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Let's Get Some Terms Straight: Generative AI, LLMs, and AI Chatbots

Updated: Jun 2

Android in headset with monitor behind him

As is often the case in tech, especially with relatively new developments, there's a tendency to get sloppy with terminology. When it comes to GenAI, I see people (many who should know better) conflating concepts and using distinct terms interchangeably. Being the terminology geek I am, I thought I would quickly differentiate Generative AI (GenAI), Large Language Models (LLMs), and a common type of application that leverages these two, GenAI Chatbots.

Generative AI (GenAI)

  • Definition: GenAI is a category of technology. The term refers to AI systems that can create new content, including text, images, music, and more

  • Relationships:

    • LLM: GenAI systems often use LLMs to generate text-based content. While LLMs are specific to text, GenAI encompasses a wider range of content creation, including visual and auditory media.

    • Chatbots: GenAI enhances chatbots by enabling them to generate diverse types of content beyond just text, such as personalized recommendations and multimedia responses.

Large Language Model (LLM)

  • Definition: An LLM is an advanced AI model designed to understand and generate human-like text by processing large datasets.

  • Relationships:

    • GenAI: LLMs serve as the foundational technology for many Generative AI applications, providing the text-generation capabilities that GenAI utilizes to create new content.

    • Chatbots: LLMs power advanced chatbots by enabling them to understand context and generate appropriate responses, improving the conversational abilities of chatbots, making interactions more natural and human-like.

AI Chatbot

  • Definition: A chatbot is an AI application designed to simulate human conversation and interact with users via text or voice.

  • Relationships:

    • LLM: Chatbots are often powered by LLMs, which provide the underlying capabilities for understanding and generating text.

    • GenAI: Chatbots leverage GenAI to improve their interaction capabilities, enabling them to generate varied content and responses. With GenAI, chatbots can go beyond simple text interactions, offering dynamic and creative content generation.


  • GenAI is a category of technology that uses AI to generate text, images, music, etc.

  • LLM is an AI model that consumes text and supports text generation

  • AI Chatbot is an interactive AI application that simulates conversation, often powered by LLMs and enhanced by GenAI for richer user interactions

Got it? Good!

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