Hyundai Ioniq 6 tops list of fastest-charging EVs; Chevy Bolt ranks last

Symbol for a charging ststion for electric vehicles on tarmac

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Despite the fact that most of us generally drive short distances when we get in our cars, the time it takes to fast-charge an electric vehicle remains of paramount importance to potential EV buyers. It’s hard to blame them—for more than a century, motorists have come to expect short refueling stops, and until someone actually lives with an EV for a while, it can be hard to make that paradigm shift. And of course, not everyone has the ability to slow-charge an EV at home or at work, your author included.

So with that in mind, the consumer advice publication Edmunds decided to test a whole bunch of EVs to find out which one adds the most miles of range in the fewest minutes possible.

Working with the automotive consultancy P3, Edmunds tested 43 different EVs, running down their batteries on its EV range-testing route to calculate the car’s efficiency, then fast-charged them from 10 to 80 percent, measuring peak and average charging power and calculating charging losses in the process. Edmunds says it did this because automakers are inconsistent in advertising fast-charging times—some list charge times from 10 to 80 percent, while others simply say their cars can add 100 miles (160 km) of range in a given time.

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Source: Ars Technica – Hyundai Ioniq 6 tops list of fastest-charging EVs; Chevy Bolt ranks last

Apple’s iPhone App Of The Year Winner Tells The Competition To Take A Hike

Apple’s iPhone App Of The Year Winner Tells The Competition To Take A Hike
Apple has announced the winners of its 2023 App Store Awards, with the winner of the iPhone App of the Year telling its competition to take a hike (somewhat literally). The 14 App Store Award winners were chosen from nearly 40 finalists that all delivered what Apple called “exceptional technical innovation, user experience, and design.”


Source: Hot Hardware – Apple’s iPhone App Of The Year Winner Tells The Competition To Take A Hike

These Are The Best Ways to Save Money When Renting a Car

The holiday travel season is in full swing and more people are hitting the roads than ever, so if you haven’t already reserved your own rental car, it’s time to do so.

We’ve written before about why you should book your rental car early to lock in your rate, because you can (usually) cancel and rebook with no penalty if prices drop. But regardless of when you reserve and how rates fluctuate, there are a number of strategies for saving money on both base rates and fees (such as upcharges for young or additional drivers) when you book so you don’t wind up blowing your whole travel budget on your rental car.

Shop around for the cheapest rate—and get creative about it

You should obviously compare prices across rental companies to get the cheapest option, especially if you aren’t a member of any loyalty programs, and include rental car alternatives like Turo and Getaround. AutoSlash tracks rental car rates—for free—so you can set up an alert for your reservation.

But go one step further than just comparing companies. your rental company has multiple locations in your area—both in-town and at the airport, for example—check for price differences if you pick up and drop off at one versus another. Downtown pickup is cheaper on average than airport locations, according to NerdWallet. However, you should also factor in convenience (taking a rideshare to a location further away could offset any savings) and business hours, as well as available inventory and one-way fees if you pick up at one location and drop off at another.

Sign up for a membership club with an auto discount

AAA is perhaps the best-known auto club to offer car rental discounts, but there are a handful of membership programs with similar perks:

  • AARP: up to 30% off base rates

  • BJ’s: up to 30% off base rates

  • Costco: up to 30% off base fares

  • USAA: up to 25% off

  • Sam’s Club: up to 25% off

Each of the above contracts with certain rental car companies to offer discounts to their members, so if you prefer a specific provider, you should check the specifics before joining. Note that other than USAA (which offers membership only to military service members and their families), these clubs have fees to join that range from $12 to $110, and you may have to book your rental through the club’s portal to take advantage of your discount.

But if you use this perk (and others) often, the money you save could quickly offset the price of admission.

Book with your travel credit card

As The Points Guy lays out, there are a handful of travel credit cards—the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card from American Express, and the United Club Infinite Card, for example—that have solid rental car benefits, such as discounts, waived fees, free upgrades, and priority service.

