With AI models and chatbots coming out of the woodwork to take advantage of the furore over generative AI, it is hardly a surprise that the likes of ChatGPT are swiftly gaining rivals. Now, another name has been added to the list – Grok, an AI model released by Elon Musk’s new AI company, xAI, which is said to be modelled on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
And if the release of Musk’s version of ChatGPT is not enough, the billionaire also plans to integrate xAI into X – the social media platform formerly known as Twitter – in his pursuit of making X the “everything app.” Musk noted that his AI startup will be integrated into X and also be available as a standalone app, while Grok itself will be rolled out to subscribers of X Premium+ (one of the newly-unveiled tiers of X’s renamed subscription service) once the AI model is out of beta.
By making Grok available to X Premium+ subscribers, X can potentially attract a broader user base that seeks to enjoy the benefits of generative AI tech for social media, with potential upside of increasing X’s premium user base. This marks it as the latest incentive Musk is trying to provide to the Twitterati to entice them in purchasing subscriptions to the revamped Twitter Blue service. That Grok will come to subscribers of X Premium+ – the costliest of the tiers with $16/month – serves as yet another indication of the X pulling all stops, to find new subscribers and enhance user interactions on the X platform. After all, users may find their interactions with AI more enjoyable, which can increase platform engagement, and if more and more users buy the X Premium+ subscription, then it will service as a steady stream of revenue for X as well.
As soon as it’s out of early beta, xAI’s Grok system will be available to all X Premium+ subscribers
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2023
Currently, Grok is rolling out to a select group of users in the US. Musk claims that “Grok has real-time access to info via the X platform, which is a massive advantage over other models.” xAI notes that its aim is to create AI tools that “assist humanity in its quest for understanding and knowledge,” and that Grok has been designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and a “rebellious streak.”
While X, formerly Twitter, operates independently from xAI, the two entities have – so far – maintained a close-knit collaboration. Furthermore, xAI extends its reach to Musk’s electric vehicle venture, Tesla, and an array of other businesses. Grok, at its current stage, is in the early beta phase, having undergone a mere two months of training on a prototype large language model known as Grok-0, equipped with an impressive 33 billion parameters.
Tomorrow, @xAI will release its first AI to a select group.
In some important respects, it is the best that currently exists.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 3, 2023
Grok AI model has been described by its creators as a design focused on delivering answers imbued with humor and a hint of rebelliousness. Musk writes that the Grok system is “designed to have a little humour in its responses,” and that it is “the best that currently exists” in “some important aspects.” Thus, Grok’s distinct personality equips it to address those “spicy questions” that other AI models might politely sidestep, something Musk demonstrated by asking Grok a step-by-step recipe of making cocaine.
Grok’s personality is evidently something that is a result of Musk being a vocal critic of the AI initiatives by Big Tech companies, frequently citing concerns over issues such as censorship and the need for greater transparency. As a response to these reservations, Musk unveiled xAI in July, positioning it as a “maximum truth-seeking AI.” The primary objective of xAI is to delve into the intricacies of the universe, putting it in direct competition with AI behemoths like Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing AI.