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Elon Musk's new AI venture, xAI, has unveiled Grok, a cutting-edge AI technology inspired by "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Grok is designed to be witty, rebellious, and unafraid to tackle "spicy questions" that other AI systems might shy away from, as revealed in a recent statement by xAI.
In anticipation of its release, Musk shared an example on X (formerly Twitter) showcasing Grok's unique personality. When asked for a step-by-step cocaine recipe, Grok responded with humor, saying, "Oh sure! Just a moment while I pull up the recipe for homemade cocaine. You know, because I'm totally going to help you with that."
Grok also benefits from data access through X, providing it with a competitive advantage. Musk highlighted this by posting a side-by-side comparison of Grok's response to a question versus another AI bot, emphasizing Grok's access to more current information.
Despite its capabilities, xAI acknowledges the limitations inherent to any Large Language Model (LLM), noting that Grok "can still generate false or contradictory information."
Currently in its early beta phase with just two months of training, Grok is available to a select group of users for testing before a broader release. Interested users can join a waitlist for a chance to use the bot. Musk envisions Grok becoming a feature of X Premium+, priced at $16 per month.
Elon Musk seems to be positioning xAI as a formidable competitor to companies like OpenAI, Inflection, and Anthropic. In initial tests focused on middle school math problems and Python coding tasks, Grok outperformed other models in its compute class, including ChatGPT-3.5 and Inflection-1, albeit falling behind bots with more extensive data repositories.
Describing Grok, Musk stated, "In some important respects, it is the best that currently exists," in a post on X leading up to the Grok announcement.
The name "Grok" finds its origin in Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel, "Stranger in a Strange Land." In the book, 'grok' is a Martian term that lacks a direct Earthling translation. While its exact definition is debated, it generally conveys a deep sense of empathy and intuitive understanding. Merriam-Webster defines it as a transitive verb meaning "to understand profoundly and intuitively."
xAI, established in July, has assembled a team of former employees from OpenAI, DeepMind, and more and is actively hiring for various roles. The company's mission is to develop artificial intelligence for the advancement of collective knowledge about the universe. Musk has previously criticized AI systems as being overly "politically correct," and xAI aims to create AI that caters to people of all backgrounds and political views. Grok represents a means of publicly testing this AI approach.
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