Another potential perk of using a travel credit card to book your rental is that insurance coverage such as damage waivers may be included, so you don’t have to purchase costly coverage from the rental company or file a claim with your personal insurance in the event of a collision. (Obviously, you should check what’s covered with your card before declining any additional insurance options.)

Go through your travel loyalty program

Hotel and airline loyalty program members may be able to score rental car discounts with partner companies and earn bonus points or miles on the booking. For example, Alaska Air offers 35% off Avis and Budget rentals and up to 1,250 miles for its Mileage Plan customers who use their membership number when booking, while Marriott has a partnership with Hertz to offer discounts to Bonvoy members.

If you use rental cars frequently and/or have a preference for a certain provider, you may want to consider joining their rewards program, which can earn you points that can be redeemed for rate discounts and upgrades.

Use your company or school perks

Ask your employer about a corporate code for rental car discounts (just be sure you understand any restrictions, such as using it for personal vs. business travel). Similarly, some universities have partnerships with rental companies to offer discounts and perks to students and alumni. Union members may also have access to car rental benefits through UnionPlus.

Note that you may have to show proof of employment, enrollment, or membership to qualify for your discount.

Source: LifeHacker – These Are The Best Ways to Save Money When Renting a Car

ASUS ROG Ally Learns New Tricks Including One That Will Be A Hit On TikTok

ASUS ROG Ally Learns New Tricks Including One That Will Be A Hit On TikTok
As one might expect, ASUS’s ROG Ally gaming handheld is improving over time with continued updates and support. It was already a solid handheld when it launched, as we noted in our ROG Ally review, but it could also benefit from key improvements. Some of those are included in a new update that is rolling out today, one of which will make it

Source: Hot Hardware – ASUS ROG Ally Learns New Tricks Including One That Will Be A Hit On TikTok

NVIDIA CEO Huang Reveals How Long It Will Take For US Chip Independence

NVIDIA CEO Huang Reveals How Long It Will Take For US Chip Independence
Jensen Huang, NVIDIA Chief Executive Officer, remarked that it might take up to 20 years for the United States to be independent from having to obtain chips from overseas. He made the statement while speaking at the New York Times’s DealBook conference in New York.

“We are somewhere between a decade and two decades away from supply chain

Source: Hot Hardware – NVIDIA CEO Huang Reveals How Long It Will Take For US Chip Independence

You Can Finally Change the iPhone's Default Notification Sounds and Haptics

The iPhone’s notification sound is iconic at this point. While you’ve had the option to change the alert sound for notifications like messages, incoming emails, and reminders, as well as certain third-party apps, Apple never let us change the default alert sound for other notifications. That chime is arguably almost as strong as the iPhone brand itself, much like the Windows XP Bliss wallpaper or the Mac boot up sound.

In any case, Apple finally letting go of that legacy, and we’re all better for it. In the fourth public beta for iOS 17.2, Apple added a brand new section for changing the default alerts sound. While the feature is currently in testing, the iOS 17.2 should be available for the general audience in a matter of weeks. If you’re curious, you can install the public beta, without even installing a new profile.

How to change the default alert tone on your iPhone

Once your iPhone is updated, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics to find the brand new Default Alerts at the bottom of the list. Here, you can change the sound to any of the text tones, new or classic.

While you’re here, you might also want to change the default haptic feedback. iOS 17 changed the haptic alerts, and there was no way to go back. With the iOS 17.2 update, Apple is letting you customize the haptics as well, so you can go back to how it used to be, or choose the haptic feedback level that works best for you.

Source: LifeHacker – You Can Finally Change the iPhone’s Default Notification Sounds and Haptics

Ubuntu 23.10 Showing Nice Performance Improvements On Ampere Altra Max

Gigabyte (Giga Computing) recently sent over their G242-P36 HPC/AI Arm server platform built for Ampere Altra and Ampere Altra Max processors. This 2U server platform can accommodate up to four graphics cards or a mix of GPUs and DPUs if so desired, for maxing out the AI possibilities on Arm. I’ll have up a full review on the G242-P36 soon while in this article is a look at the direction of the Ubuntu Server Arm performance from Ubuntu 22.04 LTS to now with Ubuntu 23.10 ahead of the important Ubuntu 24.04 LTS cycle.

