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The battle of generative AI chatbots, the ones that generate text, is getting intense. On DevDay, OpenAI chief Sam Altman announced some groundbreaking updates with GPT-4 Turbo and GPT Builder, allowing practically everyone to make their own chatbots. On the other hand, Elon Musk announced the release of xAI’s chatbot Grok, just a day before the OpenAI conference.
Ever since the GPT Builder announcement, the traffic has been so high on the OpenAI website that it went down because of DDoS attacks. This caused Altman to announce a pause on ChatGPT Plus sign-ups for a bit. “The surge in usage post DevDay has exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience,” he posted on X.
Meanwhile, Musk’s Grok, which aims to understand the world, is still under beta and being slowly rolled out for X Premium subscribers. The numbers are possibly going to be lesser than ChatGPT Plus subscribers because of this reason. According to Statista, the number of X Premium subscribers were only 640,000 in April, but were estimated to be around 890,000 in September. This is compared to 180 million ChatGPT users.
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According to several reports, the number of Plus subscribers was only 1%, which is around 1.8 million subscribers. But given Altman’s response, it is clear that the numbers are clearly rising.
Where it all began
Musk loves to get involved in online debates and spats. Earlier it was the cage fight between him and Mark Zuckerberg and now, it is about GPT-4 vs Grok. But this time, it was Altman who started it, by taking a dig at Grok.
Altman posted a screenshot on X, a screenshot of him building a Grok-like chatbot with just a single prompt. “GPTs can save a lot of effort,” he said in the post. To this Musk replied with a text generated by Grok, roasting GPT-4, calling it GPT-Snore!
Interestingly, while Musk has been building X and trying to make Grok as funny as possible by connecting them both, the greatest feat that xAI achieved was that it made the chatbot in less than four months when it took others such as OpenAI and Google months to make.
Funnily enough, ChatGPT, what we like to call “Chatty”, now also has an X account, posting regular updates, but it only tries to be funny. After wishing “Happy Diwali!” to everyone, it posted an on-going joke about the common response it gives if it can’t answer a question – As an AI language model. This is something that Musk has been criticising ChatGPT for since the beginning, and is one of the reasons behind building Grok, the “based chatbot.”
What does the future hold?
Musk, on the latest Lex Fridman podcast, said that he is considering open sourcing Grok. He believes that open source is the way forward. “I am generally in favour of open sourcing, like biassed towards open sourcing.” Musk further adds that the whole idea of him founding OpenAI was about open sourcing AI.
“The ‘open’ in OpenAI is all about open source,” said Musk, highlighting that the company he made has become a closed source for maximum profit company, which according to him is “not good karma”. This might be a hint that Musk actually wants to buy OpenAI again.
Another hint of this was when Musk allegedly bought the ai.com domain, and redirected it to xAI.com, instead of ChatGPT. We can say that the battle is clearly on.
But undeniably, Altman with his latest release of GPTs, allowing everyone to build their own ChatGPT version, with added personalisation, is making everyone forced to take a GPT Plus subscription. OpenAI is even going to pay people for making them. Moreover, he is also pushing towards getting more funding as soon as possible, to build GPT-5, which he touts would be the first AGI.
So while Grok may be funny, in terms of capabilities, it doesn’t seem to be nearly as close to where ChatGPT is now. So while Altman might be getting Chatty and mocking on X, Musk is getting Grok, and rolling it out slowly, like a stranger in a strange world.