New Zealand firm Darkscope creates Kiwi-version chatbot they think is safer than its predecessors

Artificial intelligence is developing so quickly that even its creators admit to being scared.

Kiwi firm Darkscope has created a chatbot they believe is safer than its predecessors - but they're still calling on the government to regulate the industry.

It's been less than a year since the launch of ChatGPT which set off a global AI arms race that scares even its creator.

"If I wasn't [scared] you should be worried," Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, told ABC.

Here in New Zealand, experts describe the growth as "phenomenal".

"It's sort of going from something to try out, have a bit of a play with to seeing its use in more and more different areas of industry with new ideas coming through," said tech lawyer Arran Hunt.

"Some of them great, some of them sort of borderline, but we're seeing them encroach on every part of our lives."

Now Kiwi cyber security firm Darkscope has entered the race with a new chatbot called Wilson.

"Wilson is an alternative to ChatGPT. So basically, it is a democratised version of GPT that is run by our community," said Darkscope director Joerg Buss.

It's an alternative Buss says is safer.

"ChatGPT is amazing, but it's a black box. So every time we use it, we do not actually know what they do with our information. So that's the difference to Wilson because we don't utilise anything you do with your words," he said.

And can provide answers more relevant to Kiwis.

"We feed it with information in particular to New Zealand, to Māori and to the culture, because these large models like ChatGPT, they don't have the information that we have locally. That's why it is important for us to actually be in New Zealand and have Wilson from New Zealand from here," Buss said.

But even as he builds a homegrown AI, he is calling on the Government to step in.

"So we do need regulations and we do need frameworks, and that's what's missing in AI right now," Buss warned.

To avoid situations like last week when PAK'nSAVE's AI chatbot gave out potentially lethal recipe advice to customers.

"AI will not take over the world, for sure not, but what it can do is that it influences the people's opinion and that influences their decision-making. And that's what we really need to create a framework about," Buss said.

Wilson will wash ashore in New Zealand this weekend.