Source: Phoronix – Ubuntu 23.10 Showing Nice Performance Improvements On Ampere Altra Max

Oxford Study Details The Internet's Effect On Mental Health With Interesting Results

Oxford Study Details The Internet's Effect On Mental Health With Interesting Results
A massive long-term study involving millions of people across 168 countries has found that internet adoption shows no evidence of affecting overall psychological well-being. The researchers initially thought there would be a strong link between the internet and mental health harm, but ultimately determined it didn’t move the needle to be statistically

Source: Hot Hardware – Oxford Study Details The Internet’s Effect On Mental Health With Interesting Results

NASA’s Odyssey Orbiter Captures Astonishing Images Of Horizon On Mars

NASA’s Odyssey Orbiter Captures Astonishing Images Of Horizon On Mars
A new image captured by NASA’s Odyssey orbiter highlights a view of Mars that will help scientists gain new insights into the Martian atmosphere. The panoramic view was stitched together using 10 images, creating the view of the Martian landscapes below clouds and dust.

NASA engineers spent three months preparing for the operation that

Source: Hot Hardware – NASA’s Odyssey Orbiter Captures Astonishing Images Of Horizon On Mars

Why AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX And XT GPUs Are Suddenly A Hot Commodity In China

Why AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX And XT GPUs Are Suddenly A Hot Commodity In China
Buckle in gamers, we have more consumer GPUs that are potentially going to help the ever-growing AI machine. Initially, NVIDIA’s powerhouse GeForce RTX 4090 was the first target of acquisition for enterprising outfits in China. When those became sparse, even the last generation GeForce RTX 3090 became appealing due to its 24GB of VRAM. 


Source: Hot Hardware – Why AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX And XT GPUs Are Suddenly A Hot Commodity In China

These Unusual Cordless Tools Are Surprisingly Useful for Your DIY Projects

As cordless tools become more popular, the variety of tools available keeps expanding. Once confined to drills, the cordless assortment of options has increased dramatically, as more and more tools have untethered themselves from extension cords. Here are some of the coolest and weirdest tools that are both odd and surprisingly useful.

Cool cordless saws

For DIY masters, there’s nothing more fun than a new saw. Since many tool sets already include a jigsaw or a circular saw, here are some more interesting saws to add to your collection.

  • This Milwaukee Fuel mini chainsaw that runs on 18v batteries is great for pruning, cutting up small firewood, or those adventurous DIYers who like to do chainsaw carving. Because it’s smaller, it doesn’t pack the same punch as a full-sized chainsaw, and you need to be careful to keep clear of the blade—but it sure is fun!

  • The Makita 18v cut out saw is great for making smaller, more precise cuts. Using a small rotating bit, the cut-out saw will work in places that larger saws, even a jig saw, can’t go. Although this saw is great for making smaller, more precise cuts, the blade isn’t designed to handle thicker, more heavy-duty material, so keep that in mind.

  • If you do metal work, a band saw is indispensable. The DeWalt portable 20 volt band saw will do light- to medium-duty metal cutting on the go and is great for jobs where stretching out an extension cord is difficult or impossible. The saw is unmounted, so a steady hand is required, and the saw can only cut up to a 2 ½ inch diameter, but it packs a punch for a small tool.

Cordless tools for working on your car

For vehicle enthusiasts, the trickiest part of getting projects done is getting power to where you’re working. If you don’t have a garage or an outdoor outlet, or if you need a tool on the go for roadside repairs, here are some cordless options that will make things a lot easier.

