Elon Musk’s xAI Takes on OpenAI: Grok Gets Ready to Handle Your Selfies

Grok Get's an update and tries to catch up to ChatGPT

5/21/20243 min read

Elon Musk’s AI company, xAI, is working to add multimodal inputs to its Grok chatbot. Soon, users may be able to upload images to Grok and receive text-based responses. According to public developer documents, this update is part of xAI's ongoing efforts to enhance Grok's functionalities.

Last month, xAI hinted at these developments in a blog post, stating that Grok-1.5V would offer “multimodal models in a number of domains.” The latest updates in the developer documents indicate significant progress towards launching this new feature.

A sample Python script included in the developer documents shows how developers can use the xAI software development kit (SDK) to generate responses based on both text and images. The script demonstrates reading an image file, setting up a text prompt, and using the xAI SDK to generate a relevant response.

This update marks a major enhancement for Grok, which was first released in November 2023. Initially available to X Premium Plus subscribers, Grok received its last update in March, with version 1.5, which improved its reasoning capabilities.

The training data for the model includes a variety of text from publicly available internet sources up to the third quarter of 2023, along with datasets reviewed and curated by human reviewers. Notably, Grok-1 was not trained on data from X (formerly Twitter), though it has real-time knowledge of the world, including public posts on X.

Founded by Elon Musk in March 2023, xAI is relatively new in the AI sector but aims to close the gap with competitors like OpenAI's ChatGPT. According to an xAI blog post, Grok 1.5 is nearing GPT-4's performance on various benchmarks, although benchmarks are often critiqued for their susceptibility to being 'memorized' by models.

The AI industry sees multimodal conversational chatbots as the next frontier, with advancements from companies like Google and OpenAI. Until now, Grok's lack of multimodal capabilities placed it behind its competitors, but this new development aims to change that.

Recently, xAI announced that Grok's AI search assistant feature is being rolled out to X Premium subscribers in Europe. This move aligns with the broader trend of expanding AI functionalities to enhance user experiences.

In a significant announcement, Elon Musk unveiled key updates for Grok. These updates have generated considerable attention within the tech community, reflecting the ongoing evolution of AI technology.

Grok has gained traction as a potential competitor to OpenAI's offerings. The recent European launch, limited to Premium and Premium Plus subscribers, underscores its growing presence.

A post from X Engineering, along with comments from Musk, detailed several upgrades to Grok. One notable feature is the ability for users to access their chat history on web and iOS platforms, enhancing usability and convenience.

Musk also teased the introduction of a “Fun Mode” for Grok, which would provide a humorous take on news. This update is part of Musk’s broader effort to refine AI technology for improved user engagement and experience.

Amid the developments around Grok, the AI landscape continues to be dynamic, especially with OpenAI’s recent partnership with Reddit. This collaboration, led by Sam Altman, has sparked optimism about its potential impacts on the technology market.

However, Musk has downplayed the importance of the OpenAI-Reddit partnership, highlighting instead Grok’s collaboration with 4Chan. This platform is known for its diverse content and active community engagement.

Despite OpenAI’s strong position in the AI sector, there is a belief among some users that Grok will present significant competition. The ongoing updates and enhancements are a testament to xAI's commitment to advancing its AI capabilities.

Musk's announcements about Grok’s upgrades and his comments on the OpenAI partnership underscore the fast-paced nature of the AI industry. Innovations continue to reshape the technological landscape, with stakeholders eagerly watching the developments.

As xAI continues to enhance Grok, the addition of multimodal capabilities could set a new standard for AI chatbots. This feature would allow users to interact with the AI in more diverse and flexible ways, potentially increasing its utility and appeal.

The progress on Grok’s multimodal inputs represents an important development for xAI. This enhancement, along with other updates, positions Grok as a more competitive player in the AI field, promising a richer user experience.