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28 May, 2024

How to Build Your Own Assistant with GPT-4 Turbo

OpenAI keeps making waves. This year, we’ve seen their creativity shine with innovative ideas for their GPT models and ChatGPT. The latest update brought us GPT-4 Turbo, new TTS, and new Assistants API

In this post, we will look at Assistants API and explain how you can build your own AI assistant with GPT-4 Turbo.

Understanding the Assistants API

Assistants API is a notable breakthrough for AI-driven interfaces, providing developers with the tools to build tailored AI assistants. Its hallmark features include compatibility across various GPT models, robust integration of tools, and scalability, catering to diverse applications spanning customer service, education, and beyond. The API ensures personalized user interactions, aligning itself seamlessly with specific needs.

GPT-4 Turbo, the latest pinnacle in AI language models, boasts significantly enhanced performance supported by an extensive knowledge base for your artificial intelligence projects. The setup process involves the establishment of a compatible environment, preferably leveraging Python SDK v1.2, laying the groundwork for a secure and smooth integration. 

Acquiring API keys is a fundamental step, ensuring authenticated access to kickstart the integration process.

Creating Your First Assistantbuild your own ai assistant

Crafting a GPT-4 assistant entails a series of steps crucial for its development:

  • Define custom instructions. This step involves meticulously tailoring the assistant’s behavior and response style, aligning it precisely with specific requirements. By customizing instructions, developers ensure that the assistant seamlessly adapts to the user’s unique needs.
  • Model selection. The GPT-4 Turbo model is preferable due to its advanced capabilities and comprehensive context understanding. Its prowess in comprehending nuanced contexts is instrumental to the GPT-4 personal assistant’s adeptness. The Retrieval tool requires you to use ‘gpt-3.5-turbo-1106’ and ‘gpt-4-1106-preview’ models.
  • Enable tools integration. Integrating essential tools like Code Interpreter for handling coding tasks and Retrieval for swift information fetching amplifies the assistant’s utility. These integrations transform the assistant into a versatile tool, enhancing its efficiency across various tasks.
  • Implement function calling. Function calling in the Assistants API allows for custom function integration, enabling assistants to perform specific tasks like fetching weather data. Defining these functions enhances the assistant’s utility, making it a versatile tool in various scenarios.

These are the initial steps for creating your assistant. However, there are more things you need to do before your creation is ready to go.

OpenAI provides the following example for a rudimentary math tutoring assistant:

assistant = client.beta.assistants.create(

    name=“Math Tutor”,

    instructions=“You are a personal math tutor. Answer math questions by writing and running code.”,

    tools=[{“type”: “code_interpreter”}],



Naturally, you can add more sophisticated instructions and implement additional rules.

Managing Threads

using gpt 4

Threads within the Assistants API serve as the backbone for ongoing conversations, serving as repositories for stored messages. Efficient management of these Threads encompasses a multifaceted approach — from the creation to the seamless addition of messages. This step in the process of building your own ChatGPT assistant helps it maintain context throughout conversations, ensuring a continuous flow that forms the essence of responsive and interactive AI assistants.

The Threads do not need to be complicated, although they are not restricted by size. You’re free to include an unlimited number of Messages within a Thread. The API effectively manages these by ensuring that requests to the model adhere to the maximum context window. This process involves employing optimization techniques, which will be discussed later in the article.

Here’s a simple Thread offered by OpenAI as an example:

thread = client.beta.threads.create()

By leveraging the Assistants API, you relinquish direct control over the number of input tokens provided to the model during a Run. This grants a higher degree of autonomy in managing the context window. While this approach may occasionally reduce control over the cost of running your Assistant, it alleviates the complexity associated with personally handling the context window.

Creating Messages

use gpt 4

Each Message is comprised of text and, optionally, any permitted files that users can upload. Messages must be associated with a designated Thread to ensure proper organization. 

Presently, the functionality to incorporate images directly through message objects, similar to Chat Completions using GPT-4 with Vision, isn’t currently supported. However, OpenAI is actively planning to introduce this support in the near future. 

