A|I: The AI Times – OpenAI says Elon Musk agreed to plans he is now suing them for

Elon Musk
Plus: Feds intend to move on AI legislation without industry consultation.

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OpenAI releases Elon Musk emails to show he backed for-profit plans

Musk, who was part of OpenAI’s founding team, claimed in the suit he filed last week that it had breached an agreement to make breakthroughs in AI “freely available to the public” by forming a multibillion-dollar alliance with Microsoft, which has committed $13bn to the company.

In a blog post published late on Tuesday, founding members of OpenAI including Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever contested that allegation, claiming instead that Musk had spearheaded early efforts to raise more money from investors.

“In late 2017, we and Elon decided the next step for the mission was to create a for-profit entity. Elon wanted majority equity, initial board control, and to be CEO. In the middle of these discussions, he withheld funding,” according to the blog post.

(Financial Times)

Tenstorrent founder reveals new AI chip startup Taalas with $50 million in funding

Toronto-based artificial intelligence chip development startup Taalas has launched out of stealth with $50 million in funding.

The startup claims one of its chips is capable of holding an entire large AI model without requiring external memory, adding that by using hard-wired computation, it can allow a single chip to outperform a small GPU data centre, which could dramatically decrease the cost of AI hardware development.


AI Has an Uber Problem

Uber and Lyft, backed by billions of dollars of venture capital, drove out the competition rather than defeating it, subsidizing customer acquisition with an unsustainable business model—and in the case of Uber, continuing to attract new capital with promises of speculative future cost savings via self-driving cars.

In the case of artificial intelligence, training large models is indeed expensive, requiring large capital investments. The investors who pile billions of dollars into a huge bet are expecting not just to be paid back, but paid back a hundredfold. The capital-fueled race to build the largest models has already led to bad behavior.

(The Information)

Miovision nabs Traffic Technology Services in second acquisition this year

Kitchener-Waterloo-based traffic management software startup Miovision has acquired Beaverton, Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services (TTS) for an undisclosed amount.

Miovision said TTS’ executives and team members will become Miovision employees responsible for continuing to support and develop TTS’s “vehicle-to-everything” (V2X) solutions.

The deal marks Miovision’s second acquisition this year after it acquired one of its customers, traffic data collection company CJ Hensch & Associates, in January.


MPs to move on AI bill without testimony from Canadian companies, business group says

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says it is seriously concerned Canadian businesses weren’t able to testify on proposed federal artificial intelligence legislation.

In November, the innovation minister outlined numerous amendments the government plans to make to the AI portion of the bill, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act.

“Without a plethora of witnesses testifying on the Minister’s substantial revisions to the bill, we believe that AIDA stands to pass without proper consultation, informed discussion, or fair expectations for feedback,” the group said in a brief published on the committee site Wednesday.

(The Globe and Mail)

McMaster University partners with Celesta Capital to support Canadian deep tech startups

McMaster University and Silicon Valley venture capital firm Celesta Capital have launched a new partnership intended to support Canada’s deep tech ecosystem.

Deep tech startups build solutions across a wide range of industries, including hardware for medtech, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors. Celesta said that McMaster can tap into its deep tech expertise as a venture capital investor and business builder to help more Canadian companies commercialize.


Anthropic releases more powerful Claude 3 AI as tech race continues

Anthropic, a startup backed by Google and Amazon, on Monday revealed a suite of artificial intelligence models known as Claude 3, the latest salvo in Silicon Valley’s near incessant contest to market still-more powerful technology.

According to the startup, the most capable in the family, Claude 3 Opus, outperforms rival models GPT-4 from OpenAI and Gemini 1.0 Ultra from Google on various benchmark exams.


Lack of inclusion, unclear parental leave still hamper retention of women in Canadian VC

According to Roxanne Leduc, a Canadian Women in VC board member, LPs and the VCs they back have focused less of their efforts on inclusion—and this is likely why some Canadian funds are struggling to retain the women and visible minorities they hire.

“When markets are tough, unfortunately, if it’s not mandatory, it will not be a priority for any fund. I think it’s more important than ever in this economic downturn to reemphasize the importance of inclusion and equity, and not just diversity.”


OpenAI rival Cohere says some AI startups build Bugatti sports cars, ‘We make F-150s’

Cohere President Martin Kon says a lot of the hot artificial intelligence startups on the market today are building the equivalent of fancy sports cars. His product, he says, is more like a heavy-duty truck.

“If you’re looking for vehicles for your field technical service department, and I take you for a test drive in a Bugatti, you’re going to be impressed by how fast and how well it performs,” Kon told CNBC in an interview. However, he said, the price coupled with the space limitations and lack of a trunk will be a problem.


Passwords are showing their age. Here’s the tech set to replace them

Despite leaning on passwords, small businesses aren’t confident about their cybersecurity.

“With Canadians increasingly targets of fraud, cyber preparedness can’t be an afterthought. It needs to be a priority for both consumers and businesses,” Aviva Klein, Vice President of Digital Payments & Cybersecurity Solutions at Mastercard noted.

Klein recently shared with BetaKit two key technologies aiding in the fight against these challenges, and how Mastercard is using them to improve the cybersecurity posture of both consumers and businesses.


Key OpenAI Executive Played a Pivotal Role in Sam Altman’s Ouster

More than three months after OpenAI’s board of directors briefly ousted Sam Altman, the chief executive of the high-profile artificial intelligence company, questions remain about exactly what led the board to make such a dramatic move.

But as anticipation for the report grows, previously unreported details are emerging about the role that Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, played in the ouster of Mr. Altman.

In other news from The Information: Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan, a longtime venture capitalist, early this year talked with directors of OpenAI about joining the board.

(The New York Times)

Canadian businesses are optimistic about growth in 2024. Here’s why

Higher interest rates, rampant inflation, looming recession fears, and geopolitical turmoil are all contributing to a seemingly bleak outlook for the year ahead.

However, Zoho Canada has revealed a wave of optimism among Canadian SMBs. Zoho surveyed thousands of small business owners in Canada across a variety of industries over the last year, and nearly 75 percent expect to grow by one to 20 percent in the next year.


Feature image courtesy Flickr.

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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