Meet Grok: Elon Musk’s Latest Revelation

November 21, 2023


Brian Lim

After a controversial cybertruck and the promise of brain chips that allows the user to control devices using their brain, Elon Musk has released his answer to the increasingly lucrative generative AI market - Grok.

Created by Musk’s new AI company, xAI, Grok is modeled on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” It is supposed to have “a bit of wit,” “a rebellious streak,” and it should answer the “spicy questions” that other AI might dodge, according to a Saturday statement from xAI. According to Musk, the chatbot “loves sarcasm” and responds with “a little humor”, hoping that giving Grok more personality will allow it to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

Optimists have been quick to applaud the quirks and strengths of Grok. Its willingness to answer controversial questions is something lacking in many of its competitors. While this is to prevent chatbots from giving misinformed, offensive, or divisive responses, Grok’s willingness to answer anything and its programmed “wit” has the potential of making interactions with the chatbot more enjoyable. Users will be able to feel the human touch that is severely lacking in other chatbots, making such conversations more personalized.

Furthermore, Grok has access to data from X, formerly known as Twitter. This gives a leg-up to Grok as other models such as ChatGPT would still be relying on older internet archives.  Hence, it would be able to provide more up-to-date information for each question prompt, which is especially useful given how fast information becomes obsolete and new information is made available nowadays.

Nonetheless, Grok has still a large ground to make if it wants to catch up to its competitors. Most notably, Grok’s ability to respond to mathematical queries or demonstrate reasoning is similar to OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, the model that powered the initial version of ChatGPT when it launched last November. It is still behind OpenAI’s latest model - GPT-4, which has shown “human-like performances” on professional benchmark exams like the US bar exams, and is already integrated into many apps and software by other companies. 

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Grok. In fact, its growth has been nothing but remarkable so far. The prototype has only been training for 2 months and already matches OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, which took 4 years to train after the initial GPT-1 was introduced in June 2018. Moreover, it is owned by one of the world’s richest men and the current company that runs it has poached numerous former employees of OpenAI to work on creating Grok. With such strong support behind it, only time will tell if Grok can successfully establish itself in this multi-billion dollar industry.