Twitter/X has officially launched Grok. The new AI chatbot will roll out to Premium+ subscribers in the U.S. over the next week, arriving first to people who have been paying for Twitter the longest.

“the longer you’ve been a subscriber, the sooner you can grok,” Twitter/X said in a post announcing the rollout. “don’t forget your towel!”

The first AI product from Elon Musk’s company xAI, Grok takes its name from the 1961 sci-fi novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein. In it, the term “grok” is a Martian word that means “to drink,” as well as “to understand” or “to comprehend.”

Twitter/X’s towel reference is a nod to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy franchise, in which towels feature prominently as an important tool for travellers exploring the universe. xAI’s website states that it aims to “understand the universe,” while Musk has previously referred to Adams as his “hero.”

How to get Grok, Twitter/X’s AI chatbot

To get Grok, first you’ll have to pay real money to be an X Premium+ subscriber. Once you’ve signed up, you can find out whether you’ve received access to Grok by checking Twitter/X’s side menu in your mobile app or web browser. If you have it, it should appear in the menu next to it’s logo: a square with a rising diagonal slash across it.

If Grok isn’t appearing on mobile, make sure that your Twitter/X app is up to date. iOS and Android users who have the chatbot will also be able to add it to their bottom menu, offering them quick access to Twitter/X’s new AI. 

Exactly how helpful Grok will be is unclear, as most current users seem more interested in its artificially snarky “how do you do, fellow kids” tone than how accurate its answers are. A preview from a Tesla employee earlier this week was less than reassuring, providing information that was both incorrect and vague to the point of uselessness. It was a particularly poor performance when compared to results from competitors such as ChatGPT and Google Bard, though you probably shouldn’t be getting your news from AI chatbots at all.

Still, if you’re a Musk fan who’s craving someone to talk to absent an actual human friend, Grok’s Black Mirror-esque Elon Too might tide you over for a bit.

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MuskWire TLDR:

Elon Musk’s company xAI has launched its first AI chatbot called Grok on Twitter/X. The chatbot will be available to Premium+ subscribers in the U.S. over the next week, with priority given to long-time paying subscribers. Grok gets its name from the sci-fi novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein, where the term “grok” means “to drink” and “to understand.” The reference to towels in Twitter/X’s announcement is a nod to Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” where towels are important tools for travelers. To access Grok, users need to be X Premium+ subscribers and can check for its availability in the side menu of the Twitter/X app or web browser. Initial feedback suggests that users are more interested in Grok’s snarky tone than its accuracy. A preview by a Tesla employee received criticism for providing incorrect and vague information. However, for fans of Elon Musk, Grok’s Black Mirror-esque Elon Too might provide some entertainment.