells aren't for show. These are data bandits in AI disguise, ready to snatch your secrets before 'privacy breach' even leaves your lips. My advice? Stick to the trusted sources. Stay sharp, keep those eyes peeled. A glitzy package doesn't guarantee quality goods. A wolf can wear a sheep costume all day, but it won't bleat as one. Sometimes you have to use a bit of brain power when making decisions and evaluating.

For the newcomers to the "AI world", let's keep it simple.

Stay away from apps that don't own or control their language model — However knowing that itself could be a challenge. Frankly, you might be better off keeping a wide berth from everything but the official ChatGPT app. And before you jump on the hype train, remember that you can always use ChatGPT on their website, which I feel might be the better choice, that way you don't have to deal with another app asking for various permissions, which you would then have decipher what they want to do with it.

But for the incurably curious, here's a quick rundown of noteworthy language models:
OpenAI's GPT (the reigning champ),
Facebook's Llama ("open source", but not for the faint-hearted),
StabilityAI's in-the-works models - StableVicuna and StableLM
Vicuna - Delta weights applied over Llama weights (Note: publicly available for non-commercial use!)
Google Bard
And last but not least, HuggingChat.

Before you get starry-eyed, always question the LLM these apps are peddling. Remember, they can not only log your chats but might also manipulate responses to fish for personal info. Even if their intentions are supposedly noble, the privacy risk is a mountain too high to climb.

Regrettably, there is no way of seeing what is happening 'being the scenes'. I'm all for open source and competition, but this isn't the time to roll the dice. Unless you're dealing with a well-reputed creator or can dissect it at a code level, it's just not worth the gamble. Stay on your toes, and guard your secrets like a dragon hoarding its gold. Life's not a straight line.