Elon Musk’s company, xAI, released its AI chatbot offering into beta testing recently for a small number of X users.
The chatbot is called Grok, a made-up word taken from Robert Heinlein’s 1961 classic Stranger in a Strange Land that essentially means “to understand intuitively or with empathy.”
The AI chatbot offers two modes: one for straight answers, and one that offers more humorous and sarcastic takes on user prompts.
According to the company announcement, the AI model is based on Musk’s favorite book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which uses a sarcastic tone to explore deep topics like the meaning of life.
Musk promises that Grok “will also answer spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems.”
Grok will be able to train its results using tweets from X, a source of real-time data not available to ChatGPT since Musk shut off OpenAI’s access for training its large language models on X posts.
This means that Grok can answer questions about current events by using the data found on X.
A common criticism of ChatGPT is its lack of knowledge of recent happenings because its training ended with data from 2021.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman recently announced that ChatGPT 4.0 Turbo will have access to more recent data for training up through April 2023, with a promise to keep it more up-to-date in the future.
Musk, who was one of OpenAI’s founders before parting with the company in 2018 over its growing relationship with Microsoft, is clearly focused on creating a very different offering with Grok.
It is not yet clear if others will share Musk’s idea that the world needs a sarcastic AI.
However, it is clear that Altman isn’t a fan as shown in a tweet on Musk’s own platform.
GPTs can save a lot of effort: pic.twitter.com/VFIrGzPuMN
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 10, 2023