Duolingo is launching a new virtual tutor that aims to replicate real-world scenarios to help students learn better. And it’s all powered by the recently released GPT-4 AI model.
Making his home in the new Duolingo Max subscription tier (opens in new tab), the tutor consists of two functions: Explain my answer and role play. The first, as the name suggests, gives users the option, if they get confused by something in DuoLingo’s initial response, to ask the DuoLingo chatbot to provide a detailed explanation of why their answer was right or wrong. In an example video (opens in new tab)explains to the AI why selected Spanish verbs should be conjugated in a certain way given the context of the sentence.
However, Duo is not universally available for all language exercises, only certain ones. On those few, an Explain My Answer button appears at the bottom of the screen after you try an exercise.
Role play (opens in new tab), on the other hand, allows users to engage in a realistic conversation with the AI so that they can practice their language skills. According to the post, no two chats will be exactly alike. In one case you talk to ‘waiter’ while ordering coffee in a French cafe or discuss vacation plans in Spanish with a ‘friend’. And at the end of each roleplay, Duo gives you some feedback based on “the accuracy and complexity of [your] comments and tips for future conversations.”
Please note that the GPT-4-AI behind Duo is not perfect. For the new release, research lab OpenAI has taken the time to improve GPT-3’s chat capabilities so that it can produce more natural-sounding text, similar to how people normally speak – at least in English. GPT-4 can create phrasebooks such as using English mnemonics for Spanish words. However, as seen on Twitter (opens in new tab), those mnemonics can be quite hilarious and not always in a good way. Duolingo admits that its virtual tutor will make some mistakes. That’s why the company is asking users to give the AI some feedback, which you can do by selecting the “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” emoji at the end of each Explain My Answer session.
Duolingo Max is currently being rolled out in a limited manner. The AI will only be available in Spanish or French for English speakers on iOS, but there are plans to “expand to more courses, language interfaces and platforms in the coming months,” according to a company representative.
To subscribe to the level, you have two methods. You can pay $29.99 for Duolingo Max or $167.99 for the whole year. If you break it all down, the annual cost comes down to $13.99 per month. In addition, you also get all the features under Super Duolingo, including ‘unlimited hearts’ [for lessons]no ads, and [a] personalized assessment via the Practice Hub.”
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