A|I: The AI Times – Two astronauts join the mission to build human-like robots

Plus: This is the reason Demis Hassabis started DeepMind.

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Sanctuary AI secures $75.5 million in mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence robots (BETAKIT)

Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, and Chris Hadfield, former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, have joined Sanctuary’s advisory board.


Innovative AI Ventures at U of T:

The University of Toronto’s pioneering research in AI over the past 40 years has led to game-changing advances in science, technology, and medicine.

Today, our entrepreneur community is harnessing the power of AI and taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges.

• Deep Genomics is using AI to find life-saving drugs for genetic diseases faster.
• Waabi is developing sophisticated AI systems for safe and scalable autonomous driving.
• Xanadu is building the first large-scale and room-temperature quantum computer using predominantly off-the-shelf and affordable products.

Learn more about these and other innovative U of T startups.

Chinese autonomous truck startup secures $188 million in funding from Sequoia China and Legend Capital (FORBES)

Autonomous driving truck startup Inceptio Technology has raised a $188 million funding round led by Sequoia Capital China and Legend Capital, the investment arm of Lenovo’s parent company.

Canadian venture capital investment hits all-time high of $14.2 billion in 2021 (BETAKIT)

Canadian venture capital (VC) investment hit an astounding mark this past year, increasing 215 percent from 2020. VC investment in 2021 hit $14.2 billion, following a trend of record years for venture investment that blew all past years out of the water.

Volocopter raises $170M, now valued at $1.87B, to fuel first commercial launches of flying taxi fleet in 2024 (TECHCRUNCH)

A spokesperson said the commercial launch will depend on the type of certification it gets and when.

Alibaba-backed beauty tech firm Perfect Corporation to merge with US blank-cheque company in deal worth US$1 billion (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

As part of the deal, Perfect will receive US$50 million from strategic investors such as Chanel, Shiseido and US camera company Snap, among others.

Five tips for startups exploring buy now, pay later (BETAKIT)

PwC’s Andrew Popliger examines Buy Now, Pay Later’s digital adoption and shares tips for startups to ensure their BNPL experience is future-proof.

Insider raises $121M to help companies analyze marketing data (VENTUREBEAT)

QIA led the round with participation from Sequoia, Riverwood Capital, 212, Wamda Capital, Esas Private Equity, and Endeavor Catalyst. The funding will be put toward product development and hiring, CEO Hande Cilingir said.

Ending the chatbot’s ‘spiral of misery’ (NEW YORK TIMES)

Customer service chatbots may finally become more intelligent, more conversational and more helpful.

We need to keep talking about founder mental health (BETAKIT)

Eigenspace co-founder Jesse Rodgers emphasizes the need for founders to talk about mental health, and shares tips on where to get support.

Immigration department’s internal ‘playbook’ reveals vision for use of AI to manage growing caseload (THE LOGIC)

As the federal immigration department relies more on technology to help address a growing backlog of applications, it has compiled an internal “playbook” with guidelines for what it’s looking to automate, and how it plans to prevent algorithmic discrimination.

Pulse Industrial secures $3.5 million from SDTC to improve safety in industrial plants (BETAKIT)

Founded in 2018, Kitchener-Waterloo based Pulse uses artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology designed to improve safety and reduce fuel consumption in industrial plants.

Working for an algorithm (THE MARKUP)

The company has long used ride time and mileage to decide driver pay but is now turning to an opaque calculation called “Upfront Fares”.

This is the reason Demis Hassabis started DeepMind (MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW)

A year after it took biologists by surprise, AlphaFold has changed how researchers work and set DeepMind on a new course.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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