Is xAI's Grok Better than ChatGPT? A Comparison

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grok vs chatgpt: which is better?

If you’re a frequent user of chatbots and AI tools, you’ll have probably heard of Grok AI. 

The large language model (LLM), developed by Elon Musk’s AI firm xAI, is modelled on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and is said to have a “bit of wit” and a “rebellious streak” according to a statement published on Saturday by xAI. 

Musk also believes that Grok outperforms other chatbots available today, including the likes of ChatGPT and Perplexity AI.  To demonstrate this, the CEO posted a side-by-side comparison of Grok answering a question about a recent interview he did with Joe Rogan with another AI bot, which he said did not have current information. 

“Elon Musk’s last Interview with Joe Rogan was on October 31, 2023. In the interview, they discussed topics such as the Tesla Cybertruck, Musk’s ownership of X (formerly known as Twitter, the Covid Pandemic and making Mars habitable,” Grok Responded. 

When asked what was Joe Rogan wearing, the chatbot continued: “During his interview with Elon Musk on October 31, 2023, Joe Rogan donned a blonde wig with a Puerto Rico baseball Jersey.”

The other chatbot was unable to answer this question, instead giving a broad biography of Rogan. 

Grok might have performed better than this undisclosed chatbot that unique scenario, but does that really mean that it is better than other chatbots, especially ChatGPT – the leader in the space?

This article explores some of the key differences between Grok AI vs ChatGPT, comparing the chatbots' respective features, advantages and limitations to find out which one is better in 2024.

What is Grok?

Grok is a chatbot launched in November 2023 by xAI, a company known for its association with Elon Musk. It was developed as an initiative by Musk as a direct response to the rise of OpenAI's ChatGPT which Musk co-founded.

Grok has been characterized as "anti-woke" by both its users and Musk himself, who had previously criticized OpenAI for training ChatGPT to be “politically correct.” 

The chatbot is trained on a Massive Text and Code Dataset including books, articles, web documents, and even social media posts from the social platform X – though this hasn’t been confirmed by Musk. . 

what is grok
Grok Homepage. Source: xAI. 

Since its launch in 2023, Grok has seen rapid improvements in its responses and capabilities, with its latest version Grok-1.5V bringing enhanced reasoning capabilities and a longer context memory to the chatbot, according to xAI. 

This new version Grok processes a wide variety of visual information, including documents, diagrams, charts, screenshots, and photographs. Grok-1.5V will be available soon to our early testers and existing Grok users.

How do you access Grok?

Grok was initially only available to a select group of testers participating in xAI's premium+ program.  But, in March 2024, Grok became available to all premium subscribers on X, not just those in the Premium+ tier.

Grok's codebase (Grok-1) was also made open-source as part of this update. This means anyone with the technical expertise can access and potentially modify the underlying code of the chatbot, and while this doesn't grant direct access to the full functionality of Grok, it opens doors for further development and exploration by the tech community.

Key Features of Grok

Grok AI boasts several key features that make it a powerful conversational AI tool. Here's a breakdown of the chatbot's key strengths:

1. Conversational 

Like many other chatbots available today, Grok excels at natural language processing (NLP), enabling engaging and informative conversations. It understands context and responds in a way that feels human-like.

2. Enhanced Text Understanding and Multimodal

Grok-1.5, the latest version of the chatbot, boasts a significant improvement in handling longer and more complex pieces of text and other media types compared to its previous versions. This allows for richer interactions and deeper dives into specific topics and allows you to feed Grok both text and images to gain a response. 

3. Real-time data Access from X

Grok leverages its connection to the X platform (formerly Twitter) for potentially accessing real-time information. However, it's crucial to be mindful of potential biases and misinformation present on social media. 

4. Reasoning Capabilities

Grok isn't just about parroting information; it can analyze data and draw conclusions. This is evident in its ability to answer open-ended questions and provide insightful explanations.

5. Humor and Wit

One of Grok's unique features is its ability to use humor and sarcasm, making interactions more engaging. However, it's important to note that xAI emphasizes responsible use of humor, so expect it to be appropriate for most audiences. While this can be engaging, it's important to be aware of potential misunderstandings due to the nuances of humor.

6. Open-source Code (Grok-1)

Grok's was recently made open-source, allowing for wider development and contribution from the tech community.  By opening the codebase (Grok-1), xAI allows for a degree of transparency into how Grok functions so developers can see the underlying algorithms and potentially identify areas for improvement or address potential biases. This openness not only fosters trust in Grok's capabilities but also allows the chatbot to progress more easily thanks to input from its users. 

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an LLM trained on a massive dataset of text and code from the internet, allowing it to engage in conversations and answer questions on any topic from the user.

Developed by OpenAI, the chatbot can generate human-quality text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and most importantly, hold engaging conversations on various topics. 

What is ChatGPT
ChatGPT homepage. Source: OpenAI

ChatGPT was one of the first chatbots of its kind when it launched in November 2022. It's largely credited with setting off the AI revolution that has gripped Silicon Valley over the past year or so, and has since reached over 180 million users and is backed by tech giants such as Microsoft and Inosys, making OpenAI a frontrunner in the AI race. 

But that doesn't mean ChatGPT is the best chatbot in the world – it just means it's the oldest. Since it’s launch, many of the other chatbot providers have since borrowed OpenAI's GPT LLM to use in their own, specialised chatbots, meaning that there are many chatbots out there with similar capabilities to ChatGPT. 

How do you Access ChatGPT?

Unlike Grok which is only available to premium subscribers, ChatGPT comes in both a free and paid version. 

