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X launches new AI tool called ‘Grok’ for US-based users

Allegedly modelled after the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it is designed to answer questions and help content creators generate creative and engaging tweets.

With the turn of the new year, Elon Musk has introduced a new feature to the platform he acquired a little over a year ago. You know, the one formerly known (and still often referred to) as Twitter, but is officially known as X.

GrokBot, or Grok for short, is an AI software programmed to ‘transform the way individuals and brands connect, communicate, and captivate’ audiences on X by collecting data about globally trending topics on the platform in real-time.

In the announcement, the platform’s AI team announced that Grok has been trained to identify and summarise current trends on X with the aim of providing users with information that will keep their content at the forefront of the online conversation.

This differentiates Grok from ChatGPT, which for the time being can only collect web data that was posted on or before the year 2021 and is a separate entity from any social media platform altogether.

Users who have tested X’s new AI bot have noticed it has been shaped to reply with ‘left-leaning’ humour in its responses, whereas its competitors typically present as efficient and emotionless – unless asked to reply in a specific tone.

Grok’s tone can also be switched off, with those using it prompted to choose between a so-called ‘Fun Mode’ or opt for ‘Regular Mode’ when asking questions.

Despite its unique angle – being integrated into social media and pulling real-time information from X itself – tech experts aren’t sure that Grok will become the global go-to for AI-generated assistance.

At present, it is only available for X Premium+ subscribers which poses an immediate and obvious obstacle to its widespread use.

A subscription for X Premium+ costs $16 per month and $22 when purchased through app stores on iOS or Google Play, a price that many users of the platform have abstained from signing up for considering Twitter had been free for over a decade.

Grok is also only currently available to those located in the U.S. for now.

Entering the market with a paid-only option already sets it behind competitors such as ChatGPT, Claude, Poe, and Perplexity which all offer free plans alongside paid, faster, and more comprehensive versions.

Not to mention, most users may need a window of time to adapt to using X as a ‘functional’ assistant.

Those who have been signed up since the days of Twitter will be more used to using ‘search’ features to find tweets about topics of their choice, as well as searching for other users to connect with on the platform.

At face value, the idea of having a bot that can spruce up tweets with factual information or topic-corresponding content does sound a little fun. Think ‘Quote Tweets’ but AI-generated.

Still, it’s hard not to reflect upon all the changes to Twitter in the last year.

A few that come to mind are the removal of headlines on shared links, the launch and subsequent scrapping of the ‘Circles feature’, and the weird rebrand itself.

It makes us wonder if this is just another Elon-coded move to transform a social media platform that was once simple, yet extremely effective into a messier version of itself.