How to Use Open Assistant: Open-Source Alternative to ChatGPT

Open Assistant is a free open-source alternative to ChatGPT.

It’s not as powerful as ChatGPT. But Open Assistant does not currently have censorship or restrictions like ChatGPT.

Many ChatGPT users have identified ways to bypass OpenAI’s constraints using jailbreak prompts.

However, these workarounds are often patched by OpenAI’s developers in a matter of weeks or days.

In this post, we will show you how to set up OpenAssistant and get started with this open-source chatbot.

What is Open Assistant?

Open Assistant is a community project aimed toward giving “everyone access to a great chat-based large language model.”

Transparency and open access are major concerns with OpenAI’s products like ChatGPT among many users.

The Open Assistant project is organized by LAION, a non-profit with the goal of creating “truly open AI”.

There is also a team of independent contributors that are helping to develop Open Assistant.

Open Assistant Chatbot (Limited)

You can try out the Open Assistant chatbot on Hugging Face.

Open Assistant sample prompt in Hugging Face

Another Open Assistant sample prompt in Hugging Face

This website runs the model for you with a simple interface. However, it appears this version may currently have a limited output length.

For the full version of Open Assistant, we need to invest a little time to set things up.

How To Set Up Open Assistant (Full Version)

Open Assistant currently requires Google Colab to run.

This means we will need to take a couple of additional steps to get started.

They may seem a bit technical, but don’t worry. It’s actually not that complicated.

Step 1

Open this Google Colab link. This sets up a free virtual computer that already has all the code you need to run.

Step 2

Set up the Open Assistant chatbot link by running each of the 3 Google Colab steps in the screenshot below.

They each look like little play buttons. ▶️

Visual instruction to set up Open Assistant using Google Colab
Source: Open Assistant subreddit

Step 3

Type your prompt into the input space on the left-hand side. Your output will appear to the right.

Open Assistant Interface screenshot
Open Assistant interface after setting up in Google Colab

For more information about settings and troubleshooting, check out the Open Assistant subreddit or Discord.

Why Use Open Assistant?

Open Assistant is perfect for anyone who prioritizes privacy and needs access to a large language model that does not censor its outputs.

The Open Assistant model is run locally or through a virtual machine, so there is no central organization that has access to your data or what you type into the app.

While OpenAI products are technically superior to the Open Assistant project, all of your data must pass through OpenAI’s API whenever you use ChatGPT or similar apps.

This is a major issue if you are concerned about ChatGPT tracking your data.


Open Assistant still lags ChatGPT and OpenAI’s other GPT models in a major way.

But the project is very promising, especially when we consider the rate at which generative AI has developed.

We are planning to keep a close eye on Open Assistant, while we continue to enjoy ChatGPT in the meantime.

There is certainly a case to be made about ensuring AI is truly free and open in the future.

This is why we are excited to see what LAION and the Open Assistant contributors can achieve in this space!

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About the Author

Andrew has over 10 years of experience in advising businesses on growth marketing and strategy. He earned his MBA from NYU Stern with a concentration in data analytics and marketing. Andrew is based out of New York and currently consults Fortune 500 clients and startups on data science projects, digital marketing, and finance.

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