Transparency Push: xAI’s Grok Goes Open Source Under Musk

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On Monday, Elon Musk took another swing at the AI industry, announcing that his artificial intelligence startup xAI would open-source its ChatGPT challenger “Grok” this week. The billionaire’s decision to publish Grok’s code follows a lawsuit he filed last month against his former employer, OpenAI. In the suit, Musk accused OpenAI of abandoning its original non-profit mission in favor of a for-profit model.

TechTarget editor Esther Ajao says the move could help xAI attract developers looking to use the company’s language model in their own projects. It also aligns the firm with growing firms like Meta and France’s Mistral, which have released their generative AI models as open source.

However, Ajao said it needs to be clarified how the move will impact Grok in terms of attracting users. She added that the company will still need to demonstrate that its technology works well enough to be commercially viable.

It’s still being determined what exactly xAI plans to make open source. Still, she noted that it would be essential to see if the firm also makes any other tools available that may be less useful in specific use cases. For example, xAI has a proprietary model called Grok-1, which is a large language model with 33B parameters. The model is more advanced than ChatGPT and other generative models but has only been tested on a small set of problems so far.

Ajao said it would also be interesting to see what feedback xAI gets from the developer community. She added that it could help the firm fine-tune its models, and it would be good to have a third party involved in ensuring that companies are working responsibly.

Ajao said she hopes the xAI-OpenAI feud will help drive conversations about how to build AI. She also believes the move by xAI is an essential sign that the company wants to take its technology in an ethical direction. “There are a lot of people who worry that AI can be used for evil, but there’s also a lot of concern about how AI can be developed in ways that are beneficial for humanity,” she said.

xAI rolled out Grok in December to its Premium+ subscribers, who pay $16 per month. The bot is expected to become a more widely available feature, although interested parties can apply for early access via a waitlist.

According to a post on its website, The company plans to release a free version of the bot later this year. The tech world has been abuzz with reactions to xAI’s move. Some of the responses have been positive, with people praising the opportunity for developers to tinker with the technology. Others, however, have expressed concerns that the decision may be a sign of a giant AI race between large vendors to get ahead of each other. It also raises questions about whether or not those large vendors will use the same strategy to open-source their products.

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