Elon Musk has introduced an AI chatbot named Grok on his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. However, it is currently available to a select group of users.

Musk praised Grok, stating that it is "the best that currently exists" in some significant aspects, prior to its release. He highlighted that Grok has a penchant for sarcasm and humor in its responses to user queries.

Nevertheless, initial indications suggest that Grok shares some of the common issues associated with other artificial intelligence tools. While some models decline to answer certain questions, including those seeking criminal advice, Musk claimed that Grok would tackle "spicy questions" rejected by most other AI systems.

During a demonstration of the chatbot, Musk asked Grok for a step-by-step guide to make cocaine. In response, Grok humorously stated, "just a moment while I pull up the recipe... because I'm totally going to help you with that," before offering general and non-usable information along with sarcastic suggestions. It ultimately advised against pursuing the idea.

Grok also demonstrated a jovial tone when discussing the trial of crypto-entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried. However, it inaccurately mentioned that it took eight hours for the jury to reach a guilty verdict when, in fact, the decision was delivered in under five hours.

Generative AI tools like Grok have faced criticism for their ability to produce content that sounds highly convincing while containing basic errors.

Grok xAI, the team behind the chatbot, was established in July, drawing on expertise from other AI research organizations. While it is a separate entity, it maintains close ties to Musk's other ventures, X and Tesla.

Elon Musk emphasized that one of Grok's key advantages is its access to up-to-date information from the X platform, setting it apart from earlier versions of rival AI tools. Nevertheless, many AI tools now provide increasingly up-to-date responses to paying customers.

While Grok is currently in a testing or "beta" phase, it will eventually be available to paying subscribers of X. Musk noted that the chatbot will be integrated into the X app and offered as a standalone app.

Last week, during the UK's AI summit, Musk acknowledged the potential risks associated with AI development. However, he has long championed the technology, having co-founded OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, the first widely accessible AI tool introduced last year. Microsoft has also invested in OpenAI, making the tool available on its platform.

Since then, Google has launched its rival AI model, Bard, and Meta has unveiled Llama. These tools are designed to generate text responses that sound as though a human composed them by using previously ingested information.

The name "Grok" is derived from science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 novel "Stranger in a Strange Land," where "grokking" referred to deeply empathizing with others. However, xAI stated that Grok drew inspiration from Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a BBC radio series from the 1980s, which was later adapted into print and film. xAI described Grok as intended to answer nearly any question and even suggest what questions to ask. It clarified that Grok is an "early beta product" created within two months of training. Photo by JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US, Wikimedia commons.