Singer-songwriter Grimes and her billionaire former partner, Elon Musk, are both launching AI-powered “Groks” — albeit with very different goals.
Grimes is venturing into the realm of AI-powered toys with the release of “Grok,” a character she voiced for Curio’s innovative collection of screen-free AI plushies. Named after the anthropomorphized rocket ship she personifies, the toy will ship in early 2024, TechCrunch reported.
Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff | Getty Images
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Curio’s Grok shares its moniker with Musk’s AI chatbot, a fact that may have only been noticed after trademarks were filed and possibly too late to rebrand. Curio secured the name on September 12, and xAI filed on October 23. xAI’s Grok launched to select testers on November 4 and began rolling out to X Premium Plus subscribers earlier this month, per the outlet.
“Grok is designed to answer questions with a bit of wit and has a rebellious streak, so please don’t use it if you hate humor!” xAI wrote on its site.
With a touch of humor of her own, Grimes quipped on social media about the coexistence of the two AI Groks.
For the past few months I’ve been working with the amazing team at @curiobeta to create interactive toys that talk to kids without any screens etc. today we’re launching the beta program for Grok ! Voiced by Grimes ? pic.twitter.com/tQ6KxbkMdw
— Princess Irulen ® (@Grimezsz) December 14, 2023
Grimes’ Grok sets its own course to encourage play and learning. The brainchild of Misha Sallee and Sam Eaton of startup toy company Curio, it attempts to strengthen children’s conversational skills. Grimes emphasizes the importance of nurturing creativity and cognitive abilities through engaging dialogues — without screens.
“When I think about kids, my goal is to preserve as many minds as possible from here, and how much can we replace iPads, basically?” Grimes said in the conversation with Eaton and Sallee on Curio’s blog.
Embedded within each cuddly exterior is a high-tech heart, a Wi-Fi-enabled speaker, and a mic system that allows for full conversations, supported by an app for parental control and interaction monitoring.
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In addition to Grok, Curio’s trio of AI plushies includes “Gabbo,” a Gameboy-esque friend, and “Grem,” a cyan bunny. The toys run at $99 per piece for the beta version and are recommended for ages 3 to 7.