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Elon Musk’s xAI Company Will Make its Grok Chatbot Open-source

"This week, @xAI will open-source Grok," Musk wrote on X.

Elon Musk has announced via X (formally Twitter) that his artificial intelligence company, xAI will make its Grok chatbot open-source. Powered by Grok-1, a large language model (LLM) that is comparable in size to the Meta’s Llama 2 70B-parameter model and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, the X boss said the AI chatbot will go open-source later this week.

“This week, @xAI will open-source Grok,” Musk wrote on X.

It’s currently unclear what parts of Grok’s source code will be available to the public. However, it should be noted that the chatbot is only available to X Premium subscribers for USD$16 (approx. UGX62,500) per month.

First rolled out to select users in November last year, Musk at the time said the chatbot is “designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak.” He further said Grok would be able to access real-time data from X, with xAI claiming its real-time access to the X platform gives its model an advantage over OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard.

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

The announcement of Grok going open-source comes nearly two weeks after Musk sued OpenAI which he helped co-found with Sam Altman in 2015 and left in 2018. In the lawsuit filed last month, Musk accuses OpenAI of no longer being an open-source non-profit organization. Initially, OpenAI was supposed to make its technology “freely available” to the public to “benefit humanity”, but it has become closed-source and shifted focus to maximizing profits for Microsoft, Musk alleged in the lawsuit.

In response, OpenAI publicized a series of emails in a blog post showing that Musk was in support of a plan to create a for-profit entity and wanted a merger with the EV maker to make the combined company a “cash cow.”

“In early February 2018, Elon forwarded us an email suggesting that OpenAI should attach to Tesla as its cash cow, commenting that it was exactly right…,” read part of the post.

According to Reuters, tech investors including OpenAI backer Vinod Khosla and Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, have been debating about open-sourcing in AI since Musk filed the lawsuit against the ChatGPT maker.

While open-sourcing technology can help speed up innovations, some experts have warned that open-source AI models could be used by terrorists to create chemical weapons or even develop a conscious super-intelligence beyond human control.


Winnie Nantongo

Winnie is a tech reporter with a passion for digital media & communications.
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