Whatever you need to do, there’s an AI that can help. Get on the train, even in Zim, for free

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Sometimes I look to the skies and think, ‘Why couldn’t you have let me be born in the US or something?’ It can be frustrating and annoying to live in Zimbabwe. I still wouldn’t want to relocate but I can’t help but be angry at the way the international community treats us sometimes.

We are failing as a nation on our own, we don’t need help in this. Yet, at every turn, we find ourselves having to scale over hurdles that those in the developed nations do not have to. It’s the equivalent of tying a large boulder to a runner who is trailing his competitors by a mile. What chance does he have to catch up?

The AI revolution

The AI revolution is upon us. We have written quite a bit about it:

What most of these AIs offer is:

  • Answering questions and providing information on a wide range of topics, from general knowledge to specific niche stuff
  • Generating text – articles, essays, and creative writing. They can write recommendation letters, craft emails, tweets and whatever you want
  • Summarizing text and extracting key information from lengthy documents
  • Translating text from one language to another
  • Generating code from natural language instructions. You can tell them what you want to be done and they will write the code for you
  • Analysing opinions expressed in text, so, a research assistant

You may remember when smartphones first gained prominence and there was that famous tagline, ‘there’s an app for that.’ Well now, whatever you need, there is an AI for that.

Zimbabwe left out?

ChatGPT is what got generative AI into the mainstream and remains the most popular.

Despite this, ChatGPT is still mum on why the likes of Zimbabwe still do not have official access. You can get around that but it’s quite a hassle. I was just trying out all the options there are and I gotta tell you, you will need to use a VPN and have a friend who can receive an SMS on your behalf in a supported country.

Thought you could just use a temporary/virtual phone number? ChatGPT doesn’t play that game.

Most numbers from most free virtual number sites will not work for you. You will have to pay to get one that works. If that works for you, go ahead. I don’t imagine many will be able to use this method though. I won’t even talk about the proxy method here.

So, the easiest, lazy-boy, hassle-free way to get in on the generative AI train is to use ChatGPT-powered Bing or some decent alternative AI.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover how you can unlock the potential of ChatGPT, even here in Zimbabwe. Some of these AIs have their own niches and you will find one that serves your needs.

Bing Chat

There used to be a waitlist but now you can just install Bing and be on your merry AI way. I know that most of us use our phones for most of our browsing needs and so you will be happy to know you can have Bing on both Android and iOS.

Just go to the Play Store or the App Store and download. Do note that the app is 99MB in size on Android and 250MB on iOS (sheesh). The iOS app sizes are something else.

You will need to have a Microsoft account to use ChatGPT-powered Bing but if you don’t have one, fear not, it will prompt you to create one and it’s as easy as ABC.

Do note though that you may run into the following error when you eventually try to use the service:

Apologies, but we’re having trouble adding you to the waitlist.

To fix this, try using a different browser to log into your Microsoft account. Visit bing.com/new and then sign up to use Bing Chat from there. It will say ‘Join waitlist’ but you will get access immediately.

Perplexity AI

If you use an iOS device you just have to check out Perplexity AI. You get pretty much the same experience you get using ChatGPT-powered Bing.

There are no ads, no premium plans, and it’s completely free to use, even for Zimbabweans.

I have used this one over any other generative AI and in some respects, especially when it comes to citing sources, it is better than ChatGPT.

Other alternatives include:

There are so many ChatGPT alternatives out there, we can’t test them all. So, let’s go through a list we got from scouring the web and seeing what people are using. Most of them are free with some kind of premium plan available and unlike ChatGPT, you won’t have to jump through hoops to use them.

For writers

These AI can generate various types of content; press releases, marketing copy, emails, blog posts, landing pages, short stories, screenplays, novels and whatever else you may want to be written.

  • Jasper AI – a jack-of-all-trades AI, can generate almost anything, including long-form content (over 1000 words)
  • Writesonic – helps produce blog posts, product descriptions etc
  • Sudowrite – you’ve had that movie idea for too long. This AI will help make that screenplay or novel a reality. They say they are “theย non-judgmental, always-there-to-read-one-more-draft, never-runs-out-of-ideas-even-at-3am, AI writing partner.”
  • Anyword – Tell your friend in marketing that they need to check this one out. It creates copy for emails, press releases and even generates Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn ads.

For CV writing

It’s unfortunate that you could miss out on the job you would excel at just because your CV is bland. Well, you don’t need to visit your cousin for help jazzing it up anymore, these AI and AI-powered services will help you write a good one.

