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A white robot hovers with speech bubbles around its head for this Meltwater social listening blog about conversations about ChatGPT and other AI bots in 2023.

Why 2023 was the year of AI chatbots

Ann-Derrick Gaillot and Elena Tarasova

Nov 10, 2023

“Was this blog written by an AI chatbot?” A year ago, this question probably wouldn’t have crossed your mind, but in 2023, talk about the potential and possibilities of generative AI technology is all around us. 

Chatbots, and their abilities to generate content and answer questions, have especially taken the world by storm, but to what degree? We used our AI-powered social listening platform to learn more about how people have been talking about the rise of AI chatbots this year. (And, for the record, this blog was researched and written by humans!)

What are AI chatbots, and why are people talking about them?

In general, chatbots are computer programs that simulate digital conversations by responding to text inputs. Digital assistants from Microsoft Word’s Clippy to Amazon’s Alexa have incorporated different iterations of chatbot technology over the years, but recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLM) have taken the tools to a whole new level. 

The most well-known AI chatbot is ChatGPT, created by OpenAI. Its release on November 30, 2022, kicked off the tech world race to create the best generative AI LLM tool. Since then, a handful of competitors have entered the field, including Bard by Google, Bing Chat by Microsoft, Llama by Meta, and Claude by Anthropic.

AI chatbots have seemingly captured the world’s attention because of their potential to revolutionize certain aspects of different industries and people’s everyday lives. So far, some of their biggest impacts have been in education, finance, and medicine, where they have been used to automate everything from writing school reports to picking stocks to answering patient questions.

Mentions of AI chatbots increased by nearly 440% PoP.

A chart showing mentions of AI chatbots from January 1 to October 31, 2023.

From January 1 to October 31, there were more than 1.2 million mentions of AI chatbots in general (i.e., mentions of “AI chatbots”, “chat AI”, and related keywords, not mentions of individual branded tools). This was up about 440% from 224,000 mentions over the prior 10 months.

Notably, the conversation volume peaked on February 8, two days after Google announced Bard, its ChatGPT competitor, when word spread that a Bard ad included incorrect information. The chatbot conversation peaked again on May 10 after Wendy’s announced plans to test an AI chatbot called FreshAI in its drive-thrus. 

The themes of these peaks — how AI chatbot tools compare to one another and their unexpected potential uses — were common in other popular AI chatbot stories of 2023, which included an article comparing ChatGPT to Bing, coverage of a church service generated by ChatGPT, and an article about how Nasdaq engineers are experimenting with the technology

Like ChatGPT and its competitors, our social listening platform uses LLM, as well as natural language processing (NLP), to analyze and understand textual data. This technology powers features like our platform’s content clusters and sentiment analysis, which shows that, overall, there were about as many positive mentions of AI chatbots as there were negative ones.

A ring graph showing a majority of neutral sentiment and about 17% each of positive and negative sentiment.

Learn more about the many ways that Meltwater uses AI to help you get from data to insights faster.

ChatGPT is the most talked about AI chatbot.

And it’s not even close. Since January 1, ChatGPT’s share of voice has consistently dwarfed that of all of its competitors, racking up more mentions than all of them combined.

Bar graphs showing ChatGPT having about 9 million mentions compared to 457K mentions of Google's Bard, 435K mentions of Microsoft's Bing, 63K mentions of Meta's Llama, and 42.9K mentions of Anthropic's Claude.
A line graph showing the volume of mentions over time from January 1 through November 6.

The volume of the ChatGPT conversation shows, in part, the benefit of being first off the blocks. Bard and Bing Chat are fighting it out for second place, but both have a long way to go to catch up to the OpenAI chatbot's visibility online and off. At this point, ChatGPT is on its way to becoming the generic term for the general tool, similar to Kleenex for facial tissues or Google for online search.

Mentions of ChatGPT grew by nearly 1160% PoP.

A line graph showing the volume of mentions of ChatGPT over time from January 1 through October 31, 2023.

From January 1 through October 31, there were nearly 9 million mentions of ChatGPT across English-language news and social sources — an almost 1160% increase from 711,000 mentions during the 10 months prior. Conversations about ChatGPT took off in the first half of 2023, but seem to have leveled off since late July. 

Similar to the general AI chatbot conversation, the ChatGPT conversation has been spurred on by discussion about its competitors and how it can potentially be used. One top story about the tool was an April 17 Reuters article about Elon Musk’s launch of his own rival chatbot, TruthGPT. That article was posted, shared, and reshared on social media over 62,400 times. Meanwhile, an April open call for comment from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce was posted, shared, and reshared on social media over 54,100 times. 
Explore how Meltwater has integrated ChatGPT and DALL-E as part of our Summer 2023 Product Release to help marketers create content even faster.

Men dominate the AI chatbot conversation on Twitter. 

A ring graph showing that, of people talking about ChatGPT on Twitter, 76.3% are men and 23.7% are women.

This gender skew was consistent across all of the conversations about individual AI chatbots that we analyzed. It may be attributable to the fact that Twitter has more male users than female users.

However, it may also partially reflect who is actually using these tools. A recent survey of 5,600 professionals found that 54% of male respondents use AI tools compared to 35% of female respondents.

At this time next year, the AI chatbot conversation will look radically different as the technology advances, people discover new uses for it, and new regulations and standards develop in response. By then, marketers everywhere should have asked themselves important questions about if and how they will incorporate AI chatbots into their work as well as the ethical and other considerations that go along with it. For marketers in industries that are still beginning to incorporate generative AI, now is the time to tap into people’s fascination with the tool. 

No matter what you do, make sure that you don’t get left behind. Learn more about how to use ChatGPT and other AI chatbots for marketing and PR.

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