Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence start-up xAI has released its first AI model, as the tech billionaire looks to take on OpenAI, Google and Meta with a sassy chatbot that is tightly integrated with X, formerly Twitter.

Grok, the new AI system, has “real-time access” to information from X, the social media platform Musk bought for $44bn a year ago, he said in a post on Saturday night, giving it a “massive advantage over other models” that have largely relied on older archives of internet data.

The chatbot “loves sarcasm” and responds with “a little humour”, Musk added, hoping that giving Grok more personality will allow it to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

“It will also answer spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems,” xAI said as it announced a “very early” testing version of Grok.

So-called generative AI companies — whose technology can create humanlike text, code and imagery in seconds — have raised billions of dollars this year as investors pile into an industry that proponents say could be as transformative as the internet.

Others, however, fear a new tech bubble is inflating, with commercialisation of the technology remaining at an early stage. xAI’s ability to release a capable model with what it says was just two months of training shows how new entrants are beginning to eat away at the huge lead established by OpenAI, which released its breakthrough chatbot ChatGPT almost a year ago. Users of X can apply now to try out Grok, which will be available to subscribers of the app’s new “Premium+” service, costing about $16 a month, after it completes an unspecified period of testing.

The launch comes as Musk is seeking to boost engagement and sales at X, which since his 2022 purchase of Twitter has lost revenue after many advertisers pulled spending over concerns about his relaxing of content moderation.

Despite being created in just a few months, Musk claims that Grok’s capabilities rival the latest models from Meta, which released its LLaMA 2 model in July, and Inflection, the AI start-up led by former DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, according to benchmark tests.