  • Rezi – everyone seems to agree that this is the best one out there. It will help you write, edit, and format a CV or cover letter and when it goes South, even a resignation letter.
  • Enhancv – you’ll get CV templates, it will proofread your writings and write a professional-looking CV for you. It can even help you prep for interviews.
  • ResumeWorded – you get the usual CV stuff and it can analyse the job description and use their keywords in your CV, amongst other things.
  • Kickresume – yet another solid option. Can give you feedback on your current CV and help you improve it or write a completely different one.

Presentations

You will need to wow potential investors or your board of directors at some point. These AI will help you create beautiful decks or presentations. Tell your entrepreneur friend.

  • Presentations AI – you can input text and get lovely decks in seconds. You can start with just a simple idea in text form, or you can fill out a form or you could allow the AI to analyse your mail, chats or notes and it will churn out presentations for you.
  • Beautiful AI – you can start off with templates and customise until you get something you like.
  • Slidesgo – more of the same

For research

Working on a dissertation, research paper or some academic piece? These AI will help you do that faster.

  • Paperpal – is tailored for researchers and academic writing and can check your manuscript. There is even a Microsoft Word plug-in available.
  • Consensus – it is a search engine that helps you make sense of what research around a particular topic actually says. The search bar says ‘What does the research say about …’ That says it all.
  • Scite – One of the criticisms levelled against ChatGPT is that it sometimes lies about or omits citations. That won’t work when you’re working on an academic paper. As the name suggests, Scite focuses on this, helping you find highly supported researchers, find out whether research has been supported or contrasted and so on.

Again, we can’t go through them all. Whatever you want assistance with, just search for AI that delivers that and you’ll be good to go. You’ll find AI that specialises in;

  • Music generation
  • Writing code
  • Creating videos
  • Creating and manipulating images
  • Productivity
  • Or whatever else you may want

Also read:

Letโ€™s talk about how ChatGPT and friends could kill blogs and the internet as we know it

ChatGPT introduces subs, Googleโ€™s Bard stumbles on launch and Microsoft Teams guns for ZOOM with AI smarts. The state of consumer AI

34 comments

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  1. 3D fan

    Sanctions are just a way to bully the little guys like us.They want to ensure our country crumbles as a guy who dwells on the internet a lot I got to see first hand the effects of sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans.Chat-GPT is an amazing tool that we are loosing out on, I dabble with blender 3d and I came a cross a Chat-GPT plugin that made 3d modelling and animation pretty much effortless the sad thing was I need a ChatGPT API key inorder to be able to use it, imagine the frustration. I had found the magic bullet that could cut my work time significantly an I apparently can’t use it.It’s like looking at others having a free buffet when you yourself are starving.Anyway thanks for the article it shows that there is still light for us as Zimbabweans.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      This sanctions business is ridiculous. I am annoyed by OpenAI and their ChatGPT, they claim it is for the benefit of humanity and then proceed to exclude 44 countries or so. These tools are really going to change how the world works, they will make us more productive and efficient and yet we will still miss out on some of these tools.

    2. Anonymous

      All the things that we’re saying chartGTP can help us with those are basically old stuff that people in developed countries have been doing for decades so this tool is useful to us Africans coz we don’t know anything … For God sake we’re are still learning web designing in 2023 that’s why we cry so much about ChartGPT but at the end chartGPT is just a simplified Google search.

      1. Leonard Sengere

        The Chat part of ChatGPT is like conversational Google search, much like Google Assistant on steroids. However, you grossly underestimate what ChatGPT can do. I agree though that Africans have the most to benefit. These AI can help us catch up faster.

    3. ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ‘ˆ Think Mark Think

      Look, I like nice things too, but I can understand why these companies refuse to work with countries on the naughty list. It doesn’t take much brain power to imagine the ways this tech can be abused by junta’s and the like. Just now we were complaining about campaign sms’s. Imagine them upgraded to conversational DM’s feeding into your insecurities the AI would have found by scanning and profiling your digital footprint, promising you golden moons in Dubai if you vote right or worse, take some opposition off of the census. If you were one of these companies, would you want that kind of association especially when sentiment is split already and funding is being fiercely competed for? Learn to play nice then others will share their toys with us. Until then, give them their plausible deniability and use whatever workarounds you need to to use the services anyway.

  2. -_-

    Just wondering what architecture was Chat-GPT built on?

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It was built on the transformer architecture that Google developed in 2017. GPT models are built on this transformer architecture. The transformer architecture is free to use but GPT (Generative Pre-Training Transformer) models are not.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        GPT-J and GPT-Neo are free, so I’m sure there must be others.

        GPT is a transformer based architecture, but also an architecture on its own. OpenAIs models were built on this architecture, but privately designed and trained. GPT-J and Neo have publicly available designs and models.

        1. Leonard Sengere

          Thanks for that. You’re right, there are some free to use GPT models.

  3. Boorangoma Paurosi

    And there are AI content detectors like Corrector.apo and Copyleaks

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Looks good. Had not come across those.

