TOPEKA (KSNT) – Experts are saying artificial intelligence (AI) could be the future for jobs and schools, but what about recreational cannabis use?
A new AI chatbot geared specifically to answer questions on cannabis products was released into the wilds of the internet earlier this year, raising eyebrows and questions about its potential uses. This chatbot arrives alongside numerous other, similar publicly available AI programs like ChatGPT but takes a unique spin on things by focusing solely on cannabis-related topics.
Released on April 20, 2023, Canna-GPT is marketed as the world’s first Cannabis AI by its creators. KSNT 27 News spoke with the CEO and Founder of Barky AI, Chris Barkhurst, to learn more about the product. Canna-GPT was created through a collaborative effort between Barkhurst’s Barky AI and Highten Sifter Founder and CEO Chad Johnson.
“The launch of Canna-GPT represents our ultimate vision of making cannabis education a shared experience for all,” Barkhurst said prior to the release of Canna-GPT. “By seamlessly connecting AI and cannabis, we’re equipping individuals to navigate this enthralling realm with ease and self-assurance.”
Canna-GPT, which runs off Barky AI, is currently free and open to the public to use without the need to sign up. The program aims to make cannabis education more accessible to its users and give them answers back quickly. Barkhurst said the site proved to be popular with 15,000 users on Canna-GPT on April 20 and more visiting the AI in the days following its release.
“This is the very first generative AI model that’s an expert on just one specific product,” Barkhurst said.
Kelly Rippel with Kansans for Hemp said Canna-GPT appears to be building up steam on social media. He spoke with KSNT 27 News about the potential uses of this new AI.
“It looks like they’re kind of getting off the ground now,” Rippel said. “It looks like it’s mostly a consumer-driven platform where consumers would be able to type in questions. It does come back with some fairly robust answers giving very specific titles of cultivars and their effects.”
Rippel said the AI appears to have some limitations such as struggling to answer specific questions regarding the legality of cannabis products. AI, even the popular ChatGPT, have drawbacks and are limited in what they can do.
“I think that this product, as far as the Canna-GPT search engine platform, will be one of those tools utilized by consumers and professionals in their decision-making regarding cannabis,” Rippel said. “I think we’ll see more resources like this become available as time goes on.”
Rippel also expressed some hesitancy with Canna-GPT recommending products to people to use. He said cannabis products work differently for different people and a medical professional should be consulted before trying new products.
Upon release, Canna-GPT was marketed as available only for a limited time. Barkhurst said there isn’t a set date for when Canna-GPT will end as it is based on a budget funded through donations.
“We try to update it as much as we possibly can, but that takes time and money and we have to scrape the internet again and rerun the model,” Barkhurst said. “The reliability is based off the data that it comes back on.”
One of the facets of Canna-GPT that Barkhurst says sets it apart from ChatGPT is the personal aspect of his AI program.
“For us, when you use Barky AI, when you use Canna-GPT, it’s AI has a heart,” Barkhurst said. “If you were to talk to ChatGPT for example, you would see that is more of an industrial tone, it doesn’t really have a personality, it’s very neutral. But when you talk to Canna-GPT through Barky AI, it has more of a professional, courteous, attitude.”
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