Private and secure alternatives to ChatGPT

Everyone is hyping up GPT-4, and it’s true that it’s currently the best publicly available model. However, numerous open-source models are available that, when well utilized, can perform impressively using significantly fewer resources than GPT-4 (which is actually rumored to be a combination of eight models).

Recently, I completed a ‘talk to your document’ project for a client. There’s no shortage of startups doing this, but this client had an extra security and privacy requirement – their data could not leave their network. Thus, all processing had to happen on-premise. I informed them upfront that the inability to use GPT-4 might result in less accurate results, but they were willing to make that trade-off.

To my surprise, some open-source models proved to be extremely effective for this use case. Specifically, I created the embeddings using DistilBERT models trained on the MS Marco dataset, with FastChat-T5 as a Language Model (LM) for formulating answers.

The resulting system performed exceptionally well. The client was delighted with the performance, and importantly, the entire setup remained on-premise with no data leaving their infrastructure. Also, I was very pleasantly surprised by FastChat, which is a 3 Billion parameter model, but still answers very coherently, while being fast enough to run on a (beefy) CPU only instance!

While GPT-4 is a remarkable model, for companies with high security requirements, there exist various viable alternatives. Despite different trade-offs, these models can still provide excellent performance across a variety of tasks, and I can help you navigate those tradeoffs.

Reach out to me if you would like to have a private and secure “talk to your document” style app for your company!