  4. Jose

    It’s all Sanctions, You have to do hacks to get by some apps and sites.

    1. Anonymous

      ChartGTP is for lazy people not inventors that’s why Europeans wants to get rid of it..the worst thing is having lazy thinkers in the future… but it’s a good tool tho but not important.

      1. Techno Warrior

        Actually these countries have been using tools like this for years.they just want you to think like that. It’s not about how hard you work, it’s all about getting the job done well.As the saying goes work smart not hard.The reason the Europeans are saying what you say they are saying is because the cat is out of the bag. They don’t want us Africans to compete with them.

      2. Leonard Sengere

        You’re looking at these AI the wrong way. They help you do the mundane and repetitive much faster. They are assistants. They allow you to do more, quicker and more efficiently. It’s not laziness to use a tractor instead of breaking the family’s backs with hoes. It’s just better but you’re still the farmer, even with the tractor. You still have a lot of decisions to make.

        1. @Trends.C.A

          Thank you man for sharing little technical solutions i hope i’m gonna use it in near future

      3. Mandla

        ChatGPT is like a Tokoloshe , it can perform tasks for you free of charge. Imagine employing someone who is intelligent to run your social media accounts without expecting any form of compensation. If you are a pastor, you can ask it to prepare a sermon for you. If you are an architect, you can ask it to design a shopping mall.
        You can spend quality time with your family while the Tokoloshe works for you.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      It is annoying having to jump through hoops to get services that our brethren use out there.

  5. Sam

    The Aljazerra Document has opened my eyes, l just need Ewan or Simon Rudland number and l will be swimming in cash, the good guys finish last ๐Ÿ˜‘

    1. Leonard Sengere

      If you get those numbers don’t forget to share with me Sam ๐Ÿคฃ

  6. Kamikaze

    While Africans are crying about not using ChartGPT … Europeans wants to ban chartGPT from their Societies coz they know that everything is invented by the brain and we should continue pushing our brains till the end … I’m sure soon they will make it available to Africans since we are used to get spoon fed by white people plus this will be a win for them coz it will be easy to control African monkeys.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You’re right to worry about society relying on these AI to the point of not exercising and developing its brains. There will always be those that do that but some will be able to enhance their efforts with these tools and achieve more than they ever thought possible.

    2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      Then one wonders why Africa lags behind. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™‚๏ธ I doubt you read the reasoning behind their ChatGPT bans.

      Anyway, I guess you also don’t use cars because you think the “West” wants you to become obese.

      Using AI doesn’t mean that you stop thinking, it means you free up your time and brain to do other things.

      In fact, most modern day inventions/innovations have been accelerated by the use of some form of tech. From CAD to AI, it’s just a faster way of doing things.

  7. Ali

    try Poe if you have a Quora account ,multiple bots completely free and you can even create your own

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Will definitely check it out.

  8. Ai bot

    One can also try buddygpt its free to use even in zim u can use it via whatsapp or telegram

    1. Ewan MacMillan

      can you share the number?

  9. Ewan MacMillan

    can you share the number?

  10. Topi Mafana

    Hehehe, Mr Author Sir, do you use Droid VPN?

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Nope, I use Tunnel Bear (love it) and Turbo VPN (meh).

      1. Anonymous

        How does it work mister

  11. Tina

    One thing that is going to destroy the world takatarisa is AI.

  12. Cde che

    So in Africa are we not able to build our own AI powered application?

  13. NY Carlos Chegutu Kaguvi

    I just don’t really know guys what our fault is – what we did wrong! All we need is knowledge inorder to succeed, and chatgpt is a tool which can help us with that a tenfold. I don’t know who the business strategy team at chatgpt are? But I suspect there are massive racists. How can they impose restrictions to us regular Zimbabwean citizens, who have nothing to do with the cause of their sanctions! We are just in a ghost train that we don’t really have control of. Now is it our fault that we were born born here not the Americas? Did we subscribe to be born here? Now I don’t understand what’s our problem with these guys is, including PayPal!

    Now we see that in Russia, they are targeting specific oligarchs, why can’t they just do that here if they have a problem with how things are run in Zimbabwe? What they don’t fuc*king know is that the political entities wc they really have a problem with are in most cases the ones who don’t need their services, and living a better life to some extent, and us the dreamers, are the ones who are suffering.

    Maybe to America ๐Ÿ‘†that’s normal anyway, this is what they lightly refer to as collateral damage isn’t it?
    What’s clear to see is that their regional restrictions does not work and they don’t dare to find better and effective ways that works when is comes to countries like ours because they don’t CARE they just decide clumsily, OPENING FIRE DISREGARDING WHO IS THE WAY, AS LONG AS THEIR TARGET IS ALSO HIT AMONG THE CROWD.

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