A|I: The AI Times – Sam Altman is more powerful than ever

Plus: Can Alberta become the data centre capital of Canada?

The AI Times is a weekly newsletter covering the biggest AI, machine learning, big data, and automation news from around the globe.

If you want to read A|I before anyone else, make sure to subscribe using this form.

OpenAI CEO Cements Control as He Secures Apple Deal

When OpenAI’s board of directors ousted Sam Altman as CEO last year, it looked like a shocking derailment of a fast-rising career. Even after Altman returned to the role just days later, it seemed like he would be kept on a shorter leash. Instead, he has become more powerful than ever. Now, he has fulfilled a longtime goal by striking a deal with Apple to use OpenAI’s conversational artificial intelligence in its products, which could be worth billions of dollars to the startup if it goes well.

In addition, the Apple deal could complicate Altman’s relationship with OpenAI’s most important business partner, Microsoft.

(The Information)

CIFAR, CABHI among recipients of more than $850 million in federal science and research funding

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) is among 24 Canadian science and research institutions that have received a collective $858.7 million in funding over the next five years from the federal government’s new Strategic Science Fund.

CIFAR, which has a 128-member AI Chair program and a key component of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, received $34.5 million from the SSF. The chairs appointed by CIFAR are meant to support Canadian understanding and research in the strategy’s priority areas, which include health, energy, the environment, fundamental science, and the responsible use of AI.


xAI Makes It Official — Raises $6B At $24B Valuation

Elon Musk’s generative AI startup, xAI, officially announced its long-awaited fundraise — making it the second-most-valuable generative AI company in the world behind only competitor OpenAI.

The new funding values the company at $24 billion post money, well behind OpenAI’s $86 billion valuation but well ahead of the $18 billion generative AI startup Anthropic is now valued at after its last raise.


Artemis closes $2 million CAD to improve data quality for analytics and AI

Vancouver-based technology startup Artemis has secured $2 million CAD ($1.5 million USD) in pre-seed funding to automate data preparation with artificial intelligence agents.

Founded in 2022 by CEO Josh Gray and CTO William Shi, Artemis aims to automate data cleaning for analytics and AI. The Indigenous-led startup is developing software that enables data teams to deploy AI agents that automate data cleanup, helping data engineers gather insights and build AI products more quickly.


Varcoe: Massive AI data centres worth billions are coming — and Alberta wants to lead Canada

Developers are looking to build new data centres in Alberta, while the UCP government has assembled a cabinet working group to ensure the province becomes Canada’s top landing spot for such high-tech and big-ticket facilities.

As the AI revolution spurs the need for more electricity to power large data centres, companies considering such facilities are getting into the development queue before the Alberta Electric System Operator — including three large AI data centre hubs that would each require up to 400 megawatts.

“I see a huge opportunity for Alberta to be the data centre capital of Canada, if not North America,” Technology Minister Nate Glubish said in an interview. “There are dozens of these firms that are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in new data centre infrastructure.”

(Calgary Herald)

Consensus crypto conference coming to Toronto in 2025

A long-running conference dedicated to digital assets, blockchain, Web3, and artificial intelligence has announced it’s coming to Toronto for the first time in 2025.

Consensus 2025 will take place from May 14 to May 16, 2025, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Consensus chair Michael Casey announced on the Consensus 2024 main stage in Austin, Texas on Thursday.

Consensus says it is the longest-running crypto and Web3 event globally, with more than 15,000 attendees, 750 journalists, and 550 speakers at this year’s conference.


Man or machine? Toronto company finds a way to determine how real audio clips are

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but at Klick Labs, it’s all about the voice.

The Toronto-based research arm of life sciences technology firm Klick Health has found a way to analyze voices in a manner that’s so granular, it can tell whether it’s a person or an artificial intelligence-powered machine.

The capability comes as the number of deepfakes – AI-produced video, audio clips or photos that appear real – has exploded with the recent release of several AI chatbots. Everyone from pop star Taylor Swift to U.S. President Joe Biden and the Pope have fallen victim to the phenomenon.

(The Globe and Mail)

Evolving police tech or ‘slippery slope’? Facial recognition partnership in Peel and York has critics concerned

Experts say a partnership between Peel and York police to use facial recognition to search mug shots for matches with crime scene photos contributes to over-policing minority groups, violates privacy and poses a risk of misidentification.

While not the first GTA police service to use facial recognition technology for investigations, this move by York and Peel police, launched Monday, is part of a growing effort by police services across North America to use AI and facial recognition technology to investigate and prevent crime.

(Toronto Star)

When the classroom works to scale

Last month, Amanda Fong found herself in Santiago, Chile, presenting a benchmarking analysis to the CEO and management team of a local agriculture-focused venture capital firm.

Originally from Ottawa and now settled in Toronto, Fong has a commerce degree and work experience as a Product Manager for the PC Health portfolio at Loblaw Companies Limited. But she found herself on a two-week study tour of Peru and Chile as part of an optional course in her MBA in Technology Leadership, offered by the Schulich School of Business at York University.

“The pace of change in the business world is unprecedented,” she explained. “To remain competitive and effective, I knew I needed to invest in myself, continually develop my skills, and challenge the status quo.”


The Great AI Challenge: We Test Five Top Bots on Useful, Everyday Skills

The Wall Street Journal put together a test of the five leading AI chatbots: ChatGPT, Claude, Copilot, Gemini, and Perplexity. Calling it “the chatbot Olympics,” The Wall Street Journal wasn’t aiming for a scientific assessment, rather looking to test how these bots responded to real-life questions and everyday tasks.

The five chatbots competed on questions surrounding health, finances, cooking, work writing, creative writing, summarization, current events, coding, and speed. The winner may surprise you.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Ecosystem Spotlight: Alberta tech is striking gold

Less than a decade ago, Alberta’s global reputation had little to do with its tech ecosystem. But according to Joe Timlin, Managing Director at CIBC Innovation Banking, the province is quickly emerging as a key destination for investment and impact.

“We’ve just seen the ecosystem mature to the point where a number of name brand venture capital and private equity firms have done their first investments in Alberta, and now I think they’re eager to do more after seeing the opportunity set there,” Timlin told BetaKit.


What’s good, readers?

It’s time to tell us what you think! We’re checking in with the BetaKit community as the Collision conference rolls into Toronto for its 5th year. Let us know if you’re going, which speakers you’d most like to see on stage and share your recommendations for tech sector visitors to Toronto during the conference.

We’ll use anonymized data to inform our upcoming coverage. Your insights are important to us, so complete our quick BetaKit survey here.

A|I: The AI Times is powered by AWS.

AWS Activate helps startups reduce costs and increase speed to market.

AWS helps startups bring their ideas to life through AWS Activate. As you build and scale your business, Activate credits grow with you to support your changing needs. If you’re an AWS Activate member, you may be eligible for up to $100,000 in credits to help offset your AWS bill.

Credit eligibility AWS credits packages for early-stage startups is based on stage and affiliation with Activate Providers, which are thousands of accelerators, angel investors, venture capital firms, and startup enabling organizations around the world. Select the package that’s right for your startup today.

Visit AWS Activate to get started.

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.

0 replies on “A|I: The AI Times – Sam Altman is more powerful than ever”