A|I: The AI Times – FTC investigates OpenAI as Elon Musk launches competitor

Plus: Shopify teases AI assistant for entrepreneurs, Sidekick.

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Sampler acquires AdMass’s tech, founders to add AI, user-generated content to its product sampling platform (BETAKIT)

Sampler, which matches large packaged-goods firms with consumers seeking samples by mail, has acquired fellow Toronto tech startup AdMass.

As part of its broader AI roadmap, Sampler intends to explore applying AI to consumers’ social media profiles to identify aspects of their lifestyle based on publicly shared images—a use case the AdMass team had been working on.

FTC investigates OpenAI over data leak and ChatGPT’s inaccuracy

The Federal Trade Commission has opened an expansive investigation into OpenAI, probing whether the maker of the popular ChatGPT bot has run afoul of consumer protection laws by putting personal reputations and data at risk.

The salvo represents the most potent regulatory threat to date to OpenAI’s business in the United States, as the company goes on a global charm offensive to shape the future of artificial intelligence policy.

Hypercontext completes HR pivot with new AI-powered performance management tool (BETAKIT)

Performance review season, whether it’s once, twice, or four times a year, is almost a universally dreaded time for employees and managers. Toronto-based Hypercontext is looking to change that with its recently released AI-powered feature designed to help managers generate employee performance reviews.

For CEO and co-founder Brennan McEachran, the tool represents a key step into the HR sector for Hypercontext. But the recent explosion of AI tools has also sparked discussions regarding the role of AI-driven decision-making across departments, including HR. With the technology still in its infancy, experts have raised questions about the ethical implications of relying on machines to make determinations that could directly impact employee livelihoods.

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AI Startup Hugging Face Is Raising Fresh VC Funds At $4 Billion Valuation (FORBES)

Hugging Face, a “GitHub for machine learning,” is raising a new funding round that is expected to value the high-flying AI startup at $4 billion, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter tell Forbes.

After buying Cyclica and Valence, Recursion secures $50 million USD from Nvidia for drug discovery (BETAKIT)

Computing giant Nvidia has invested $50 million USD in Recursion to fuel the development of its artificial intelligence drug-discovery technology.

The investment follows Recursion's acquisition of two emerging Canadian AI drug-discovery companies in Toronto’s Cyclica and Montréal-based Valence Discovery, and its new Canadian headquarters in Toronto.

The Next Challengers Joining Nvidia in the AI Chip Revolution

Heavyweights such as Advanced Micro Devices and Intel are spending billions of dollars to enhance their AI offerings, while startups are attracting investors eager to get into the next possible chip giant.

Nvidia’s head start isn’t discouraging newcomers, as the AI-computing semiconductors’ industry is projected to roughly double, with revenue hitting $125 billion, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

Shopify teases AI assistant for entrepreneurs, Sidekick (BETAKIT)

As the market applications for artificial intelligence continue to grow, Shopify has unveiled its own AI assistant for entrepreneurs, Sidekick.

This AI assistant is Shopify’s latest effort in its broader AI play and its bet on the generative AI market that has dominated the tech industry for the past year.

Elon Musk Launches xAI, His New Artificial-Intelligence Company

Elon Musk has launched his new artificial-intelligence business, xAI, as the tech industry races to develop new AI initiatives.

The AI company said it has added people with industry experience at Google, Microsoft, OpenAI and Tesla.

MaRS, UK innovation agency team up to host eight UK startups for new AI incubator (BETAKIT)

Toronto tech hub MaRS has teamed up with the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to launch an AI-focused incubator for UK startups.

The five-month AI incubator, which will be based in MaRS’s Toronto innovation hub, will include workshops, advisory support and networking opportunities to help the participants sharpen their value proposition and pitches.

Stability AI Co-Founder Says He Was Duped Into Selling Stake for $100 (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Stability AI co-founder Cyrus Hodes said he sold his 15 percent stake in Stability AI to another co-founder, Emad Mostaque, alleging that Mostaque had led him to believe the company was “essentially worthless.”

Just months later, in August 2022, the company raised $101 million in VC funding after unveiling its image creation tool, Stable Diffusion. Stability AI says the suit is "without merit."

Radical’s Jordan Jacobs on investing in AI before its breakout moment—and after (THE LOGIC)

In a recent interview with The Logic, Radical Ventures managing partner Jordan Jacobs discussed how generative systems can solve problems beyond making memes; whether the traditional venture models still work in the world of AI mega-rounds; and why he welcomes the conversation on regulation.

SenseNet Inc. raises $1.3 million CAD for its wildfire-detecting technology (BETAKIT)

As the first successful startup graduate of TiE Vancouver’s Incubation Lab, SenseNet announced that it has raised $1.3 million CAD ($1 million USD) from TiE’s angel network of investors.

SenseNet merges information from a number of sources such as sensors, cameras, satellites, and topography data to provide insights and early wildfire detection, monitoring, management, and decision-making.

Sarah Silverman is suing OpenAI and Meta for copyright infringement (THE VERGE)

Comedian and author Sarah Silverman, as well as authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey — are suing OpenAI and Meta each in a US District Court over dual claims of copyright infringement.

The suits alleges, among other things, that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA were trained on illegally-acquired datasets containing their works, which they say were acquired from “shadow library” websites.

Tapping into Vaughan's emerging world-class healthcare hub with Mayor Del Duca (BETAKIT)

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital sits on more than 80 acres of undeveloped land.

Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca—along with Council colleagues, Mackenzie Health, York University, and ventureLAB—has a plan to turn that land into a world-leading medical innovation hub.

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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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