  • The DeWalt portable 20 volt tire inflator can provide enough air pressure to inflate a tire on the roadside anywhere. It’s a good idea to have an emergency option for flat tires in areas where roadside assistance might not be available. The tire inflator also has a gauge and an automatic shutoff to prevent overfilling the tires. This tool weighs less than three pounds and will fill all four tires on one battery, but will likely need to be charged after that. For higher-pressure tires (above 70 PSI) it might not quite have the juice to get the job done, but for regular car tires, it will work well.

  • For getting your vehicle all shined up, the Ryobi 18 volt buffer is a handy tool. Since it’s cordless, you can use it anywhere without dragging the extension cord along, and it will polish up your wax job to a glossy finish. The battery will last about two hours, so it will work on one charge for a medium-sized vehicle, but after that, it will need a charge.

  • The Milwaukee cordless impact wrench is a good tool for getting nuts and bolts securely fastened or for getting them unstuck. It’s a little more powerful than a regular impact driver and is specifically designed for driving nuts. The impact-assisted driver helps give you more power when you’re using it on stubborn nuts and bolts. This driver has a ⅜ inch connector for sockets and is good for mid-duty use on vehicles or other projects.

Small and precise jobs

For smaller, more fiddly projects, there are some really interesting cordless options out there.

  • Smaller projects where adhesives play a role can always benefit from a hot glue gun. Ryobi has you covered for crafty or small scale home projects with their cordless glue gun. This tool is compatible with a Ryobi one battery system and has about a three and a half hour run time before needing to be recharged.

  • The DeWalt heat gun is great for using heat shrink on wiring projects, drying or removing paint, taking off old bumper stickers, or shaping PVC. It has multiple attachments for different applications and also has variable temperature settings up to 990 degrees. The battery only lasts about 45 minutes on this tool, though, so having a spare battery for larger projects is a good idea. 

  • The Ryobi cordless rotary tool has a flexible shaft that allows for maximum mobility when cutting, polishing, or grinding. It’s compatible with a foot pedal to keep your hands free for controlling the tool, and it comes with 40 bits as well. Since this tool is small, it’s best adapted for small woodworking or crafting—it won’t work well for larger projects.

Source: LifeHacker – These Unusual Cordless Tools Are Surprisingly Useful for Your DIY Projects

Sam Altman officially back as OpenAI CEO: “We didn’t lose a single employee”

A glowing OpenAI logo on a light blue background.

Enlarge (credit: OpenAI / Benj Edwards)

On Wednesday, OpenAI announced that Sam Altman has officially returned to the ChatGPT-maker as CEO—accompanied by Mira Murati as CTO and Greg Brockman as president—resuming their roles from before the shocking firing of Altman that threw the company into turmoil two weeks ago. Altman says the company did not lose a single employee or customer throughout the crisis.

“I have never been more excited about the future. I am extremely grateful for everyone’s hard work in an unclear and unprecedented situation, and I believe our resilience and spirit set us apart in the industry,” wrote Altman in an official OpenAI news release. “I feel so, so good about our probability of success for achieving our mission.”

In the statement, Altman formalized plans that have been underway since last week: ex-Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and economist Larry Summers have officially begun their tenure on the “new initial” OpenAI board of directors. Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo is keeping his previous seat on the board. Also on Wednesday, previous board members Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner officially resigned. In addition, a representative from Microsoft (a key OpenAI investor) will have a non-voting observer role on the board of directors.

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Source: Ars Technica – Sam Altman officially back as OpenAI CEO: “We didn’t lose a single employee”

How Huawei made a cutting-edge chip in China and surprised the US

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Source: Ars Technica – How Huawei made a cutting-edge chip in China and surprised the US

Hackers Are Exploiting A Security Flaw Affecting Billions Of Chrome Users, Patch ASAP

Hackers Are Exploiting A Security Flaw Affecting Billions Of Chrome Users, Patch ASAP
If you’re using a Chrome browser—and chances are high that you are, simply based on Chrome’s dominant market share—stop what you’re doing and initiate an update to the latest version. Yes, you should be receiving Chrome updates on an automatic basis, but the newest build patches a bunch of alarming security vulnerabilities, including one that

Source: Hot Hardware – Hackers Are Exploiting A Security Flaw Affecting Billions Of Chrome Users, Patch ASAP

These Are the Best Holiday Gifts for Creative Kids

If your kids are anything like mine, they love exploring their creative, artistic sides—that is, until a screen comes on. But it doesn’t have to be this way: There are all kind of toys and games available that will effectively lure them from the siren song of their iPads.

