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Alberta Innovates invests $30 million into Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute to spur research (BETAKIT)

The government investment is the allocation of a previously announced commitment to AI. The $30 million for AI overall is part the provincial government’s new innovation strategy, which was given $73 million in the 2022 budget.

The Alberta government said that the investment solidifies the province’s place as a leader in AI and in developing new and emerging technologies that solve the world’s latest challenges.

Chatbot Start-Up Character.AI Valued at $1 Billion in New Funding Round (THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Venture capitalists are jockeying to invest in the young A.I. companies even as the rest of the tech industry struggles through layoffs, plummeting valuations and an unexpected banking crisis prompted by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank.

Character.AI, a 16-month-old start-up that builds online chatbots, said it had raised $150 million in a recent funding round that valued the company at $1 billion.

Ericsson sets up new quantum research hub in Montréal (BETAKIT)

With this new hub,Swedish telecom gear giant Ericsson aims to facilitate telecom-related quantum research that it can commercialize. The Ericsson Canada centre will play home to research projects focused on how quantum-based algorithms might accelerate processing in telecom networks and distributed quantum computing.

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As AI booms, EU lawmakers wrangle over new rules (REUTERS)

Rapid technological advances such as the ChatGPT generative artificial intelligence app are complicating efforts by European Union lawmakers to agree on landmark AI laws, sources with direct knowledge of the matter have told Reuters.

While the industry expects an agreement by the end of the year, there are concerns that the complexity and the lack of progress could delay the legislation to next year, and European elections could see MEPs with an entirely different set of priorities take office.

BC suffered biggest year-over-year venture funding drop among all Canadian ecosystems in 2022 (BETAKIT)

According to a new report from, startups in BC raised a total of $1.3 billion in 2022 down by 67.5 percent from 2021, but up by 34 percent from 2020. Of all the Canadian tech regions tracked by, BC saw the most significant year-over-year decline in funding.

Shopify enterprise merchants can now use Google’s AI tools to improve searchability (BETAKIT)

In response to the costly problem of potential customers abandoning their cart after an unsuccessful trip to the search bar, Shopify announced a partnership with Google Cloud to use the latter’s advanced search and browsing technologies for retail.

With this integration, enterprise merchants using Commerce Components—Shopify’s enterprise retail solution—can use Google Cloud’s Discovery AI tools to produce “better” results even from broad queries.

Google opens Bard AI chatbot to the public (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is granting the public access to its ChatGPT competitor, the conversational AI service it calls Bard.

Users in the US and UK can sign up for a waitlist, the company said Tuesday in a blog post, and people will be added on a rolling basis. Bard is Google’s effort to make up lost ground to OpenAI Inc. in the artificial intelligence race.

Mercator AI raises $5.1 million CAD as it develops early project detection tool for construction (BETAKIT)

Mercator’s real-time construction intelligence platform mines and analyzes millions of data points across commercial and industrial projects to identify signals of early construction activity, reveal who’s involved, and tie the active project information back to company profiles.

According to Mercator, it will use this new addition of capital to accelerate its expansion in the United States (US) and Canadian markets in 2023, as well as grow its headcount. The startup said it currently has 11 employees, with plans to hire five more across its data and engineering teams.

Venture capitalists race to land next AI deal on Big Tech’s turf (REUTERS)

“VCs think this is the new internet.”

Investment in generative AI startups has ballooned to $5.9 billion since the beginning of 2022, up from $1.5 billion in 2020, according to data from PitchBook. Reuters reports on the VC money flying around Silicon Valley looking for the next big thing.

Québec budget aimed at stimulating the economy with investments in tech sectors, skilled labour (BETAKIT)

Québec Finance Minister Eric Girard released the 2023-2024 budget, making clear that the provincial government is betting on economic growth. The plan earmarks $900 million towards new initiatives intended to stimulate economic productivity and innovation, and $615 million to address the labour shortage.

The case for slowing down AI (VOX)

While there’s no way to uninvent the nuclear bomb or the genetic engineering tools that can juice pathogens, catastrophic AI has yet to be created, meaning it’s one type of doom we have the ability to preemptively stop.

Vox lays out the case to pump the brakes before it’s too late.

Mila, UNESCO warn against use of AI in “harmful contexts” in joint book on AI governance (BETAKIT)

In an effort to set the standards for ethical and inclusive use of the technology, Montréal-based AI institute Mila partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to publish a joint book on AI governance.

“This means working towards AI systems that are human-centered, inclusive, ethical, sustainable, as well as upholding human rights and the rule of law,” reads a portion of the book’s introduction.

The Age of AI has begun (GATESNOTES)

In his blog, Bill Gates breaks down the past of ChatGPT and his vision for its future applications from health to education, quells concerns about its current issues, and proposes three principles for conversations around AI.

Noze receives $1 million grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build TB- and malaria-detecting breathalyzer (BETAKIT)

Montréal-based Noze has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build a breathalyzer that detects infectious diseases, more specifically tuberculosis and malaria.

Noze’s portable breathalyzer is powered by the company’s AI-based digital odour perception platform, and detects unique biomarkers in exhaled breath to recognize infectious diseases. In addition, it can deliver instant diagnostics.

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The post A|I: The AI Times – Bill Gates is blogging about AI now first appeared on BetaKit.

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