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Elon Musk to Open Source Grok Chatbot in Latest Escalation of AI War

Elon Musk published the raw computer code behind his version of an artificial intelligence chatbot on Sunday, an escalation of one of the world's richest men in a battle to control the future of AI

Grok, designed to give sarcastic responses inspired by the science fiction novel “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” is a product of xAI, the company founded by Mr. Musk last year. Although xAI is an independent entity from X, its technology has been integrated into the social media platform and is trained on user posts. Users who subscribe to X's premium features can ask Grok questions and receive answers.

By opening the code for all to see and use – known as open source – Mr. Musk went further into a heated debate in the world of AI on whether this could help make the technology safer or simply make it susceptible to misuse.

Mr. Musk, a self-proclaimed proponent of open source, did the same with X's recommendation algorithm last year, but he hasn't updated it since.

“There is still work to be done, but this platform is already by far the most transparent and truth-seeking (not a high bar, really),” Mr. Musk said. job Sunday in response to a comment about the open source X recommendation algorithm.

The move to open source chatbot code is the latest volley between Mr. Musk and ChatGPT creator OpenAI, whom the mercurial billionaire recently sued for breaking his promise to do the same. Mr. Musk, who was a founder and helped fund OpenAI before leaving it several years later, argued that such important technology should not be controlled solely by tech giants like Google and Microsoft. which is a close partner of OpenAI.

OpenAI said it would seek to dismiss the lawsuit.

(The New York Times for follow-up OpenAI and Microsoft in December for copyright infringement on news content related to AI systems.)

The Open Source Generative AI Controversy – Who Can create realistic images and videos and recreating human-like text responses – has rocked the tech world over the past year after the technology's popularity exploded. Silicon Valley is deeply divided over whether the coding behind AI should be publicly available, with some engineers saying the powerful technology must be protected from intruders, while others insist that the benefits of transparency outweigh the harms.

By releasing his AI code, Mr. Musk has firmly established himself in the latter camp, a move that could put him ahead of competitors who had a head start in developing the technology.

Releasing the code will allow other companies and independent software developers to modify and reuse it when creating their own chatbots and other AI systems. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, also has open source It is AI technology, called LLaMA. Google and a leading French start-up, Mistral, have also gone open source.

Last year, Mr Musk – who also owns X and SpaceX and is CEO of Tesla – created xAI, saying its mission was to “understand reality”. In November, he said investors in his $44 billion privatization deal for X would have a 25 percent participation in xAI.

Mr. Musk said no topic should be off-limits for chatbots, criticizing companies that gear their technology to avoid controversy.

“If an AI is programmed to promote diversity at all costs, as Google Gemini was, then it will do everything it can to bring about that outcome, even killing people,” Mr. Musk said in a post on Friday.

But at least part of the postures around open source are closely linked to commercial interests. Because OpenAI is the market leader, offering the most powerful and arguably most popular chatbot, it has little reason to open source its code.

Mr. Musk and xAI, on the other hand, are working to catch up and could help level the playing field by open sourcing their code and inviting others to improve the technology.

Subbarao Kambhampati, a computer science professor at Arizona State University, argued that open sourcing current AI technology is the safest approach. But he added that companies like xAI and Meta don't necessarily offer the technology as open source for that reason.

“Elon Musk and Yann LeCun are not the best messengers of this argument,” he said, referring to Meta's chief AI scientist.

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