If you’re looking for a gift that will stimulate your child’s brain instead of straining their eyes, we’ve compiled a list of presents that will get your kid using their imaginations and having fun, to boot.

Learn to Mix & Spin DJ Pad

Check out the beats while your toddler revolves it on this portable turntable with an 18-key synth, sound effects, and the ability to create hip-hop fills like the DJ at your favorite club (or the one you went to in college).

Resources Building Blocks

If your LEGO budget is running low, the 72 wooden pieces in this set, inspired by nature, offer a natural alternative to the expensive plastic bricks your creative kid uses. But don’t worry—they’ll probably still find a way to create a robot bent on destroying the world. 

Art-chitect Home Model Building Kit

Ever since I took my oldest son to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, he’s been obsessed with design and architecture. This set has everything he needs to bring his ideas to life, from the walls required to model his 3-D home to floor plan tracing sheets. 

Robot Building Toy

When your kid puts together a LEGO set, there isn’t much they can do with it after building is complete. With this 635-piece toy, you have a remote-controlled device that (hopefully) won’t get smashed to bits once it is in motion. 

The Woobles Easy Peasy Beginner Bundle Crochet Kit 

Chances are your child wants a Squishmallow this year for the holidays. Now they can crochet their own cute, fluffy friend. One Lifehacker editor can’t recommend these enough for DIY-obsessed older kids—they include everything needed to stitch these animals together, including a crochet hook.

Illustory Book Making Kit

The one thing I love about Dav Pilkey’s collection of books (Captain Underpants and DogMan series) is that they encourage readers to write their own stories. With this gift, once your kid is done putting pen to paper, they can send in their masterpiece and will have a professionally printed hardcover book in a few weeks. 

Create Your Own Video Game Set

Kids can create and play their own 8-bit games on this Game Boy-like device. It works with the help of a web-based visual editor that will familiarize them with programming languages like JavaScript and Python. It also functions as a smartwatch and pedometer. 

Arts and Crafts Vault

If making friendship bracelets for the Taylor Swift tour whetted your child’s appetite for making their own jewelry, this kit has over 1000 pieces to get their next project off the ground. It includes everything from pipe cleaners to googly eyes!

Diary of an Awesome Kid

Even the great authors kept a journal. Give your kid a head start with this one, which has the best title and can be used as a diary, planner, or even a canvas for their illustrations. It comes in a variety of colors.

KidiZoom Creator Cam

Is your kid a movie fiend? Help them evolve from consumer to creator with this HD video camera designed specifically for the younger set. Kids can run away from dinosaurs, visit space, or put on their own newscasts with the included green screen. A selfie stick and tripod are included. 

Buddha Board

This painting board is usually marketed toward adults, but it’s also the perfect gift for your creative kid. You paint with water using a bamboo brush, but the masterpiece fades as it dries, returning to a blank slate. Adults see Zen; parents see a mess-free way for kids to express themselves. 

Kids Create Absurdity Card Game

This stocking stuffer has been described as Cards Against Humanity for the grade school set, and your entire family can have some fun together during winter break. 

Help your kid explore their creativity with one of these gifts:

Source: LifeHacker – These Are the Best Holiday Gifts for Creative Kids

Use This Infrared Thermometer to Find Where Heat Is Escaping Your House

When it’s cold outside and you’re paying to heat your home, you don’t want to feel a chill breeze whipping through your living room—especially if its source is a mystery. Perhaps you’ve already insulated your electrical outlets, installed weatherstripping around your windows and doors, and caulked all the holes, gaps, and cracks you could find, but still can’t detect the draft.

