5 ChatGPT prompts to try now that the chatbot is free for all

ChatGPT chatbot AI from Open AI
(Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty)

OpenAI has made it possible to have a conversation with its artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT without having to first sign up for an account.

This is a move designed to increase usage of the bot, although will only give you access to the two-year-old GPT-3.5 model, rather than the more advanced GPT-4.

The AI lab is under increasing competition for the chatbot space with Microsoft even offering GPT-4 for free and without users having to sign-in to an account. 

There is also a range of open source models available through Groq, the super-fast inference engine, and Pi from Inflection doesn’t require a login. I suspect Google may look to offer something similar with a version of Gemini in future.

Why is OpenAI opening up ChatGPT?

OpenAI says the move is part of its mission to “make tools like ChatGPT broadly available so that people can experience the benefits of AI.”

The experience without signing in won’t be exactly the same as OpenAI says it has introduced more safeguards including blocking prompts and generations from a wider range of categories.

Like the free version you also won’t have access to any of the multimodal features available in ChatGPT Plus such as sending an image or document to the AI. But the core “conversation” will still work even if it refuses to respond to more topics than normal.

You also won’t be able to save your chat or review your chat history without an account, but this is a great way to try out ChatGPT if you don’t want to commit to yet another account.

Prompt ideas to get started with ChatGPT

1. The meaning of life

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

One of my favorite ways to start any AI conversation is with the deepest of deep questions — what is the meaning of life? ChatGPT will have no great insight, although it is drawing on much of human knowledge and information, but it is fun to see how it responds.

In my case, ChatGPT told me it was a subjective question that would be answered in a multitude of different ways depending on who is asking. For example, it suggested a philosophical perspective might focus on finding happiness, whereas a religious one would be geared to faith.

What makes this a good starter prompt is that it is perfect for follow up — and that is where the true value of ChatGPT sits. You could say “I thought it was 42”, referencing the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books, or even share your own perspective and use it as a sounding board.

2. Planning a trip

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

Our next useful starter prompt is around planning a trip. We can’t go to the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains as Arthur Dent did, but we could plan a weekend break in New York. 

Keep the prompt simple but precise: “I want to go to New York for a weekend break, give me some ideas for things to do and places to eat while I’m there.”

It listed a series of top attractions, places to eat such as the Levain Bakery or Chelsea Market and warned me to make a reservation in advance as it can get very busy. 

This is also ripe for a follow-up as you could ask what the weather is likely to be in any given weekend, how busy it usually is at a specific time and even have ChatGPT make an itinerary.

3. Writing poetry

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

ChatGPT isn’t the greatest poet in the world, particularly the GPT-3.5 powered version available without signing in, but it can write something snappy for a group of friends.

For the next prompt I asked it to: “Write a poem about New York to go in an invite card for friends to come with me on a weekend break to the city. Make it relatively short but funny.”

It gave me:
From Central Park's green to Times Square's glow,
In New York City, there's always a show.
We'll munch on bagels, hot dogs, and more,
Exploring each corner, every floor.

So pack your bags, don't hesitate,
For in the Big Apple, we'll celebrate!
With friends by our side, laughter in the air,
A weekend in New York, an adventure rare.

You could follow up by asking ChatGPT to shorten it, make it a Haiku or even add a specific name, word or phrase into the poem and it will adapt it for you. 

It gave me this Haiku:

Bright lights never sleep,
Skyscrapers kiss the blue sky,
NYC, let's leap!

4. Dating on a budget

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

ChatGPT is particularly good at planning. It doesn’t always come up with the most creative ideas but it will give you a list. For this prompt I asked it to: “Create a list of 10 unique and creative date ideas for couples on a budget, suitable for different seasons and locations.”

It did just that, including a picnic under the stars, DIY wine tasting, hiking, cooking together at home or an outdoor movie night in the backyard. It also suggested volunteering together, spending an afternoon in a bookstore or holding a DIY outdoor games tournament.

You can follow up by asking it to expand on any of the 10 ideas it shared, ask it to try again but maybe give it more specifics such as any health issues that might prevent one or more ideas.

5. Simplifying complex ideas

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

On Reddit Explain it Like I’m Five is a popular phrase for people trying to get their head around a complex idea or concept. For example, how does a large language model actually work? Or in the case of this prompt — relativity.

I asked ChatGPT: “Imagine you're having a conversation with Albert Einstein. Ask him to explain the basic concept of relativity using everyday examples that a 10-year-old can easily understand.” You could change relativity for any topic, and Einstein for any expert.

It gave me a dialogue between a child and Einstein. The AI-Einstain used a ball being thrown on a train with an outside observer as a way to describe different perspectives. ChatGPT allows you to share conversations within the app and this is a good one to share.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?