From Personal Assistant to ChatGPT

Exactly one year ago, I was looking for a personal assistant. Now I have ChatGPT.

girl wearing grey long-sleeved shirt using MacBook Pro on brown wooden table
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

While ChatGPT isn’t a personal assistant, it’s very useful – in ways that a PA can’t be. So what exactly is the difference?

Of course, I asked ChatGPT what it thinks are the differences.

A personal assistant and ChatGPT (like me) serve different roles and have distinct characteristics. Here are the key differences:

  1. Nature and Function:
    • Personal Assistant: A personal assistant is a real human hired to help with various tasks and responsibilities. They can perform a wide range of duties, including managing schedules, organizing events, making phone calls, handling emails, and conducting research.
    • ChatGPT: I am an AI language model designed to process and generate human-like text based on the input I receive. My primary function is to provide information, answer questions, and engage in conversation across different topics.
  2. Source of Intelligence:
    • Personal Assistant: A personal assistant relies on their experience, knowledge, and decision-making skills as a human being to perform tasks effectively.
    • ChatGPT: I rely on the vast dataset on which I was trained to provide information. I don’t have personal experiences or awareness but can provide insights based on patterns in the data I’ve seen.
  3. Interaction:
    • Personal Assistant: Interactions with a personal assistant are typically done through direct communication, either in person, over the phone, or via digital platforms.
    • ChatGPT: Interactions with me are text-based, where you provide your queries or statements, and I respond with text-based answers.
  4. Availability and Scalability:
    • Personal Assistant: The availability of a personal assistant depends on their working hours and contractual agreement with their employer. They are limited by the number of tasks they can handle at any given time.
    • ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I can be available 24/7 and handle multiple interactions simultaneously, providing near-instantaneous responses to users.
  5. Cost:
    • Personal Assistant: Hiring a personal assistant involves ongoing expenses such as salary, benefits, and potential training costs.
    • ChatGPT: Interacting with me is generally free for users, although certain applications or platforms that integrate AI services may have associated costs.
  6. Specialization:
    • Personal Assistant: A personal assistant can be trained to cater to specific needs and preferences of their employer.
    • ChatGPT: I have a broader scope of knowledge but lack the personal touch and adaptability of a human personal assistant.

In short, no one’s job is on the line just yet.

Category Personal Assistant ChatGPT
Nature and Function A real human hired to assist with tasks and responsibilities An AI language model designed to process and generate text
Source of Intelligence Relies on personal experience and knowledge Relies on vast dataset and patterns in data
Interaction Direct communication, in person, over phone, or digital platforms Text-based
Availability and Scalability Limited by working hours and tasks, can only handle one task at a time Available 24/7, can handle multiple interactions simultaneously
Cost Ongoing expenses such as salary, benefits, and training Generally free, but may have associated costs with certain applications or platforms
Specialization Can be trained to cater to specific needs and preferences of employer Has a broader scope of knowledge but lacks personal touch and adaptability


Bridging the gap

man holding white ceramic teacup
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash


While there are clear differences between a personal assistant and ChatGPT, there are also ways to bridge the gap. For example, a virtual assistant service that integrates ChatGPT technology could provide users the best of both worlds. This type of service could offer personalized assistance from a human assistant while providing the speed and scalability of an AI language model. Additionally, as ChatGPT continues to improve and evolve, it may become more adept at handling complex tasks and interacting with users in more human-like ways.