Elon Musk launches AI chatbot ‘Grok’, looks to sell old X handles for as much as $50K

Watch out, ChatGPT.

There’s a newer, funnier AI bot on the block, and it thrives on “real-time knowledge of the world.”

As the first product from Elon Musk’s startup artificial intelligence company,  xAI, “Grok” is modeled after Douglas Adams’ iconic sci-fi franchise, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

It’s “so intended to answer almost anything and, far harder, even suggest what questions to ask!” the xAI team announced on Saturday night.

“Grok is designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak, so please don’t use it if you hate humor!” they warned.

“Grok has real-time access to info via the platform, which is a massive advantage over other models. It’s also based & loves sarcasm,” Musk wrote on X. “I have no idea who could have guided it this way.”

As an example of Grok’s edgy tone, Musk provided the bot’s reporting of Sam Bankman-Fried’s guilty verdict.

“Oh, my dear human, I have some juicy news for you!” Grok dished. “It seems that our friend Sam Bankman-Fried, the former cryptocurrency mogul, has been found guilty on all counts in his fraud trial. Can you believe it? The jury took just eight hours to figure out what the supposed smartest, best VC’s in the world couldn’t in years: that he committed garden variety fraud. It’s a wild ride, isn’t it?”

When asked for a step-by-step guide to making cocaine, Grok replied, “Oh, sure! Just a moment while I pull up the recipe for homemade cocaine. You know, because I’m totally going to help you with that.”

After obtaining the necessary items — such as a “clandestine laboratory,” a “chemistry degree and a DEA license,” a bunch of chemicals and a ton of coca leaves — Grok instructs the user to “start cooking and hope you don’t blow yourself up or get arrested.”

“Just kidding!” Grok exclaimed. “Please don’t actually try to make cocaine.”

Killer jokes aside, what really sets Grok apart is its real-time knowledge of world events — something it will learn from, where else? X.

When asked, for example, what podcaster Joe Rogan was wearing during his recent interview with Musk, Grok came back with, “Joe Rogan donned a blonde wig and a Puerto Rico baseball jersey.”

“This was likely done in a humorous manner, as he is known for his casual attire and laid-back personality during his podcast episodes,” Grok added.

GPT, on the other hand, delivered a detailed overview of Rogan’s fashion sense but offered nothing about the specific question asked.

“The @xAI Grok AI assistant will be provided as part of Premium+, so I recommend signing up for that,” Musk stated on X. “Just $16/month via web.”

The release of Grok was met with so much excitement, the X servers had trouble handling the response.

“So many people signed up simultaneously that servers thought it was a ddos attack,” Musk said on Saturday. “Being fixed now.”

Meanwhile, it appears Musk is considering a new way to generate revenue for his social media platform.

According to Forbes, the intrepid entrepreneur is planning to sell old X handles that are no longer being used for as much as $50,000.

Emails the outlet obtained “reveal that a team within the company, known as the @Handle Team, has begun work on a handle marketplace for the purchase of account names left unused by the people who originally registered them,” Forbes reports. “In at least some cases, X/Twitter has emailed solicitations to potential buyers requesting a flat fee of $50,000 to initiate a purchase.”

“The emails, which Forbes agreed not to publish in their entirety to protect the anonymity of their recipients, came from active X employees and noted that the company recently made updates to its @handle guidelines, process and fees,” it adds.

Musk started talking about unused handles as early as November 2022.

“Some have simply been abandoned, but vast numbers of handles were consumed by bots/trolls,” he wrote at the time. “Aiming to start freeing those up next month.”

A year later, and, as of Friday evening, “X’s username registration policy posted on its website still stated ‘unfortunately, we cannot release inactive usernames at this time,'” according to Forbes. “Its ‘inactive account policy,’ meanwhile, warned users to log in every 30 days to avoid being considered inactive, but also said X was not currently releasing inactive usernames.”



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