A|I: The AI Times – Why Nvidia’s CEO handpicked this U of T professor

Plus: A mysterious “gpt-2” chatbot came online and vanished just as quickly.

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Meet Nvidia’s Canadian secret weapon

[Sanja Fidler is] a brilliant University of Toronto professor and an international star in the computer-vision and machine-learning world. Her team’s work in Toronto has given creative types the superpowers to instantly generate entire 2D and 3D scenes — a mountain lake shrouded in fog, a woman beneath a vast Prairie sky or any other visual that comes to mind — simply by prompting the AI with text.

Jensen Huang, co-founder and chief executive of Nvidia — the juggernaut whose technology is powering AI advances that can be found, for example, at the machine-learning heart of generative AI wonders such as OpenAI OpCo LLC’s ChatGPT — handpicked Fidler in 2018 to head up its Toronto lab. Just imagine being handpicked by Santa Claus to guide his sleigh at night, and you get a sense of the magnitude of the assignment.

(Financial Post)

Feds, province contribute nearly $85 million to IBM’s Québec semiconductor expansion plans

The Government of Canada and the Government of Québec are contributing nearly $85 million CAD to IBM as part of a $187.1-million CAD investment into developing IBM’s semiconductor assembly plant in Bromont, Québec.

The funding is part of IBM’s plan to spend $1-billion CAD on its Bromont facility over the next five years, IBM told BetaKit in an email statement.

IBM said the initial funding will specifically help conduct R&D for scalable manufacturing and other advanced assembly processes to support the packaging of different chip technologies.


Powerful New Chatbot Disappears as Mysteriously as It Arrived

A mysterious new AI chatbot called “gpt2-chatbot” turned heads this week after it became available on a major large language model benchmarking site, LMSYS Org. No one knows where it came from, but many consider it to have roughly the same capabilities as OpenAI’s GPT-4. This put gpt2-chatbot in a rare class of AI models that only a handful of developers worldwide have been able to achieve.

Just as gpt2-chatbot was peaking in hype, the chatbot disappeared on Tuesday afternoon. A notice on LMSYS site’s homepage reads “gpt2-chatbot is currently unavailable.”

Online AI communities have gone wild about the anonymous gpt2-chatbot. There’s no evidence for these claims, but tweets from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other executives have just added fuel to the fire.


Biointelligence raises $5 million for biomanufacturing efficiency platform

Sherbrooke, Qué.-based Biointelligence Technologies has raised $5 million CAD in seed funding for its platform aimed at making industrial fermentation bioprocesses less wasteful.

The company’s flagship BAS offering then uses machine learning to identify contaminants, reduce batch-to-batch variability, and reduce the production cycle, which is claimed to result in a five to ten percent increase in batch yields.


Microsoft will invest US$1.7B in AI and cloud infrastructure in Indonesia

Microsoft will invest US$1.7 billion over the next four years in new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Indonesia — the single largest investment in Microsoft’s 29-year history in the country — Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday. Microsoft runs one of the world’s largest cloud computing operations and has taken a significant step into artificial intelligence by incorporating an AI chatbot into its search engine, Bing. Its earnings report Thursday said profit rose 20% for the January-March quarter as it tries to position itself as a leader in applying artificial intelligence technology to make workplaces more productive.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Shopify’s Tobi Lütke headlines special BetaKit Town Hall on May 7

Canada currently faces many headwinds. The federal government’s response to these issues and our looming productivity crisis have left many in Canadian tech demanding better.

BetaKit has organized a special Town Hall bringing together Canadian founders and leaders from across the technology ecosystem for a pulse check on the state of innovation, productivity, optimism, and more.

The event will feature a discussion and AMA with Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and conversations with Cohere co-founder Ivan Zhang, MedEssist co-founder Joella Almeida, and Tulip Retail founder Ali Asaria. We hope to see you there!


Bill Gates never left

Publicly, Gates has been almost entirely out of the picture at Microsoft since 2021, following allegations that he had behaved inappropriately toward female employees. In fact, Business Insider has learned, Gates has been quietly orchestrating much of Microsoft’s AI revolution from behind the scenes. Current and former executives say Gates remains intimately involved in the company’s operations — advising on strategy, reviewing products, recruiting high-level executives, and nurturing Microsoft’s crucial relationship with Sam Altman, the cofounder and CEO of OpenAI.

(Business Insider)

Beyoncé’s former digital director thinks your culture is meaningless

Do ping pong tables, office dogs, and a casual dress code add up to a genuine “culture”?

Dr. Marcus Collins says no. The man who will deliver the keynote address at Inventures 2024 in Calgary this May lives at the intersection of marketing and culture. His career has seen him direct digital strategy for Beyoncé and award-winning campaigns for industry giants like Apple and Nike. Collins believes tech companies regularly tout “culture,” yet often fail to practice what they preach.


Meet the Woman Who Showed President Biden ChatGPT—and Helped Set the Course for AI

One day March 2023, Arati Prabhakar brought a laptop into the Oval Office and showed the future to Joe Biden. Six months later, the president issued a sweeping executive order that set a regulatory course for AI.


Five things you’ll want to do at the world’s most interesting crypto conference

Described as The Super Bowl of blockchain meets the Cannes Film Festival of Web3, Consensus 2024 is a three-day event in Austin, Texas from May 29-31 organized by CoinDesk.

The event is known for bringing together the most influential members of the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Web3 communities, from Wall Street titans and AI innovators to ecosystem builders, protocols, and startups.


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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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