Putting Chatbots to the Test: Can AI Help Answer Your Financial Questions?

According to recent headlines, two of the most powerful chatbots in the world, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, have been making waves with their generative capabilities and vast storehouses of information. As we all could use some personal finance advice, we decided to ask our AI assistants some classic personal finance questions.

When asked about a great business idea, ChatGPT suggested starting a subscription-based meal delivery service that caters to customers with specific dietary needs or preferences, such as vegan, gluten-free, or low-carb diets. On the other hand, Bard preferred to provide a list of ideas, including dog walking, translation, “website flipping,” and working as a virtual assistant.

As remote work becomes more prevalent, many Americans are considering relocating to lower-cost locales. ChatGPT recommended Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Knoxville, Tennessee, while Bard added Henderson, Nevada; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Wichita, Kansas; and Oklahoma City to the list.

While ChatGPT stressed that it cannot provide personalized investment advice or predict stock performance, it praised telecommunications giant AT&T for its cheap metrics, including its lower-than-average price-to-earnings ratio and its 7.1% dividend yield. Bard concurred with the choice of AT&T and also added Verizon, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Johnson & Johnson to the mix as bargain stocks.

When asked about a growing career field, ChatGPT suggested considering the field of data science and analytics, specifically roles like data analyst and machine learning engineer. Bard provided a broader range of options, including becoming a nurse practitioner, software developer, social media manager, or even a solar photovoltaic installer.

In terms of colleges that give the most bang for the buck, ChatGPT recommended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Bard suggested the University of Washington, CUNY Brooklyn, Purdue, the University of Florida in Gainesville, and Oklahoma State as offering an attractive combination of quality and value.

For an affordable summer trip, ChatGPT recommended Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Austin, Texas. Bard, on the other hand, suggested bunking with friends or family or arranging a “staycation.”

Finally, when asked if money can buy happiness, ChatGPT suggested that increasing wealth can be associated with increased happiness up to a certain point, as it can provide access to basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare, as well as opportunities for education and experiences. Bard was more direct, stating that money cannot buy happiness itself, as happiness is a state of mind that comes from within and cannot be bought or sold.

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