A|I: The AI Times – Jim Balsillie says “AIDA needs to be scrapped completely” as Biden lays out new executive order

Plus: Thomson Reuters commits $100M a year to GenAI, Google $2B to Anthropic.

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Promise Robotics nets $20.8-million CAD Series A to speed up home building with robots (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based proptech startup Promise Robotics has closed $20.8 million CAD ($15 million USD) in Series A financing as it looks to commercialize its robotic factory platform.

Founded in 2021 by CEO Ramtin Attar, who formerly led R&D at proptech firm Autodesk, and chief innovation officer Reza Nasseri, Promise Robotics has developed a software platform that turns off-the-shelf industrial robots into ready-to-deploy production systems for the home building industry.

Google Commits $2 Billion in Funding to AI Startup Anthropic

Google agreed to invest up to $2 billion in Anthropic, building on its earlier investment in the artificial-intelligence company and adding fuel to the race between startups trying to achieve the next big breakthrough in the emerging technology.

Google invested $500 million upfront into the OpenAI rival and agreed to add $1.5 billion more over time, people familiar with the matter said.

Kento Health raises $4.1 million CAD to bring AI to cardiovascular care (BETAKIT)

Montréal-based healthtech startup Kento Health has closed a $4.1-million CAD ($3-million USD) pre-seed financing round.

Through personalized content delivery, adaptive learning, and natural language processing, Kento claims that its AI-powered platform ensures that patients receive tailored education and exercise recommendations, keeping them engaged.

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Thomson Reuters planning to invest more than US$100 million a year in generative AI (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Thomson Reuters Corp. announced plans to invest more than $100 million USD a year in generative artificial intelligence.

It said it is looking to build AI capabilities, make acquisitions, find partners and train its staff to use AI across its business.

BDC Capital recommits to leading seed deals in startups across Canada with new $50-million fund (BETAKIT)

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has launched a new $50-million CAD Seed Venture Fund, committing $10 million annually over the next five years to pre-seed and seed-stage software startups across Canada through BDC Capital.

The software-focused Seed Venture Fund will be sector-agnostic, with an eye towards enterprise software-as-a-service, FinTech, healthtech, artificial intelligence (AI), and proptech startups.

The Seed Venture Fund marks BDC’s first foray back into general seed-stage investing since its Strategic Initiatives Program (SIP) ceased making investments in new companies around 2017.

President Biden’s new plan to regulate AI (VOX)

President Joe Biden has signed a long-promised Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.

The lengthy order is an ambitious attempt to accommodate the hopes and fears of everyone from tech CEOs to civil rights advocates, while spelling out how Biden’s vision for AI works with his vision for everything else.

Other draft rules issued out of the White House recently would require federal agencies to evaluate and constantly monitor algorithms used in health care, law enforcement, and housing for potential discrimination or other harmful effects on human rights. Some AI companies recently signed a non-binding agreement at a UK summit agreeing to similar conditions.

Champagne explores Canadian AI safety institute, touts country’s role on ‘transformative technology’ (THE LOGIC)

In an interview with The Logic, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Ottawa is considering establishing a safety institute to assess the risks of artificial intelligence systems, an idea Canadian deep-learning pioneer Yoshua Bengio says will improve policymakers’ understanding of the technology’s development and risks. The minister did not rule out a potential licensing system.

Champagne's statement comes in parallel with the UK AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, where countries including the U.S., China, and Canada called for greater collaboration to the risks of the technology and safety measures to address them.

Bengio will lead an international effort to assess the power and perils of frontier AI systems, launched Thursday at the AI Safety Summit.

Bridge the gap: SMB cybersecurity challenges threaten customer trust and business viability (BETAKIT)

Cybercrime is up over 600 percent since the start of the pandemic, but according to new Mastercard Canada research, only 16 percent of Canadian SMB owners surveyed say they know what to do in the event of an attack.

Speaking with BetaKit, Aviva Klein, the Vice President of Digital Payments and Cybersecurity Solutions for Mastercard in Canada, explained the disconnect between the priorities of customers and the actions of SMBs, and how conversations about cybersecurity need to be reframed.

Jim Balsillie says Ottawa should scrap proposed law to regulate artificial intelligence and start over (THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Former BlackBerry Co-CEO Jim Balsillie told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that the federal government should abandon its proposed law to regulate artificial intelligence and start again.

“AIDA needs to be scrapped completely,” Balsillie said in his prepared remarks. He elaborated that the act falls short because it doesn’t create an independent regulator for AI systems and excludes the right for individuals to contest decisions made by algorithms in areas such as insurance, school admissions and credit scoring.

BetaKit Live: Getting Hybrid Work Right (BETAKIT)

The future has arrived early for Canadian businesses, as hybrid work shifted from a COVID-19 emergency response to a permanent reality: sixty-five percent of Canadian knowledge workers now work in a remote or hybrid format.

In partnership with Intel Canada, BetaKit is happy to present a live-streamed panel conversation on the new best practices to ensure that businesses in 2023 are getting hybrid work right for the long term.

Cohere launches Embed V3 for enterprise LLM applications (VENTUREBEAT)

Toronto-based AI startup Cohere has launched Embed V3, the latest iteration of its embedding model, designed for semantic search and applications leveraging large language models (LLMs).

Embed V3 competes with OpenAI’s Ada and various open-source options, promising superior performance and enhanced data compression. This advancement aims to reduce the operational costs of enterprise LLM applications.

Why Canadian SMBs are choosing managed service partners to protect against cyber threats (BETAKIT)

Let’s face it, the pace of business transformation has hit warp speed, especially for SMBs.

Cisco’s Cybersecurity Readiness Index found that Canada falls under the global average in cybersecurity readiness. Only nine percent of Canadian organizations have a “mature” level of preparedness to handle the security risks of our hybrid world, compared to fifteen percent globally.

So how do you pick the right cybersecurity partner?

UK invests $273 million in AI supercomputer as it seeks to compete with U.S., China (CNBC)

The U.K. government said Wednesday that it will invest £225 million, or $273 million, into an AI supercomputer, highlighting the country’s ambition to lead in the technology as it races to catch up to the U.S. and China.

The government said Isambard-AI will be the most advanced computer in Britain and once complete, it will be “10 times faster than the U.K.’s current quickest machine.”

Mistral, a Wannabe OpenAI of Europe, Seeks $300 Million

Mistral, an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Meta Platforms and Alphabet researchers, plans to raise an additional $300 million from investors just four months after raising $113 million in a seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

The round is expected to value the Paris-based startup, which is developing an open-source large language model and has framed itself as the “OpenAI of Europe,” at over $1 billion before the investment.

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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