A|I: The AI Times – Inside Meta and Google’s plans to attack OpenAI

Horizn co-founder and CEO Janice Diner.
Plus: Voiceflow raises $15M, Horizn acquired by Inbenta.

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Horizn acquired by US conversational AI firm Inbenta (BETAKIT)

Texas-based Inbenta has announced its acquisition of Toronto software firm Horizn, which provides easy-to-embed interactive product demos.

The acquisition will see Horizn's tech integrated into Inbenta's artificial intelligence (AI) customer experience platform, while Horizn co-founder and CEO Janice Diner will become Inbenta's head of marketing.

Meta’s Next AI Attack on OpenAI: Free Code-Generating Software

Meta Platforms is preparing to launch software to help developers automatically generate programming code, a challenge to proprietary software from OpenAI, Google and others, according to two people with direct knowledge of the product. Meta’s code-generating artificial intelligence model, dubbed Code Llama, will be open-source and could launch as soon as next week, one of these people said.

Voiceflow raises $15 million USD to help companies collaborate on AI customer service (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Voiceflow has raised $15 million USD ($20.1 million CAD) at a $105 million USD valuation.

Using Voiceflow, customers can save considerable time designing, testing, and deploying AI agents. As a result, teams build better conversational agents for customer support automation at twice the speed of traditional platforms, the company claims.

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Quebec enters the era of quantum computing (CBC)

In a grey industrial building in Dorval, a suburb on the island of Montreal, sitting among a sea of other grey industrial buildings, a team of physicists and engineers is tinkering with a machine that is expected to change the field of computing.

The Quebec government has invested nearly $200 million in this technology over a seven-year period in the hope that the province will become a global destination for quantum computing. MonarQ and IBM Quantum One, two new quantum computers, represent some of the first steps in that direction.

Dcbel closes $50-million USD Series B led by climate-focused Idealist Capital (BETAKIT)

Montréal-based cleantech startup Dcbel has closed over $50 million USD in Series B funding to hasten the delivery of its r16 Home Energy Station.

Using AI, Dcbel claims its r16 offering learns from customers’ energy consumption habits, predicts needs, and helps users save money when energy prices peak and earn money, while also contributing toward the stability of the overall power grid.

The scientist behind IBM Watson has raised $60 million for his AI startup in New York (CNBC)

David Ferrucci, a prominent artificial intelligence researcher who led the team that created IBM Watson, has raised nearly $60 million for his AI startup called Elemental Cognition.

Elemental says on its website that the company seeks to develop AI that “thinks before it talks.” It offers two enterprise products, Cogent and Cora, which are essentially chatbots designed for different scenarios.

Top Google AI experts pick Japan to set up on their own

A former Google researcher who co-authored a paper that kick-started the generative AI revolution has joined forces with an ex-colleague to found a Tokyo-based artificial intelligence start-up.

Welshman Llion Jones, who left the US tech giant this month, has since set up Sakana AI alongside David Ha, the former head of Google’s AI research arm in Japan.

Canadian startups NL Patent, BorderlessHR, Monark crack Google’s Women Founders accelerator (BETAKIT)

Three Canadian startups are joining Google’s latest cohort for its women founders accelerator.

NLPatent, BorderlessHR, and Monark–which are respectively based in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary–are among the 11 North American startups selected to take part in this year’s edition of Google for Startups’ Women Founders program.

How Google is Planning to Beat OpenAI (THE INFORMATION)

In April, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai took an unusual step: merging two large artificial intelligence teams—with distinct cultures and code—to catch up to and surpass OpenAI and other rivals.

Now the test of that effort is coming, with hundreds of people scrambling to release a group of large machine-learning models—one of the highest-stakes products the company has ever built—this fall.

Founders of VendorPM, Shakudo, Moment Energy among C100’s 2023 fellows (BETAKIT)

Non-profit Canadian tech member association The C100 has unveiled the participants in this year’s installation of its fellowship program, including founders of notable early Canadian startups such as VendorPM, Shakudo, and Moment Energy.

These Women Tried to Warn Us About AI (ROLLING STONE)

Timinit Gebru didn't set out to work in AI. At Stanford, she studied electrical engineering — getting both a bachelor’s and a master’s in the field. Then she became interested in image analysis, getting her Ph.D. in computer vision.

When she moved over to AI, though, it was immediately clear that there was something very wrong.

Niricson closes $10-million Series A to monitor critical infrastructure using tech (BETAKIT)

Victoria-based software startup Niricson has secured over $10 million CAD in Series A financing to assess the condition of aging infrastructure with predictive analytics.

Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), Niricson's software aims to paint a more objective and cost-effective picture for infrastructure asset managers and civil engineers, helping them assess damage, plan maintenance, and ensure safety.

A race for autopilot dominance is giving China the edge in autonomous driving (MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW)

In just the past six months, nearly a dozen Chinese car companies have announced ambitious plans to roll out their Navigation on Autopilot (NOA) products to multiple cities across the country.

Whether they are electric vehicle makers or self-driving tech startups, they all seem fixated on one goal in particular: launching their own autonomous navigation services in more and more Chinese cities as quickly as possible.

A.I. Can’t Build a High-Rise, but It Can Speed Up the Job

Developers are embracing artificial intelligence tools like drones, cameras, apps and robots, which can reduce the timelines and waste that have made construction increasingly costly.

But the industry’s embrace of A.I. technology faces challenges, including concerns over accuracy and hallucinations, in which a system provides an answer that is incorrect or nonsensical.

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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