A|I: The AI Times – OpenAI has a new team to fight ‘superintelligent’ AI

Geoffrey Hinton. AI expert, on stage speaking at Collision conference
Geoffrey Hinton, the Canadian-British cognitive and computer scientist known as the godfather of AI
Plus: Experts and VCs disagree on the actual perils of AI.

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Tiptap and Omnirobotic pursue restructuring after startups fail to raise additional funding (BETAKIT)

Burlington, Ont.-based Tiptap and Laval, Qué.'s Omnirobotic are restructuring after both startups were unable to secure the financing necessary to support their existing operations and obligations.

The two companies are the latest in a growing list of Canadian tech startups to restructure after facing difficulty securing venture capital (VC) during the downturn as rising interest rates and other factors have cooled investor interest in tech firms.

OpenAI is forming a new team to bring ‘superintelligent’ AI under control (TECHCRUNCH)

OpenAI is forming a new team led by Ilya Sutskever, its chief scientist and one of the company’s co-founders, to develop ways to steer and control “superintelligent” AI systems.

“Currently, we don’t have a solution for steering or controlling a potentially superintelligent AI, and preventing it from going rogue,” they write. “Our current techniques for aligning AI, such as reinforcement learning from human feedback, rely on humans’ ability to supervise AI. But humans won’t be able to reliably supervise AI systems much smarter than us.”

AI risks: overblown, existential threat, or something else? VCs and tech experts disagree (BETAKIT)

Conversations about the promises and perils of AI took centre stage in Toronto at the tech conference Collision. Leading venture capitalists and top AI experts, from Cohere's Aidan Gomez to "AI godfather" Geoffrey Hinton, grappled with AI’s explosive rise in recent months.

In the Age of A.I., Tech’s Little Guys Need Big Friends

In 2019, Aidan Gomez and Nick Frosst left Google to create an A.I. start-up in Toronto called Cohere that could compete with their former employer. Several months later, they went back to Google and asked if it would sell them the enormous computing power they would need to build their own A.I. technology.

GeologicAI closes $20-million USD Series A to develop AI-powered robot geologists (BETAKIT)

Calgary-based mining tech startup GeologicAI has secured $20 million USD in Series A funding from Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) to help meet the rising demand for critical minerals.

Using proprietary core sample scanning hardware, advanced machine vision, and artificial intelligence, GeologicAI aims to help mining and exploration firms gather data beneath the ground more efficiently than traditional core logging methods.

He Spent $140 Billion on AI With Little to Show. Now He Is Trying Again. (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

“We are not just recklessly making investments,” global tech investor Masayoshi Son told SoftBank investors in 2018. “We are focusing on one theme, which is AI.”

More than $140 billion spent on 400-plus startups later, an artificial-intelligence mania is sweeping the market—and SoftBank is playing catch-up.

Shakudo closes $9.5-million CAD Series A to help companies adopt generative AI (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Shakudo has secured $9.5 million CAD ($7.2 million USD) in Series A funding to help companies launch artificial intelligence (AI) products more quickly and cost-effectively.

“We don’t build foundational models like many of the other new entrants into the market,” CEO Yevgeniy Vahlis said. “What we do is we make it easy for companies to start using these technologies.”

SoftBank backs Japanese robotics startup Telexistence in $170M funding round (TECHCRUNCH)

SoftBank is backing Japanese robotics startup Telexistence, making good on the tech giant’s recent pledge to go back on the investment offensive in light of the current AI hype.

Founded in 2017, Telexistence develops AI-powered robotic arms for the retail and logistics industry. Last year, the company said it would deploy its robots in 300 FamilyMart convenience stores across Japan.

Thoughtworks’ Rebecca Parsons on using threat models to prevent AI peril (BETAKIT)

BetaKit sat down with Thoughtworks’ CTO-Emerita Rebecca Parsons to cut through the noise of Collision's many AI coversations. Parsons spoke to the most significant changes she’s seen in AI development over the decades, before evaluating AI doomsayers and approaches to regulation of the technology.

“I don’t think the world will be destroyed by AI but I’m more worried about it than I was before.”

Talking about a ‘schism’ is ahistorical (MEDIUM)

Emily M. Bender breaks down the perception of unity in conversations which warn of the dangers of AI.

Bender says there are two distinct threads that were never together and can never be mended, and only one is rooted in scholarship while the other willfully ignores inevitable social impacts.

Vector Institute, Kids Help Phone team up to expand use of AI in mental health services (BETAKIT)

Canadian mental health services provider Kids Help Phone (KHP) is partnering with Toronto-based Vector Institute to expand its use of artificial intelligence in its service delivery.

Using natural language processing, KHP will continue to adapt its aggregated youth mental health dataset to the way young people speak, allowing frontline staff to offer more precise services to young people.

Mastercard’s new AI tool helps nine British banks tackle scams

Mastercard Inc. is selling a new artificial intelligence-powered tool that helps banks more effectively spot if their customers are trying to send money to fraudsters.

Trained on years of transaction data, the tool helps to predict whether someone is trying to transfer funds to an account affiliated with “authorized push payment scams.”

Here's a list of all the Startupfest afterparties (BETAKIT)

The team that pulled together a community-submitted list of all the events surrounding Collision conference in Toronto has done the same for Startupfest in Montréal, which takes place from July 12 to 14.

Some of the events on the list are completely free, or can be attended without a Startupfest pass. Others require tickets to be purchased or are invite-only.

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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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