Nonetheless, you can continue to upload images separately and process them via retrieval functions. Here’s what a sample message would look like with the example we established before:

message = client.beta.threads.messages.create(,


    content=“Help me solve the equation `4x + 15 = 27`.”


And if we list the Message in our Thread, it should automatically be appended like this:


  “object”: “list”,

  “data”: [


      “created_at”: 1696995451,

      “id”: “msg_abc123”,

      “object”: “thread.message”,

      “thread_id”: “thread_abc123”,

      “role”: “user”,

      “content”: [{

        “type”: “text”,

        “text”: {

          “value”: “Help me solve the equation `4x + 15 = 27`.”,

          “annotations”: []




Handling Runs and Run Steps

how can i use gpt 4

The next step in building your generative AI assistant is to trigger the Assistant’s response to a user message. To do so, you have to create a Run. This prompts the Assistant to review the Thread, deciding whether to employ enabled tools or utilize the model directly to provide the optimal response to the query. Throughout the run’s progression, the assistant continuously adds Messages to the thread, marked with the role=”assistant”. 

run = client.beta.threads.runs.create(,,

  instructions=“Please address the user as Jane Doe. The user has a premium account.”


Additionally, it autonomously determines the relevant previous Messages to include within the context window for the model. This aspect significantly affects both pricing and model performance, leveraging optimizations derived from OpenAI’s experiences constructing ChatGPT, though this approach is subject to continual evolution.

While initiating a Run with GPT-4 Turbo and API, you have the option to include new instructions for the Assistant. It’s essential to note that these instructions take precedence over the Assistant’s default instructions, allowing for customization but potentially altering the Assistant’s behavior accordingly.

Runs represent the execution cycle of an Assistant in a Thread, with distinct life stages, including ‘queued’, ‘in_progress’, and ‘completed’. By default, each Run starts as ‘queued’. You can periodically check on it by retrieving it and seeing if it moved to ‘completed’.

run = client.beta.threads.runs.retrieve(,


When the Run completes, you can list your new Messages.

messages = client.beta.threads.messages.list(


Finally, display the final output to the user. If you did everything correctly, the model should correctly and naturally respond to any mathematical (in our example) or other questions.

Best Practices and Performance Optimization

However, simply creating an assistant is not enough. You must also optimize its performance, especially if you plan to use the GPT-4 Turbo chatbot for commercial purposes. This involves:

  • Efficient token management. Optimal performance involves judiciously managing token utilization and effectively balancing cost considerations with performance benchmarks. One can ensure an economical yet efficient utilization pattern and maximize the Assistant’s capabilities by strategically allocating and leveraging tokens.
  • Data security measures. Safeguarding sensitive data is paramount. Implementing robust security measures, like encryption, access controls, and stringent data handling protocols, fortifies the system against potential breaches. A robust security framework fosters user trust and upholds data integrity.
  • Proactive troubleshooting. Addressing glitches and common issues in advance is vital to providing an uninterrupted user experience. Proactively identifying and resolving potential hiccups ensures a smoother interaction, elevating user satisfaction and trust in the Assistant’s functionality.


Building your own Assistant using GPT-4 Turbo is a journey ripe with innovation and complexity. The fusion of cutting-edge tools like the Assistants API and GPT-4 Turbo opens up vast possibilities for developers keen on crafting bespoke AI assistants. 

While delving into the intricacies of building virtual assistants, this guide strives to serve as a map, navigating the intricate terrain of AI development and inspiring creativity in application design. Understanding the Assistants API and GPT-4 Turbo lays the groundwork for a transformative experience. 

From tailoring custom instructions to integrating tools and managing threads, the initial steps of creating an Assistant are both intricate and promising. While the API grants autonomy in managing threads and context, it also relinquishes certain levels of control, posing challenges that necessitate adept navigation for optimized performance.

If you are not interested in building a virtual assistant on your own, we invite you to use our artificial intelligence development services.

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