Breaking into the world of toys, Grimes introduces “Grok,” a character she has voiced for Curio’s innovative line of screen-free AI plushies.
The toy is not associated with the AI chatbot, Grok, supported by Grimes’ ex-partner, Elon Musk. In describing xAI’s Grok, Musk mentions its “rebellious streak” and its willingness to answer “spicy questions that are rejected by most other AI systems.” However, it’s advised to avoid asking inappropriate questions.
On the contrary, Grok, Gabbo, and Grem are specifically designed to inspire imaginative play. In a conversation with Curio founders Misha Sallee and Sam Eaton, shared on the company’s blog, Grimes discusses the importance of fostering creativity in children through dynamic conversations, rather than relying on a static list of prompts.
“I am intrigued by the concept of igniting imagination and making it more accessible in our everyday lives, rather than just observing it in alternate realities like on screens or in books and movies,” she shares.
In the announcement video released by Curio, Grimes expresses her desire to limit her children’s screen time, but admits that as a busy parent, it can be challenging.
Curio claims that their plushies can engage in full-fledged conversations, allowing children (and even adults) to hone their communication skills. The lineup includes Grok, an anthropomorphic rocket ship with Grimes’ voice, Gabbo, a plush Gameboy with limbs, and Grem, a cyan bunny with adorable heart-shaped cheeks. The beta versions of these toys are available for pre-order until Sunday, priced at $99 each. They are recommended for children ages 3 to 7. It’s worth noting that Grimes’ eldest child with Musk, named X Æ A-Xii, is also 3 years old.
These talking toys are designed to answer questions about space travel, engage in games, and inspire kids to develop their listening and conversational skills. Encased within each plushie is a rechargeable, Wi-Fi-connected speaker and microphone, which is connected to a user-friendly app that allows parents to monitor and set up interactions with their kids.
According to Grimes, “When I think about children, my goal is to preserve as many young minds as possible. My question is, how much can we replace iPads?”
During her conversation with Eaton and Sallee, she adds, “I feel that keeping communication verbal also stimulates our working memory. These tiny details may improve our brains little by little.”
Welcome to Curio, a world where toys come to life! 🧸 We’ve partnered with @Grimezsz to bring to you our first trio of characters: Grok 🚀, Gabbo🤖, and Grem👽. Pre-order now before Sunday and receive a limited edition Beta Program Certificate in time for Christmas. These plushies will be shipped in early 2024!
Grimes became part of the Curio team after responding to a post that predicted the future of toys integrated with AI. One user suggested, “Children’s teddy bears will speak to them and make them feel secure at night.” Grimes enthusiastically replied, “That would be great if safe! I would love for my kids to hang out with a culture ship mind in a teddy bear.”
This toy line launched soon after Musk’s ChatGPT, also named Grok, had already begun rolling out to X Premium Plus subscribers.
Eaton and Sallee share in their conversation with Grimes, “Grimes is the voice behind the toy, and coincidentally, this particular one is a rocket named Grok. This name was chosen before the AI Grok was announced. It’s quite a funny coincidence.”
As reported by Business Insider, Curio’s Grok was trademarked earlier than xAI’s Grok.
Curio filed their trademark for Grok on September 12 of this year, whereas xAI filed theirs on October 23. The abbreviation “Grok” stands for “Grocket,” reflecting Grimes’ children’s deep fascination with rockets, as their father is the owner of SpaceX. The Washington Post also mentions that there seems to be a pattern among the couple’s kids’ names.
Grimes and Musk are currently in the midst of a custody battle over their three children, and have both filed lawsuits against each other in California and Texas respectively.
In a post addressing the overlapping of names, Grimes shares, “By the time we realized that the Grok team at Curio was also using the same name, it was too late for either AI to change their names. So now, there are two AI’s named Grok, and I can’t wait for them to become friends. It’s quite funny. I never imagined even AI could experience meeting someone with the same name in school.”