A new open-source application called FreeChat is making it easier than ever for regular people to experiment with powerful AI chatbots on their Macs.
Announced in an Oct. 30 Reddit post, FreeChat lets Mac users chat with large language models without any technical know-how required. Large language models are AIs trained on massive amounts of text data to generate human-like conversations.
Until now, accessing such AIs required installing complex software or uploading private conversations to the cloud. But FreeChat runs entirely offline on your local machine, with no internet needed after installation.
As clearly explained in the documentation, the app was built using the open-source llama.cpp library, which allows developers to run models based on Meta’s Llama and Llama 2 on home computers. With FreeChat, users can simply download the app from the Mac App Store and start chatting no configuration necessary.
Conversations occur within the app itself and are saved locally, giving users privacy and control over their data
The default model provides general-purpose chat, but users can easily customize it or swap in other freely available models to change their persona and skills. There are models optimized for uncensored chat, programming advice, counseling conversations, and more.
The developer’s goal is to expand access to AI. As they explained on Github, “The main goal of FreeChat is to make open, local, private models accessible to more people.” By removing the barriers to entry, the developer hopes to let non-technical users experiment safely with this emerging technology.
The launch on the Mac App Store this weekend represents a significant milestone. It brings local AI out of the realm of hackers and early adopters into a polished, consumer-friendly package anyone can install. With interactive AI poised to become mainstream in applications like search and chat, tools like FreeChat give regular people a chance to try it out without surrendering their data over to corporations or learning to use a terminal.
Featured Image Credit: Symbol of FreeChat; Apple Apps; Thank you!