While you can always try using a candle to locate the air leaks, that’s not exactly the most precise method. Instead, why not use an infrared thermometer? Not the kind you point at a person’s forehead to take their temperature, but one designed for this and other household tasks. Here’s why it’s worth investing in an infrared thermometer, and a few of our favorite models.

Household uses for infrared thermometers

The infrared thermometers used for finding air leaks look similar to the ones used for medical purposes, but typically are orange and black, or yellow and black, instead of white, gray, or light blue. This is probably a good time to mention that household infrared thermometers shouldn’t be used to take a person’s temperature.

Apart from that, these digital devices come in handy for a variety of household tasks, including but not limited to:

  • Locating air leaks and drafts

  • Checking the temperature of walls, ceilings, and other areas in your home to see if they need to be better insulated 

  • Measuring the temperature of the wall surrounding a circuit breaker box or electrical outlet if you smell or otherwise suspect a potential electrical fire, or faulty wiring

  • Cooking, baking, grilling, frying, and other aspect of food preparation 

  • Automotive temperature measurement 

  • Checking the temperature of metal slides and/or other playground equipment before a child uses it on a hot day

  • Checking the temperature of the pavement in the summer to see if it’s too hot for your dog’s paws

What to look for when purchasing an infrared thermometer

It’s not hard to find a solid infrared thermometer for your basic household needs for between $15 and $25—or even less when they’re on sale. These tend to be easy to use and read. The more bells and whistles one has, the less straightforward operating it becomes, so unless you’re going to use it for a specific purpose that requires a special feature, simpler models are usually your best bet.

There are, however, some differences among the entry-level infrared thermometers that you may want to consider before making your purchase. For instance:

  • Temperature range

  • Adjustable emissivity (to accurately measure temperatures on a variety of different surfaces)

  • Water and/or dust resistance 

  • Rechargeable (usually via USB cable) versus battery operated

The best infrared thermometers for household tasks

To help you take some of the guesswork out of making a purchase, here are some of our favorite infrared thermometers:

Best overall

Inkbird Rechargeable Infrared Thermometer ($24.99)

Though rechargeable infrared thermometers cost slightly more than those that are battery operated; it’s worth it not to have to deal with or pay for AA or AAA batteries, and simply plug in a USB cable instead. Fully charged, the thermometer can last up to 12 hours with backlight, and has a range of -58℉ to 1022℉(-50℃ to 550℃). It’s also easy to operate, with a single button controlling all the settings and functions.

Best budget option

Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun ($14.99)

This solid, basic option gets the job done. It’s battery operated, but the thermometer comes with two AAA batteries, so that’s convenient. It’s temperature range of -58° to 842°F (-50° to 450°C) isn’t as wide as other models, but it should be sufficient for most household uses.

Best for cooking

SOVARCATE Infrared Thermometer ($18.69)

The ability to adjust this thermometer’s emissivity makes it easy to get accurate temperature readings on hot oil, ice, and any other food or cooking surface—as does a temperature range of -58°F to 1112°F(-50°C to 600°C). In addition to two AAA batteries, a meat thermometer with a stainless steel probe is included with the purchase.

Best automotive option

ThermoPro TP30 Infrared Thermometer Gun ($19.99)

This versatile thermometer can be used for any household tasks—including in the garage. The display retains the minimum, maximum, and average temperature of the last scan, which is especially helpful in automotive work, like checking engine temperatures.

Best for construction

Ketotek Digital Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun ($21.99)

This heavy-duty infrared thermometer with a scratch-resistant UV coating can withstand more than the usual wear-and-tear, while still retaining the sensitivity necessary for cooking.

