Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence company, xAI, has announced the beta release of its AI chatbot, called Grok. Grok is designed to be a competitor to the reigning chatbot king, ChatGPT, with Musk and xAI noting that the chatbot is designed to be more sarcastic than other chatbots. Here’s what you need to know about Grok.
- What is Grok? It’s the name of the chatbot that xAI just released in beta. Grok is based on large language model (LLM) technology, just like ChatGPT. In other words, Grok is trained on millions of articles and posts across the web, so it can (hopefully) generate accurate answers for its users.
- Why is it called “Grok”? While Grok’s sass and sarcasm is modeled after Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy according to xAI, the term “grok” actually comes from an older piece of science fiction. As CNBC notes, “grok” was a term invented by Robert A. Heinlein in his Stranger in a Strange Land novel from 1961. The term was never defined in the book, but was a Martian word that most agreed meant a person had a deep intuition or empathy about something.
- How is Grok different than ChatGPT? xAI says that Grok will “answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak” and thus warns people who “hate humor” not to use it. xAI also says Grok will “answer spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems.”
- What has Grok been trained on? All LLM chatbots are trained on massive amounts of text, typically sources such as Wikipedia articles, books, scholarly essays, and much more. This training material is known as a corpus. But xAI says Grok’s “unique and fundamental advantage” is that its corpus also has “real-time knowledge of the world via the X platform.” But given that X, formerly Twitter, is increasingly flooded with disinformation and seems to be flourishing with hate speech, it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about just what types of answers Grok will provide to users.
- Is Grok tied to X in any other way? You betcha. If you want to beta test Grok, you’ll need to join a waitlist, but only verified X users will be admitted. Of course, to be verified on X, you need to be a paying premium subscriber. Elon Musk has also confirmed that Grok will be a feature of X Premium+, which costs $16 a month.
- How can I get access to Grok? Grok is in beta now. You can join the waitlist here, but you must be a paying X subscriber to do so.