X Marks the AI Spot – Essay

Picture young Elon Musk, inspired by Robert Heinlein and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – both sci-fi and interstellar reads. Come back to the present day, he brings the first Martian word into the English language; “Grok”. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been academically defined as a field that uses computers to help humans understand and gain knowledge (Tai, 2020). Elon Musk has taken this definition to a new level by declaring competition against already existing AI leader, ChatGPT, through the creation of xAI’s Grok AI. Now, is it true that Musk already has a unique competitive advantage just months into his endeavour? What does this mean for humankind? To curate opinions of it all, people need to understand Grok AI’s history, its uses, and compare it to the familiar powerhouse, ChatGPT. 

Before judging Elon Musk’s new endeavour, understand Grok AI’s origin story, intended purpose, and the current controversies regarding the topic. To start, Musk took inspiration from the 1961 Robert Heinlein book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by naming the AI “Grok”, meaning “to understand deeply or intuitively” (Zimmer, 2023). More inspiration was pulled from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the theme was to answer all questions and suggest more questions to ask beyond the basics. These two memories of Musk’s childhood add reason to his intentions to create this entertainment-focused AI, in comparison to existing AI chatbots. That said, Grok AI was created to dominate the online space after being involved in the early days of his current rival, ChatGPT. He left and criticized the OpenAI company for implementing safeguards to prevent offensive responses (CBS, 2023). He also signed an open letter that requested a six-month pause on developing AI that was set to surpass the capabilities of ChatGPT-4. With these considerations, the public is concerned with his contradictory statements, forcing beliefs that the entire creation is a joke. Therefore, although Musk’s inspirations and intentions seem pure, or childlike at times, his course of action has been notorious for stirring up controversies.

Next, Grok will enhance the X app, the utility of AI chatbots, and how people can use AI to earn money. Musk has developed this notion that he will develop X and xAI into the world’s largest and most powerful AI companies. Since Grok is trained on the real-time postings on the X app, Musk has tapped into the millions of users who consistently pour their time and energy into questioning, explaining, and criticizing every topic of conversation available to humans. This contributes to a whole market of information that was previously untouched by most AI platforms. Additionally, as he strives to lead the industry, he has developed his AI to have a fun and dynamic voice that will answer a wide range of questions, from serious to goofy, with sarcasm and an authentic personality mixed in. For example, Musk encourages users to ask questions like, “Yo Grok, tell me a joke”, as well as “What was the temperature in Berlin yesterday?”. Moreover, crypto investors and traders, as well as regular social media users, can make more informed decisions regarding their income. For instance, GROK crypto is already public. Users can ask GrokAI for suggestions on how to skillfully invest and trade GROK and any other stocks, and receive real-time responses and information. Then, if Musk decides to incorporate blockchain technology into his AI, it would contribute to more public, transparent, and regulated use of data sets and alleviate some privacy concerns. Additionally, there is potential that he will follow in the footsteps of other blockchain platforms that use micropayments as incentives for users to provide more data for AI programs to train on (Kaplan, 2016). Therefore, the growth of Grok will improve the X app, allow for both serious and humorous inquiries, and can be leveraged to earn money from.

