Just two days after Elon Musk launched xAI’s “Grok” chatbot, Grimes, the mother of three of his children, played at a packed unofficial OpenAI party in San Francisco.
The Monday night party billed itself as the "unofficial official" afterparty for OpenAI’s first DevDay, a developer's conference put on by the ChatGPT creator on Monday. The company did not sponsor the party itself.
But despite two open bars, blaring techno, free T-shirts and other swag, the vibe was more geek life than Greek life. Only seven of the 300 or so guests dared to dance. The remainder gathered in circles to chat.
At least until Grimes showed up.
The Canadian musician and former Musk flame pulled up to the 1015 Folsom nightclub in SoMa and took the stage to DJ at 10:40 p.m. Grimes wasted no time making an announcement that drew some murmurs of disapproval from the crowd.
"I disagree with the sentiment of this party," Grimes said. "I think we need to find ways to be safer about AI."
The "sentiment" Grimes referred to was evident at the party. A web page promoting the party said the theme was a call for looser AI regulations and widespread AI access.
Musk and Grimes, real name Claire Boucher, are involved in a legal battle over their three children. Musk is said to have 11 known children in total.
Hanging in the club was a large "Come and take it" poster of a neural network, which is used in AI and machine learning. Readers may have seen a similar design that usually features an assault rifle or cannon rather than a neural network.
Around the dance floor, posters reading "effective accelerationism" and "accelerate or die'' hung above the crowd. The latter poster had a snake on it, invoking the yellow Gadsden flag that usually reads, "Don't tread on me," a symbol widely co-opted by libertarians.
Behind the DJ booth, a huge screen flashed with Japanese anime and video game imagery, as well as the messages, "Keep AI open" and "Liberate AI."
But shortly after Grimes' remarks, partygoers appeared supportive of the musician.
"We love you, Grimes," one woman firmly entwined in the mosh pit shouted.
"This is fucking crazy," another man in the crowd said.
Grimes' appearance came two days after her former partner Musk launched xAI's AI chatbot, named “Grok.”
Musk’s Grok is an AI modeled after the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and users should avoid Grok if they hate humor, according to a blog post announcing its release on Saturday.
Grimes' choice to play at the unofficial afterparty for OpenAI’s DevDay could be seen as a slight against Musk, especially just two days after the “very early beta product” launched to select X users.
Partygoers, however, didn't see it that way./
"I don't think it's intentional; she's gone to these events before," said Adam M. who works in crypto and declined to share his last name due to safety concerns. "She basically just said Elon's perspective, that [AI] needs regulation."
"Her and Musk are very independent. I think she supports AI being centralized enough that we have some control over it," said a Harmonic AI employee, who asked to be called Travis Harfel rather than his legal name, saying he was undergoing a "personal rebranding." "She seems less concerned about control by corporations than the anarchy side."
Shivani Mitra, who identified herself as an organizer of the party, said she had invited Grimes to play and thinks that Grimes supports AI regulation.
"She knows a lot of the [AI startup] founders, and she's fascinated with AI, regardless of Elon," Mitra said. "I don't think she said anything offensive. I think it's important to think about safety."
Others were just there for the vibes.
"I think it was a great party," said Chris Folse, marketing and corporate events manager at 1015 Folsom. "Honestly, I don’t know anything about AI."
Garrett Leahy can be reached at email@example.com