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Elon Musk is expanding access to his company’s artificial intelligence chatbot, Grok, for users who subscribe to his social media network, X. Previously, Grok access was limited to premium plus subscribers paying $16 per month, but Musk now plans to make it available to all premium subscribers for $8 per month. This move is seen as part of Musk’s efforts to compete against companies like OpenAI, which he has been investing heavily in as well.

Musk has a longstanding interest in artificial intelligence, both supporting the technology and warning of its potential dangers. He recently sued OpenAI, a company he helped found, accusing them of breach of contract. Instead of remaining a non-profit lab focusing on AI research, OpenAI has become a commercial entity charging $20 per month for access to their technology. In response, Musk has been developing Grok as a competitor, incorporating it into his social network X after acquiring it for $44 billion in 2022.

The name Grok comes from the term coined by sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein in his novel “Stranger in a Strange Land,” meaning to understand something to the point where it becomes a part of you. Musk has positioned Grok as a philosophical rival to other AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s CoPilot, Facebook’s LLama, and Google’s Gemini. Musk has emphasized that Grok will be “funny” and “politically neutral,” distancing it from what he calls “WokeGPT.”

Upon its launch, Grok received attention for its responses to users’ questions, including controversial topics such as transgender rights and racist conspiracy theories. Musk came under scrutiny for not aligning Grok’s responses with his own views, leading him to take action to make Grok more politically neutral. He later released the source code for Grok and has planned further updates, including different modes like “normal,” “fun,” and “unhinged,” with a “Super Grok” in the works for premium plus subscribers.

Musk’s approach to Grok and AI development has similarities with other companies like Microsoft, OpenAI, and Google, who also offer advanced AI models to subscribers for a monthly fee. Musk’s efforts to expand access to Grok through his social media platform X demonstrate his commitment to advancing AI technology and competing in the AI market. As Musk continues to develop and improve Grok, it will be interesting to see how it evolves and competes with other AI chatbots in the market.

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