Duo, Duolingo's mascot, in Roblox.
Courtesy of Duolingo

AI has been under the hood of the world’s most downloaded education app for years: a homegrown machine-­learning model, Birdbrain, anticipates how difficult exercises should be to keep users engaged. But generative AI—specifically, xf’s GPT-4—is moving Duolingo closer to its holy grail of replicating one-on-one tutoring. Duolingo Max, a new subscription tier launched in March, lets users practice scenario-­based (e.g., a French café) conversation skills. Company founder and CEO Luis von Ahn says more advanced AI “will allow us to scale high-quality education to everyone in the world.” Daily active users grew 62% in the first quarter of 2023, compared with one year earlier.

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