A|I: The AI Times – Deepfaked: employee falls for $25M USD money transfer order

Plus: Google launches a re-branded Bard in Canada and AI flags abound.

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‘Everyone looked real’: multinational firm’s Hong Kong office loses HK$200 million after scammers stage deepfake video meeting

A multinational company lost HK$200 million (US$25.6 million) in a scam after employees at its Hong Kong branch were fooled by deepfake technology, with one incident involving a digitally recreated version of its chief financial officer ordering money transfers in a video conference call, police said.

Despite having an early “moment of doubt”, the employee fell for the ruse after being invited to the group video conference and finding the company’s CFO present, along with other staff and some outsiders. The company employees in the call looked and sounded like real people the targeted employee recognised. 

(South China Morning Post)

Google rebrands Bard to Gemini and finally launches chatbot in Canada

Seven months after Google rolled out its AI-powered chatbot to over 230 countries and territories, the service has officially launched in Canada.

Google has rebranded its Bard chatbot to Gemini, which is based on Google’s large language model (LLM) of the same name and first unveiled in December. In July 2023, Canada was one of only a few countries in the world that did not get access to Bard as part of Google’s international rollout last year. Also on that list of excluded countries were Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea.


Ottawa urged to move quickly on AI law to safeguard technology

Artificial-intelligence expert Yoshua Bengio urged Ottawa on Monday to quickly implement a bill to regulate AI and guard against serious dangers posed by the technology, saying that a registry is needed to monitor powerful systems and that national-security and societal risks should be addressed in the legislation.

“Rejecting it or delaying its adoption much more would be taking a terrible risk with the public’s protection,” Prof. Bengio wrote in his prepared remarks to the House of Commons industry and technology committee.

(The Globe and Mail)

Maple VC backs Canadian-founded Dexa’s $6-million seed round

In December 2021, San Francisco venture capital firm Maple VC secured $16.5 million USD for a fund aimed at backing more Canadian entrepreneurs, regardless of their location.

The firm has made its latest bet on New York-based Dexa, which offers an artificial intelligence-powered search engine for podcast listeners.

Dexa, which announced a $6-million seed financing round this week, is led by Calgary native Riley Tomasek as CEO and founder.


Facebook parent Meta to start labeling AI-generated images from companies like OpenAI, Google

Meta Platforms will begin detecting and labelling images generated by other companies’ artificial-intelligence services in the coming months, using a set of invisible markers built into the files, its top policy executive said on Tuesday.

Meta will apply the labels to any content carrying the markers that is posted to its Facebook, Instagram and Threads services, in an effort to signal to users that the images – which in many cases resemble real photos – are actually digital creations.

(The Globe and Mail)

OpenHouse.ai raises $1.5 million for house-planning and marketing tool

Calgary-based proptech startup OpenHouse.ai has raised $1.5 million for its AI-powered house planning and marketing platform for builders.

The platform provides a digital housing storefront that analyzes customer behaviour and delivers insights to builders about desired features and floor plans in certain communities. OpenHouse claims these insights help builders understand market demand and shifting buyer behaviour.


Canada signs letter of intent with AI giant Nvidia during CEO’s Toronto trip

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne says Canada has signed a letter of intent with artificial intelligence chip giant Nvidia to boost computing power.

Neither party revealed the contents of the letter during Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang’s trip to Toronto on Thursday.

“Minister Champagne wants my support to ensure that Canada can have access to leading edge technology so that it could, with necessary funding, build its own infrastructure and I’m very enthusiastic about that,” Huang told The Canadian Press in an interview late Thursday.

(The Canadian Press)

How to make data-driven decisions in your startup

Collecting and analyzing data to inform decisions is key to any startup’s growth. But in a world of unlimited data, failing to choose the right metrics to measure actually inhibits high-quality decision-making.

This is a challenge that Dillon Mullaney, VP of Revenue at Mozart Data, sees regularly with clients. Speaking with BetaKit, Mullaney explained how he builds high-quality dashboards that drive specific, relevant action.


Tech giants to Ottawa: Canada’s proposed AI law is getting risks wrong

Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft are lining up against the Liberal government’s proposed artificial intelligence law, warning it would deter Canadian firms and consumers from more productive uses of the technology.

The Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) would require organizations developing and deploying “high-impact” systems to identify and curb the risks of harmful or biased use. The government’s initial list of categories includes tools used in employment, health-care or judicial decisions.

(The Logic)

Nord Quantique claims industry first quantum error correction at qubit level

Sherbrooke, Québec-based Nord Quantique claims that it has achieved a new milestone for error correction in quantum computing.

The early-stage startup, which is developing processors for quantum computing, announced results from its latest research paper. Nord Quantique says it has demonstrated the ability to reduce errors on a single qubit by 14 percent, without relying on the traditional method of using additional qubits to do so.


US says leading AI companies join safety consortium to address risks

The Biden administration on Thursday said leading artificial intelligence companies are among more than 200 entities joining a new U.S. consortium to support the safe development and deployment of generative AI.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond: The world’s biggest artificial intelligence companies are pushing the UK government to speed up its safety tests for AI systems, in a clash over Britain’s desire to take a leading role in regulating the fast-developing technology.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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