Like perplexity AI, ChatGPT comes in two versions:

  1. Free GPT-3.5 version: This is the most widely available version, accessible through the ChatGPT website and open to anyone. It uses the GPT-3.5 language model and offers basic conversational capabilities, creative text generation, and information retrieval. 
  2. Paid GPT-4 version (ChatGPT Plus): This premium version offers advanced features and capabilities compared to the free one. It uses the more powerful GPT-4 language model, making it more accurate and more up-to-date. 

Key Features of ChatGPT

ChatGPT has a range of features for answering questions, generating content and communicating with the user. Some of its key features include: 

1. Conversational Abilities

Thanks to its powerful natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT is great at producing natural-sounding conversations. It can respond to your queries in a way that mimics human interaction, adapting its tone and style to fit the context. 

2. Text Generation

ChatGPT also excels at generating different creative text formats, allowing you to create poems, scripts, musical pieces, emails, letters, and more. You can provide it with prompts or specific instructions, and it will craft unique and engaging text content.

3. Diverse Applications

ChatGPT's capabilities extend beyond simple conversations. It can translate languages, summarize information, write different kinds of creative content, and even answer your questions in an informative way, even if they're open-ended, challenging, or strange.

4. Adaptability and Personalization

One of ChatGPT's key features is its ability to learn and adapt. The more you interact with it, the better it understands your preferences and communication style. This personalization aspect can lead to more meaningful and relevant interactions over time.

5. Constant Development

ChatGPT is constantly being updated and improved by one of the world's leading AI research teams. This means its capabilities are expanding all the time, offering users access to new features and functionalities.

6. API Access

Thanks to OpenAI's open-source API, you can integrate ChatGPT into your own applications and projects to leverage its capabilities. This makes it incredibly versatile and available for use by both developers and end users. 

Grok vs ChatGPT: Which is Better?

According to various Benmark tests, Grok appears to perform better than many other chatbots available today, including the free version of ChatGPT.  But Grok is still not as good as OpenAI's paid-for model, GPT-4, despite being just as expensive. 

The performance of Grok is likely to improve drastically with the launch of Grok 1.5v, however, which is set to bring multimodal support and deeper language understanding to the chatbot.

On an initial round of tests based on middle school math problems and Python coding tasks, xAI said that Grok surpassed “all other models in its compute class, including ChatGPT-3.5 and Inflection-1.”

According to the benchmark numbers, on GSM8k – a benchmark designed around middle-class math word problems – Grok achieved 62.9 per cent, which is higher than GPT-3.5 and LLaMa 2 but lower than Palm 2, Claude 2, and GPT-4.

Which is better Grok vs ChatGPT
Benchmark tests - Grok vs ChatGPT and other chatbots.

Grok also cleared the 2023 Hungarian national high school finals in mathematics with a C grade at 59 per cent, surpassing the performance of Claude 2 at 55 per cent but falling short of GPT-4 scored a B grade at 68 per cent.

Still, it's important to note that you need to pay for Grok AI. While Grok-1 is already more capable than OpenAI’s free-to-use, GPT-3.5, it's still not as good as OpenAI's latest model, GPT-4. 

The company also claims that Grok can surpass models that have been trained on large amounts of data and also require higher computing capabilities despite being trained on less amount of data. 

“In some important respects, it is the best that currently exists,” Musk said in an X post on Friday leading up to the chatbot’s announcement.

But like other LLMs currently available including ChatGPT, xAI notes that Grok is not 100 per cent accurate and “can still generate false or contradictory information”.

What makes Grok different from ChatGPT?

Grok has been trained using a custom training and inference stack based on Kubernetes, Rust, and JAX. It’s running a customer LLM called Grok-1 that's trained using real-time data from the X social media platform and data scraped from the web. 

ChatGPT, on the other hand, is built on the GPT-3.5 or GPT-4.0 LLMs, which are trained entirely on publicly available data taken from the internet. 

Grok vs Chatgpt key differences

The GPT-3.5 model used on the free version of ChatGPT was trained using data up to September 2022, meaning that it can only provide accurate information up to that point

The same is technically true of GPT-4, but it’s better than GPT-3.5 at learning and responding to current information provided through ChatGPT prompts.

The beta version of Grok is currently available to a limited number of users in the US. In the coming days, the same will be made available for X Premium+ subscribers, which costs $17 per month, making it more expensive than ChatGPT+. 

Grok or ChatGPT: Which should you choose?

Determining which AI chatbot is "better" for you between Elon Musk's Grok AI and ChatGPT depends on your specific needs and preferences of the user.

Both chatbots have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them may depend on the specific tasks or applications you have in mind.

Grok is the better choice if you value:

  • In-depth conversations: Grok excels at understanding complex topics and handling long-form content.
  • Up-to-date information: Grok leverages the X platform (formerly Twitter) for potentially real-time updates. However, be mindful of potential social media bias.
  • Humor and wit (controlled): Grok injects some personality into conversations, but responsibly.
  • Open-source exploration (for developers): Grok's codebase allows developers to delve into its inner workings.

On the other hand, ChatGPT might be a better choice if you prioritize:

  • Creative text generation: ChatGPT is known for its ability to craft poems, code, scripts, and other creative formats.
  • Large user community: ChatGPT has a wider user base, potentially leading to more online resources and tutorials.
  • Established platform: ChatGPT has been around longer and might offer a more polished user experience.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which chatbot is right for you is to try them both out and see which one you prefer. You can also consider factors such as pricing, availability, and your specific needs when making your decision.

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