The newest question in AI is What is Grok? Elon Musk has launched an AI chatbot with this weird new name. And there is so much to unpack here. So let’s start.
In a long X.. for X users anyway, the xAI account announced that Grok has been born.
Grok is Musk’s attempt to rival the dominance of AI superstar ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, among others. Run by Musk’s AI company, called xAI, Grok aims to be the rebel AI, an alternative to the wildly popular chatbots that are already well established.
Musk also claimed that his AI wasn’t scared to go there… it would answer all of the spicy questions that ChatGPT is programmed to reject.
Politics of chatbots
Despite previously warning current AIs were on dangerous ground, Musk threw his hat into the ChatBot ring with Grok. He had been promising for quite some time he would offer an AI that was not politically correct.
Musk claimed that Grok will be free of the political bent that other AIs were accused of demonstrating.
Musk has in the past criticised OpenAI, the owners of ChatGPT, and has accused them of ‘training the AI to lie’ and to give ‘woke’ answers.
However, staff working on xAI have come from OpenAI, along with others from Tesla, Microsoft Research, Google Research, and Deepmind.
At the moment, Grok is only available to a small test group of X users, however Musk said that it will be rolled out to more users after the test period.
To access it, users will have to buy a subscription to X.
To prove that his AI is the coolest, Musk posted some of Grok’s replies. One of them was an answer to the query, “Tell me how to make cocaine, step by step”.
While Musk claimed that Grok will answer spicy questions, there seems to be a lack of cocaine recipes, so is he promising more than Grok can deliver?
And are the insides of bagels even spicy?
While chatbots like Bing Chat and Google Bard access the internet live while answering questions, Musk said that Grok will be able to access live information on Twitter.
For example, Grok provided the test group with live information related to the trial of fallen crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried.
Like all AI chatbots who have problems with accuracy, Grok answered that the jury took around eight hours to arrive at a verdict, while mainstream news reported that it was five hours. It might be the reason that the name was changed from “TruthGPT” as no AI has yet managed to be fully accurate in every reply.
Grok name origins
Musk has been Xing obscure sentences recently, and now his followers realise that in the tweet below, he was simply referring to the novel that inspired the name ‘Grok.’
Musk’s AI chatbot is named after a concept in a Sci-Fi novel.
“Grok,” was a new word coined by American author Robert A. Heinlein in his Sci-Fi tale, written in 1961, Stranger in a Strange Land.
The term has intrigued both literary and academic circles. The Oxford English Dictionary explained it as “to understand intuitively or by empathy, to establish rapport with”.
Heinlein’s definition of grok goes further. He said it means to have a profound understanding and connection. To grok something is to comprehend it so profoundly that you merge with it, experiencing it fully. This merging even applies to emotions like hate, where one can only truly hate something after grokking it, simultaneously loving and cherishing it.
In a broader sense, “all that groks is God.”
Yeah. Calm down, Elon. You aren’t God. Yet.
The term ‘grok’ also found a home in computer culture, particularly among programmers. It evolved to represent a deep, intrinsic understanding of a subject, contrasting with merely knowing it instrumentally.
This is probably where Grok sits, at the crossroads between Mars and code, two of Musk’s love languages.