Duolingo looks to be the latest app to jump on the “find some way to integrate generative AI” bandwagon. If you’re willing to upgrade to a new more expensive membership (£10-20 a month depending on how long you sign up for) then it’ll use the new GPT-4 model to provide a couple of AI based features.

There’s “Explain My Answer”, whereby you can ask for an explanation of why your answer was right or wrong in some cases. The screenshot from their site, shown below, makes it look like a multiple choice setup, where you click preset buttons like “Please elaborate” rather than type your responses chatGPT-style.

The other feature is Roleplay. There you’ll be able to chat through various scenarios such as ordering a meal with the Duo characters themselves. I can’t find a screenshot that shows whether it’s free-text chat, verbal chat or multiple choice buttons. But I can see enjoying the former, if there’s some way to avoid it going very wrong despite my linguistic inadequacies.

Right now it’s only going to work if you’re learning to speak Spanish or French in English on an iPhone.

It’s an app I use (almost) every day. But at present I’m not sure I feel like I need these features right now. Although the chance to chat about just how terrible learning languages is with DuoLingo’s resident champion of unenthusism and apathy, Lily, is hard to turn down.