What just happened? Elon Musk's artificial intelligence company xAI is joining the conversational chatbot market with Grok. Available to those who pay $16 per month for X Premium, Grok is modeled on the excellent UK book/radio/TV series (and the less successful Hollywood adaptation) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which means it likes humor, sarcasm, and sassiness.
Musk wrote on X/Twitter that Grok was released to a select group of users on Saturday but would be available to all X Premium+ subscribers once it comes out of early beta.
Announcing Grok!– xAI (@xai) November 5, 2023
Grok is an AI modeled after the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so intended to answer almost anything and, far harder, even suggest what questions to ask!
Grok is designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak, so please don't use…
xAI later said that Grok is intended to answer any question, and even suggests what questions to ask. It is designed to inject wit and humor into its answers, and uses real-time knowledge of the world via X, something Musk says gives the chatbot a "unique and fundamental advantage." The Tesla boss gave an example of Grok's use of current information by showing a side-by-side comparison with ChatGPT.
Example of Grok vs typical GPT, where Grok has current information, but other doesn't pic.twitter.com/hBRXmQ8KFi– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 5, 2023
Grok also answers "spicy" questions rejected by other generative AIs. Elon Musk once complained about ChatGPT being overly "woke" and biased, and that he was working on a "TruthGPT" alternative. It's unlikely to be a coincidence that Grok is said to be "useful to people of all backgrounds and political views."
The Large Language Model powering Grok is called Grok-1, which was developed over just four months during which time it went through several iterations; xAI said Grok has completed a mere two months of training. In a benchmarks comparison table on the site, the LLM is superior to the likes of Meta's LlamA and OpenAI's GPT-3.5, with only Google's Palm 2, Claude 2, and GPT-4 - models that were trained with a significant amount more data and compute resources - ahead of it.
You can join the waitlist for Grok here.
In other X news, it's been reported that Musk has begun selling off dormant Twitter handles for $50,000. The company's website still states that it "cannot release inactive usernames at this time," but Forbes writes that an internal group known as @HandleTeam has reportedly started working on a marketplace for unused handles.
Back in December, Musk said Twitter would soon start freeing the name space of 1.5 billion accounts. A month later, the New York Times reported that the platform was considering selling usernames as a way to generate revenue.