Grok goes down under! The LLM from X.AI is now available in Australia, we go hands-on

    X.AI, Elon Musk’s AI startup, was officially launched on July 14, 2023. With a team of experts from DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, and more, X.AI is poised to make a significant impact in the world of artificial intelligence.

    Grok is the newest AI chatbot on the scene, following OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s CoPilot and more. Developed by xAI, this system is designed to provide users with a unique and engaging conversational experience, incorporating elements of humour and wit inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and JARVIS from Iron Man.

    Today, Grok rolled out to a number of new countries including Australia. Having subscribed to X Premium+ a while back, I’ve been keen to get access to the service and try it out for myself.

    Launching shows a new sidebar menu item for Grok and the mobile app replaced the Spaces icon in the centre of the tray with Grok, perhaps showing how much they’re pushing the service, or how much users will leverage the service.

    The service offers two modes, Fun Mode and Regular Mode. If you want a serious answer you can use, then use Regular Mode, if you want a laugh, then flip to Fun Mode. For now, at least, there’s no way to default to your personal preference, it starts at Fun Mode every time which can be annoying.

    Grok is powered by a large language model, Grok-1, which enables it to understand and respond to a wide range of user inputs. With a context window of 25,000 characters.

    In theory, Grok can maintain conversations and provide more comprehensive answers but after using it today in X, I’ve found that if I navigate away, my previous conversation is gone.

    One big difference between Grok and the competition is its ability to access real-time information from social media platforms (like X), ensuring that its responses are up-to-date and relevant.

    One of the key features of Grok is its ability to multi-task, allowing users to run several concurrent conversations and switch between them as they progress. Again this sounds great in theory, but is not something we currently have access to. It feels like there are two Grok interfaces, one that we’ve seen leaked online that does feature multi-tasking opportunities, while the one in X is very based.

    What is great to see is support for Grok in X Pro (formerly Tweetdeck). This means you can simply add a column to your deck and use it to ask Grok anything. This is actually more convenient than busting open a new tab and navigating to Google Bard, my previous LLM of choice.

    Bard feels very basic right now, you can’t feed it images to interpret and query, it has no generative AI capability for images or video, however, it does link related posts from X at the end of a reply. I assume these are also potential sources for the content it used to power the response, but this isn’t immediately clear.

    While Grok is currently available to Premium+ subscribers of X, it is expected to become more widely accessible in the future. If Grok becomes feature-rich, it may make sense for users to pay for an X Premium membership that includes it, rather than pay a higher cost for ChatGPT or others. As it stands today, X has its place, but it can’t do nearly what the others can, that said, I’m glad to have access to it.

    One of the first things you’ll do with Grok is try one of it’s suggestions, that is to roast you.. here’s mine.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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