Finally, there are three notable differences between the current AI leader, ChatGPT, and the emerging, GrokAI: capabilities, cost, and safety. ChatGPT has nearly a year of public experience, iterations, and improvements and has recently been enhanced to be able to surf the internet, notably, with slight delay. To compare, it is said that Grok AI has only a third of this public experience. However, the database on which the platform has been trained consists of the entire X application. This real-time advancement has allowed Grok to quickly grow more capable than GPT-3.5 and quickly catch up to GPT-4. In spite of its powerful capabilities, Grok is limited to select X users who are subscribed for $16 per month to the X Premium+ service. Those who already own the subscription are getting their money’s worth of entertainment, but others are hesitant to invest in this mysterious, not-so-budget-friendly purchase, especially when GPT exists. Users are more familiar with ChatGPT’s free platform, leading to more willingness to purchase the optional $20 GPT membership. As mentioned earlier, OpenAI implemented special features to ensure that ChatGPT is as accurate, safe, and inoffensive as possible. In comparison, Business Insider claims that Musk’s innovation is a “foul-mouthed Twitter troll”, speaking to the rebellious attitude, mocking tones, and profane language users are experiencing with Grok at the moment. Some claim that the reasoning for this difference is that ChatGPT lacks consciousness, while Grok AI has a level of contextual awareness that allows it to maintain a sarcastic personality. Furthermore, according to a Coingeek article, it is easy to create provable and irrefutable records of AI model development, meaning contingency plans are already set for companies in case of legal problems that question their compliance with regulations and records of events (Lucas, 2023). In conclusion, there are pros and cons to each platforms’ capabilities, cost, and safety features, or lack thereof, that users are to be aware of before picking sides in this fight between artificial intelligences. 

To summarize, Elon Musk has brought together childhood inspiration and cutting-edge technology to develop the most powerful AI platforms that exist today: X and GrokAI. In order to benefit from these massive technological advancements, the public should get used to using AI in their everyday lives, whether it be through ChatGPT, Grok AI, or any other worthy application. Instead of rejecting, embrace and find ways to use the tools to learn new things, be more efficient, or simply have fun. As stated by experts, AI acts as an important reality check between the machine’s language, software, and the user (Schank, 1991). That said, will humans get overwhelmed with the possibilities and realities and reject the works of OpenAI and xAI? Or, will this become what defines the next generation of the human race: the children born with robots smarter than themselves?


Brown, A. (2023, November 10). What Is Grok? 5 Things To Know About The Elon Musk AI Answer To ChatGPT. The Moguldom Nation. https://moguldom.com/453890/what-is-grok-5-things-to-know-about-the-elon-musk-ai-answer-to-chatgpt/

Carter, T. (2023, November 6). Elon Musk’s new AI chatbot sure sounds like a foul-mouthed Twitter troll. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-ai-chatbot-grok-sounds-like-foul-mouthed-troll-2023-11

CBS Interactive. (2023, July 12). Elon Musk announces new AI company to take on chatgpt. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/elon-musk-xai-artificial-intelligence-chatgpt/#:~:text=Musk%20was%20an%20early%20backer,spewing%20biased%20or%20sexist%20responses.

Degen, W. (2023, November 9). Grok Ai –  How To Use Elon Musk’s New Conversational AI. Medium. https://medium.com/@web3degen/grok-ai-how-to-use-elon-musks-new-conversational-ai-73ef2b84e159

Kaplan, J. (2016). In Artificial Intelligence: What everyone needs to know. essay, Oxford University Press.

Lucas, G. (2023, November 8). What is grok? Elon Musk’s new AI and how it uses your data. CoinGeek. https://coingeek.com/what-is-grok-elon-musk-new-ai-and-how-it-uses-your-data/

O’Brient, S. (2023, November 6). Elon Musk launches grok AI: 7 things to know about the grok chatbot. InvestorPlace. https://investorplace.com/2023/11/elon-musk-launches-grok-ai-7-things-to-know-about-the-grok-chatbot/

Pahwa, N. (2023, November 7). Future Tense Elon Musk’s Tribute to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Does Not Suggest He Has Actually Read It. Slate Magazine. https://slate.com/technology/2023/11/elon-musk-xai-grok-hitchhikers-guide-galaxy-douglas-adams.html#:~:text=Here’s%20what%20xAI%20says%3A,it%20if%20you%20hate%20humor!

Tai, M. C.-T. (2020). The impact of artificial intelligence on human society and bioethics. Tzu Chi Medical Journal, 32(4), 339. https://doi.org/10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_71_20

Zimmer, B. (2023, November 9). “Grok”: From 1960s Sci-Fi to Elon Musk’s New AI. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/tech/ai/grok-from-1960s-sci-fi-to-elon-musks-new-ai-80e694ba

Skip to content