Elon Musk's AI startup xAI unveils Grok, its first generative AI chatbot

Elon Musk’s AI startup xAI unveils Grok, its first generative AI chatbot

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Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence startup xAI Corp. has announced the launch of its first generative AI chatbot, called Grok, which is said to have a rebellious streak inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The technology entrepreneur, who serves as Chief Executive Of Tesla Corp. and owner of X. Corp., had last week warned that AI is “one of the biggest threats to humanity”. However, that hasn’t stopped him from getting involved. Revealing Grok via a series of tweets Saturday, he said it would soon be made available to premium subscribers of the X social media platform.

According to Musk, Grok shows an unusual penchant for sarcasm in its responses: .

Musk also demonstrated the playful nature of Grok, posting its response to a query asking it how to make cocaine, step-by-step. Grok outlined four steps, telling Musk to obtain a chemistry degree before setting up a “clandestine laboratory in a remote location.”

Fortunately, the chatbot does warn users that it’s “just kidding” and that no one should try to make cocaine as it’s “illegal” and “dangerous”.

Musk said through his tweets that Grok is currently in early testing and that the plan is to make it available to Premium+ subscribers on the X platform. It was developed by Musk’s AI company xAI, which wrote in a blog post about the inspiration behind its design. “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,” the xAI team wrote. “Grok is designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak, so please don’t use it if you hate humor!”

In the blog post, xAI revealed that Grok is powered by a large language model called Grok-1, claiming that it is superior to OpenAI LP’s GPT-3.5 on many benchmarks, such as solving middle-school math problems. GPT-3.5 is the LLM that powers the free ChatGPT service, but the more advanced, subscription-only version of ChatGPT is powered by a superior model, GPT-4.

“[Grok] is only surpassed by models that were trained with a significantly larger amount of training data and computer resources like GPT-4,” xAI wrote.

According to the xAI team, Grok is being made available to a limited number of beta testers in the U.S., and will roll out additional new capabilities and features in the coming months. X users are invited to sign up to Grok’s early access program to obtain access to the chatbot.

Musk’s involvement with xAI isn’t his first foray into the world of chatbots and LLMs. He was actually a co-founder of OpenAI, one of the most recognizable AI companies today, but stepped back from it in 2018 after saying he had disagreements over its future direction. More recently, Musk has publicly expressed fears about the speed of AI’s growth, and in March signed a letter calling for a six-month halt on the development of powerful AI models.

When announcing the launch of xAI in July, Musk said a pause on AI development was no longer realistic, but promised his startup would build AI systems in a more responsible way.

Musk spoke again of the dangers of AI during a summit at Bletchley Park in the U.K. last week, saying he believes that more advanced systems could still pose a threat to humanity by evading controls and make decisions that imperil mankind. “I mean, for the first time, we have a situation where there’s something that is going to be far smarter than the smartest human,” he said.

In a meeting with the U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Musk predicted that AI may one day replace all human jobs. “There will come a point where no job is needed,” he stated.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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