Grok is an AI chatbot built by xAI to answer questions and provide information on worldly topics. It uses the X platform (formerly Twitter) to access real time knowledge of world events. Grok is xAI's first publicly released product as part of its artificial generative intelligence tools.
What does Grok mean?
The name “Grok” comes from Robert Heinlein’s 1961 book “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Although it is a Martian term without a direct earthly translation, readers seem to have settled on the term indicating something that resembles profound empathy and intuition.
Merriam Webster defines the term to "understand profoundly and intuitively”.
xAI's founder, Musk has himself alluded to this explanation in a post.
I suppose we'll have to wait for an exact explanation of what Grok means from xAI.
How does Grok work?
Grok is powered by Grok-1, the distinctive language model developed since September 2023.
Grok-1's predecessor, Grok-0 developed since July 2023 was a large language model with 33 billion parameters.
The LLM matched the capabilities of much larger LLMs like LLaMA 2 that are trained on twice the volume of training data.
Grok-1 is a significant upgrade on Grok-0 with better reasoning and coding capabilities using extensive feedback from humans and the early Grok-0 models.
Kubernetes, Rust, and JAX play a crucial role in the development and success of Grok. Collectively, these technologies form a solid and dependable foundation for deep learning research.
The xAI team includes experts with experience from companies like DeepMind, OpenAI, Google, Microsoft and Tesla; and are actively recruiting.
6 facts we know about xAI Grok
The AI tool has limited access right now.
We're still learning about Grok and its capabilities but here are 6 things we know about the AI chatbot.
1. Grok has personality
Unlike other AI platforms that are largely serious in their interaction, Grok seems to have been inspired by xAI's founder, Elon Musk.
The announcement was quick to point out that,
Grok is designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak, so please don’t use it if you hate humor!
And Elon even posted an example of a sarcastic response on his X (formerly Twitter) profile.
Grok’s ability to use sarcasm and humor sets it apart from traditional AI chatbots, making it more engaging and relatable. Studies have shown that sarcasm can sharpen wit and humor can give a more human touch to AI interactions.
Grok’s understanding of language nuances and human behavior allows it to deliver quick-witted and humorous responses filled with quips, puns, and sarcasm.
2. Grok is updated in real time
Grok is updated on information via access to the X platform.
While this does mean that Grok will have answers to topics discussed on X, we're not sure how it will stay updated on information or contrary views that don't appear on X.
Here's an example of Grok's answer versus another GPT chatbot.
3. Grok isn't shy of controversial questions
Given Musk's push for freedom of speech, it's not surprising to hear that Grok will "answer spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems."
We're left to interpret what spicy means in this context but it's not hard to imagine that Grok will likely take on questions around world politics, race and social trends.
Neither xAI nor Musk shared an example of this, but a user posted a query that shows Grok isn't shy to use language that other AI tools shy away from.
4. Grok is as smart as its peers
Grok-1’s performance is impressive, scoring high on various benchmarks and outperforming rivals ChatGPT-3.5 and Inflection-1.
For instance, Grok-1 scored 63.2% on the HumanEval coding task and an impressive 73% on the MMLU. On the GSM8k benchmark, which focuses on middle school math word problems, Grok-1 achieved 62.9%.
This makes it a top contender among other models in its compute class.
Here is how Grok-1 compares to other language models.
Grok lags behind models that use more computing resources and have been trained on significantly larger volumes of data like GPT 4.
However, its remarkable performance in such a short time indicates its potential to keep improving and perhaps surpass its peers.
Grok passed the Hungarian national high school mathematics finals with 59% while Claude-2 scored 55%, and GPT-4 got a B with 68%.
xAI was quick to note that this was a test Grok wasn't explicitly trained for.
5. Grok's purpose is to advance understanding of the universe
The goal of xAI is to build Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) with a maximally curious mindset capable of understanding and unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
Grok's goal is to help advance our understanding of the world.
Musk has said that xAI is being built as competition to OpenAI.
Elon's take is that competition encourages honesty and xAI's tools will benefit both consumers and businesses.
He has often spoken about how there is much that we don't understand, even questioning things we take for granted like the nature of gravity and our understanding of humanity in context of space.
This AGI would fundamentally differ from how humans comprehend the world, pushing humanity beyond existing capabilities and boundaries.
6. Grok will have some restrictions
Grok distinguishes itself from other AI with its unique ability to use sarcasm and humor, enhancing its appeal and relatability to users.
But Musk has also championed for regulation in AI, so don't be too surprised if we see some kind of balance.
It's early to say since the wider public is yet to access Grok but as a chatbot committed to ethical AI usage, Grok’s creators will almost certainly implement some kind of safeguards to prevent the misuse of its AI technology and address false or contradictory information, ensuring that Grok remains a trustworthy and ethical chatbot.
Musk has however said that Grok will not be taught what to say, implying that the AI tool will be allowed to have a mind of its own.
How to access Grok?
Grok is offering a limited number of users in the United States to try out Grok and provide feedback to improve its capabilities before a wider release.
You can join the Grok waitlist here.
Elon has also announced that Grok will be included in subscription to the X Premium + plan starting at $16/month .
The Premium plan offers various personalization features, minus ads, and provides ways to enhance your posts on X.
Grok’s early access is currently limited to US users, but xAI has plans for global expansion and will provide ongoing updates for global users.
Future directions at xAI and Grok
Continuous improvement will remain a priority for xAI, as they seek human feedback to enhance Grok’s performance and ensure its AI capabilities are constantly evolving.
By incorporating human feedback, Grok can learn from real-world experiences, optimize its responses, and make better decisions in situations where training data might be sparse.
Given Musk's track record, Grok is going to be an interesting addition to the world of AI chatbots with its unique features, and engineering capabilities.
We'll update this space as we learn more.