Meet Grok, the Musk AI with a “sense of humour”

Just days after declaring that AI is so dangerous it might one day chase you up a tree, Elon Musk’s company has released its own Grok AI chatbot – which he claims has a “sense of humour”.

Musk was the star turn at last week’s AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, where he was interviewed by prime minister Rishi Sunak. Musk declared that he was something of a “Cassandra” when it came to AI, and made several stark warnings about how AI could be used maliciously if not properly relegated.

Coincidentally or not, Musk’s xAI firm then announced Grok over the weekend, an AI chatbot that will “answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak,” according to the company’s statement. Which then added, “please don’t use it if you hate humour”.

Grok’s sense of humour

Musk tweeted several examples of Grok’s so-called humour over the weekend, claiming that the chatbot had been modelled on Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The chatbot has real-time access to X (formerly Twitter), so it’s able to respond to breaking news events, such as the conviction of former FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Whether it’s genuinely a “massive advantage” for Grok to have access to X is debatable, given that Musk has infamously fired many of the team responsible for ensuring content on Twitter is accurate and safe.

It will also be interesting to see whether Rishi Sunak and those enforcing his recently implemented Online Safety Bill will react to publishing cocaine recipes, even if they are presented in a dry tone.

How to access Grok

Grok is a “very early beta” release at this stage, and it’s gradually being rolled out to testers in the US. You can sign up to the waitlist for the early access program, but you must reside in the USA, be 18 or over and be a verified user on X.

It’s powered by Grok-1, xAI’s own large-language model (LLM), which the company claims to have been developing for only four months. xAI has posted its own benchmarks of how Grok-1 scores compared to rival LLMs, which show that it’s still some way behind GPT-4, the LLM behind ChatGPT.

However, xAI claims it can make up the ground. “It [Grok-1] is only surpassed by models that were trained with a significantly larger amount of training data and compute resources like GPT-4,” the company writes in a blog post announcing Grok. “This showcases the rapid progress we are making at xAI in training LLMs with exceptional efficiency.”

How much does Grok cost?

Right now the service is free, but as we noted above you must be a verified user on X to qualify. As such, you will have to pay for the X Premium service, which currently costs $8 per month in the US, £8 per month in the UK and $13 per month in Australia. (Discounts apply if you sign up for a year.)

Grok’s terms and conditions have this to say about future pricing for Grok:

“The Services are currently free, but we reserve the right to charge for certain or all Services in the future. We will notify you before any Services you are then using begin carrying a fee, and if you wish to continue using such Services, you must pay all applicable fees for such Services.”

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Barry Collins

Barry has 20 years of experience working on national newspapers, websites and magazines. He was editor of PC Pro and is co-editor and co-owner of He has published a number of articles on TechFinitive covering data, innovation and cybersecurity.