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What is Grok AI? Elon Musk makes chatbot available to more X users

ANKARA, TURKIYE - NOVEMBER 7: In this photo illustration, Elon Musk's photo is displayed in front of Grok logo on a phone screen, in Ankara, Turkiye on November 7, 2023. (Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Elon Musk's Grok AI will be available to Premium users of X. (Anadolu via Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence chatbot Grok AI is going to be available to more people this week via the social network X (formerly Twitter).

Musk announced - via X, naturally - that Grok will be available to Premium subscribers this week, having previously only been available to higher-end Premium+ subscribers. It follows an announcement earlier this month that the chatbot would be ‘open source’.

Users who pay £8 a month for Premium accounts on X will be able to interact with the chatbot via Musk’s social network.

What is Grok and why is it different?

Grok is a chatbot similar to ChatGPT and Anthropic’s Claude, but accessible via X. Once known as TruthGPT, Musk initially billed it as a "maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe".

Musk has promised that Grok will be ‘anti-woke’ and offers a ‘Fun Mode’ as well as an ‘Unhinged Fun Mode’. The chatbot is accessible via X, and only to subscribers.

Musk’s move this week could be an attempt to drum up more subscriptions, TechCrunch suggests, with data from Sensor Tower suggesting usage is down 23% since Musk acquired the social media giant.

Is it really anti-woke?

Grok’s Unhinged Fun Mode was shown mocking Elon Musk for the unusual name of his child last week - 'X Æ A-12 Musk'.

But in previous tests, the software was shown to be progressive in its views on trans people and other culture war issues.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13: Elon Musk and son X Æ A-12 on stage TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME)
Elon Musk and son X Æ A-12 on stage and Time Person of the Year in 2021 in New York City. (Getty Images for TIME)

Grok said (among other things): "Diversity and inclusion are essential for creating a fair and equitable society where everyone is treated with respect and has the opportunity to thrive."

Why is Musk suing OpenAI?

Musk filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Microsoft-backed OpenAI, which he co-founded in 2015 but left three years later.

Musk alleged that OpenAI had "breached the founding agreement" by becoming a for-profit company.

"The name, the 'open' in OpenAI, is supposed to mean open source, and it was created as a nonprofit open source. And now it is a closed source for maximum profit," Musk said.

Open source software refers to software which can be used, altered and distributed by others - although experts have warned that in AI, this could lead to software that offers deadly advice, or even to the creation of a rogue super-intelligence.

In response, OpenAI publicised emails that allegedly showed the Tesla CEO supported a plan to create a for-profit entity and wanted a merger with the EV maker to make the combined company a "cash cow".

Musk said at Britain's AI Safety Summit last year that he wanted to establish a "third-party referee" that could oversee firms developing AI and sound the alarm if they have concerns.

In a podcast episode with computer scientist and podcaster Lex Fridman, Musk suggested in November that he favoured the concept of open-source AI.

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