You can add Duolingo to the growing list of companies jumping on the generative AI craze. On Wednesday, the company announced Duolingo Max, a new, more expensive subscription tier that comes with access to a pair of GPT-4 features. The first of those, “Explain My Answer,” allows you to ask Duo, a chatbot named after the company’s owl mascot, to spell out why your answer to a question was right or wrong, with the option to ask for additional clarification if you need more help.
The second feature, Roleplay, allows you to practice the skills you’ve learned through Duolingo in a handful of scenarios. For example, one session tasks you with ordering food and drinks at a Parisian cafe. Duolingo says no two conversations will be exactly the same, even when you rehearse a situation more than once, and users can earn experience points by completing the practice sessions.
“Most people don’t have access to a one-on-one human tutor, but I believe AI will allow us to eventually recreate the experience of a human tutor and scale it to everyone in the world,” said Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn. “I’m so excited to share these incredible new features with millions of Duolingo learners.”
Duolingo has been working on Duolingo Max since 2022, as part of a partnership that saw OpenAI grant the company access to its new GPT-4 model before this week’s announcement. Thankfully, Duolingo is aware enough to admit GPT-4’s language skills are far from perfect. “We’ve spent months collaborating closely with OpenAI to test and train this technology, and will continue doing so until the mistakes are nearly nonexistent,” the company notes, adding users can report an incorrect AI response by long pressing on a message. Users can also evaluate a Explain My Answer session by offering a thumbs up or down emoji after they’re done with one.
Starting today, Duolingo Max is available to English-speaking iOS users learning Spanish and French. In the US, the service will cost $30 per month or $168 annually. It comes with all the features that are part of Duolingo's existing Super subscription, including unlimited hearts and no ads.