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Grimes DJs for San Francisco ChatGPT crowd days after Musk’s ‘Grok’ launch

A woman DJs behind a booth in a San Francisco nightclub.
Grimes plays at a packed unofficial OpenAI party at San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom after DevDay on Monday night. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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.

People party inside a dark nightclub.
Hundreds of people attended an unofficial DevDay afterparty at San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom on Monday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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.

Elon Musk, wearing a white suit and Grimes, wearing a silver dress, are seen from the side standing close together in a photo showing them attending the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018, in New York City.
Elon Musk and Grimes attend the "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2018. Grimes reportedly broke up with Musk in 2021 and is now suing the tech billionaire over their three children. | Source: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Huffington Post

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.

A person stands in the foreground to the right of a black poster reading "come and take it" next to an image with a series of dots connected with lines forming the web—a depiction of a "neural net" used by AI algorithms. Behind the poster is a crowd of people near a stage at a nightclub bathed in blue and purple light.
A poster hanging inside San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom on Monday shows a neural network and reads, "Come and take it." | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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.

Hundreds of people stand on a nightclub dance floor bathed in red light with white posters reading "effective accelerationism" and "accelerate or die" hanging above them.
Above the dance floor at San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom posters reading "effective accelerationism" and "accelerate or die'' hang above a crowd attending an unofficial OpenAI DevDay afterparty. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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.

The silhouettes of several people are seen in front of a large light-up sign reading "keep AI open" in multi-color letters above a stage at a nightclub with spotlights shining red lights away from the stage.
At an unofficial OpenAI afterparty, signs behind the DJ stage at San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom display messages calling for fewer regulations on AI. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

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."

READ MORE: Grimes Sues Elon Musk Over Their Three Children

A large crowd of more than 100 people are seen standing with their backs turned and bathed in red and blue lights near a bar inside a nightclub with large speakers hanging overhead.
Hundreds of people gathered inside the 1015 Folsom nightclub in San Francisco to attend an unofficial afterparty for DevDay, the first developer conference held by OpenAI, on Monday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

"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.

Chris Folse, corporate events manager at San Francisco nightclub 1015 Folsom, stands on the venue's empty dance floor with a closed bar in the background on Nov. 6, 2023.
Chris Folse, marketing and corporate events manager at 1015 Folsom, stands inside the San Francisco nightclub shortly after Grimes played. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

"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."