Source: LifeHacker – Use This Infrared Thermometer to Find Where Heat Is Escaping Your House

Godot 4.2 Released With More Stability Improvements, Improved Rendering & AMD FSR 2.2

The year began with Godot 4.0 making its much anticipated debut and now this open-source game engine project is ending out 2023 with Godot 4.2 as the second revision to the Godot 4.x engine…

Source: Phoronix – Godot 4.2 Released With More Stability Improvements, Improved Rendering & AMD FSR 2.2

Everything You Need to Know About Grok, Elon Musk's Answer to ChatGPT

AI chatbots are suddenly a dime a dozen. Beyond the massively successful and overhyped options (like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard), now Elon Musk’s xAI is getting on on the action. Musk’s AI company has released the first version of Grok, an AI chatbot that the SpaceX leader heralds as a more humorous and free-thought version of ChatGPT. But what exactly is Grok, is it worth paying to use it?

What is Grok?

According to xAI’s website, Grok is an “AI modeled after the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is, of course, an old sci-fi novel (slash radio drama slash TV show slash movie), but the name “Grok” appears to be drawn from a different old sci-fi novel, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. In that book, “grok” is a Martian word with a definition roughly along the lines of “to know something (or someone) on a truly intimate level.”

The company says Grok is intended to be used answer almost anything, while also being able to suggest some questions users can ask it. Additionally, the company says that Grok is designed to answer with “a bit of wit” and that the AI has a “rebellious streak,” and warns not to use it if you “hate humor.” Sure. Elon Musk is, after all, famously hilarious.

The product is still in very early beta, and currently it only has around four to five months of training. As such, xAI says that Grok should improve exponentially over the coming months. But how is it right now?

Is Grok good?

Grok is…not the worst AI chatbot that has been released in recent months, and based on how hard Elon Musk likes to push his companies to iterate, it is likely we’ll see some degree of “improvement” in the service in the months going forward. Whether or not that improvement means making the bot more like its premium competitors—ChatGPT and Claude—remains to be seen.

As it stands, Grok is probably on par with what we saw with ChatGPT’s earliest iterations, though xAI continues to claim the service will improve rapidly as it is trained on the content and information freely available on X, formerly known as Twitter, which Elon Musk also owns. (X/Twitter is also, after all, famously filled with accurate information). So far, the company says the chatbot it has shown substantial improvements since Grok-0, the very first iteration of the large language model.

How accurate is Grok?

Because Grok is designed to respond with “wit” and to be “a bit rebellious,” the chatbot is a good deal different than OpenAI’s ChatGPT, or the even more ethically restricted Claude, from Anthropic. According to xAI, Grok was more than 60% accurate across three of the four tests that the company ran it through. However, it’s unclear if that information has been tested and verified by independent parties.

Hallucinations—that is, instances of an AI making up facts or answers—are common with chatbots like Grok. And while Grok is still being trained, as noted, the model learns based on of all the information posted on X, which means it has license to leaf every dumb post sent out by millions of users, including all the ones full of misinformation and bad data. As such, I’d recommend double checking everything Grok tells you, because you never know what kind of “fact” it’s going to pull from a random user of that service.

How much does Grok cost to use?

The Grok waitlist is currently only open to Premium+ subscribers on X. That means you will need to become a verified user on the service, which costs roughly $16 a month. Sure, it’s cheaper than a subscription to ChatGPT or Claude—but consider that both those options have had more training, and also offer higher ethical restrictions. Any intensive use of AI chatbots is probably best saved for those two platforms, or others like them. And as I said, you can’t even try it yet—you’re only able to apply for the waitlist right now—so that monthly payment doesn’t exactly guarantee you access.

Doubts aside, Grok isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and more than any AI chatbot is. The more competition in the AI space, the more every company will have to strive to make their products better, which will hopefully be a win for consumers like you and me. If you’re debating trying out an AI chatbot, though, I’d recommend giving Grok some more time to build up its features.

The fact that Grok can pull data from X is intriguing in theory, but there’s so much dumb data, hateful content, and straight-up misinformation on there, the answers you get from the chatbot might not be be worth taking seriously.

Source: LifeHacker – Everything You Need to Know About Grok, Elon Musk’s Answer to ChatGPT