Elon Musk’s AI startup xAI will open-source Grok, its chatbot rivaling ChatGPT, this week, he said, days after suing OpenAI and complaining that the Microsoft-backed startup had deviated from its open source roots.

xAI released Grok last year, arming it with features including access to “real-time” information. The service is available to customers paying for X’s $16 monthly subscription.

Musk helped co-found OpenAI as a counterweight to Google. But OpenAI, which was required to also make its technology “freely available” to the public, has become closed-source and shifted focus to maximizing profits for Microsoft, Musk alleged in the lawsuit filed late last month.

The lawsuit has also ignited a debate among many technologists and investors about the merits of open-source AI. Vinod Khosla, whose firm is among the earliest backers of OpenAI, termed the lawsuit a “massive distraction from the goals of getting to AGI and its benefits.”

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, responded to Khosla’s tweet by accusing him of “lobbying to ban open source” research in AI. “Every significant new technology that advances human well-being is greeted by a ginned-up moral panic,” he added. “This is just the latest.”

The promise to imminently open-source Grok means that xAI will join the list of a number of growing firms, including Meta and French startup Mistral, that have published the codes of their chatbots to the public.

Musk has long been a proponent of open source. Tesla, another firm he leads, has open-sourced many of its technologies. “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology,” Musk said in 2014. X, formerly known as Twitter, also open sourced some of its algorithms last year.

This is developing story. Check back for updates.


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