Musk's xAI announces first AI model - Grok

Elon Musk's artificial intelligence startup xAI released its first AI model to a select group.

“Grok is an AI modeled after the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so intended to answer almost anything and, far harder, even suggest what questions to ask!” xAI tweeted.

This comes nearly a year after OpenAI's ChatGPT caught the imagination of businesses and users around the world, spurring a surge in adoption of generative AI technology.

Musk co-founded OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, in 2015, but stepped down from the company's board in 2018.

"In some important respects, it (xAI's new model) is the best that currently exists," he said on Friday on his X platform.

According to the xAI, Grok is “a very early beta product” so users should expect it to improve rapidly.

“A unique and fundamental advantage of Grok is that it has real-time knowledge of the world via the X platform. It will also answer spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems,” the company said.

The billionaire who has been critical of Big Tech's AI efforts and censorship said earlier this year that he would launch a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe to rival Google's Bard and Microsoft's Bing AI.

The team behind xAI, which launched in July this year, comes from Google's DeepMind, the Windows parent, and other top AI research firms.

Though Musk-owned X, the social media firm formerly known as Twitter, and xAI are separate, the companies work closely together. XAI also works with Tesla and other companies.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and a self-described close friend of Musk, said in September that xAI had signed a contract to train its AI model on Oracle's cloud.

Musk talks AI with British Prime Minister

Meanwhile, Musk attended the inaugural AI Safety Summit held in the UK this past week, ending the trip by speaking in London alongside British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Sunak hosted Musk at the opulent Lancaster House government venue in front of an invited audience of dozens of other business leaders, where the two discussed everything from killer robots to the meaning of life.

Elon Musk and British PM Rishi Sunak2
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends an in-conversation event with Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. Image by Kirsty Wigglesworth | Reuters

Musk, who backed China's participation in the two-day summit, said, "If the United States and the UK and China are aligned on safety, then that's going to be a good thing,because that's where the leadership is generally."

"Having them here I think was essential, really. If they're not participants, it's pointless" Musk said.

Musk and Sunak agreed on the possible need for physical "off-switches" to prevent robots from running out of control in a dangerous way, making reference to "The Terminator" film franchise and other science-fiction films.

"All these movies with the same plot fundamentally all end with the person turning it off," Sunak said, adding that the importance of physical off switches had formed part of the discussions at the summit earlier in the day.

Musk told Sunak he thought AI was "the most disruptive force in history", speculating the technology would be able to "do everything" and make employment as we know it today a thing of the past.

"I don't know if that makes people comfortable or uncomfortable," he said.

"It's both good and bad. One of the challenges in the future will be, how do we find meaning in life if you have a magic genie that can do everything you want?" said Musk.