Online Harms Act puts tech companies on notice

Debates about regulating online content and the safety of children can get… heated, to say the least. So before the yelling starts, let’s take a look at what tech companies will actually be expected to do under the Online Harms Act.

Finding the right antidepressant with genetic testing

The problem: Prescribing antidepressants involves a bit of trial and error: Between 40% and 60% of patients don’t respond to the first antidepressant they’re prescribed. Studies have shown that genetics account for up to 42% of variations in how patients with similar symptoms respond differently to the same medication.

Catching up on Mobile World Congress

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has become a major event for tech companies to show off their new phones, wearables, and software features. Here’s what’s getting the most attention (and why).

Explain It Like I'm Five: AI tokens and context windows

What are AI tokens?

The smallest units of information that AI breaks words and sentences into to make them easier to process. How many tokens an AI can process at once is called a “context window,” and it can include multiple prompts and requests, letting a system consider several things you might have told it at once.

Reddit is (finally) ready to make its IPO

TL;DR: Reddit is coming to the stock market.

The AI boom is getting more specialized

You know what they say: bot of all trades, master of none.

VCs are worried about money, too

Tech companies that want to catch an investor’s eye need to think less about flashy moonshots and more about old-fashioned returns on investment.

Recruiting viruses to cut carbon emissions

The problem: Climate change is thawing out permafrost. When the preserved microbes within the permafrost wake up, they begin breaking down the dead plant matter around them, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.

The solution: Scientists at Ohio State University are researching if viruses could stop the vicious cycle.

Walmart has big plans for the small screen

Walmart's new acquisition isn’t about making money selling TVs — it’s about selling the ads people watch on them.

Explain It Like I'm Five: Data clean rooms

What is a data clean room?

A secure platform where companies can share and compare their customer data. 

Why would you need a special platform for that?

Most of what’s shared in a clean room is personally identifiable data — email addresses, purchase data, IP addresses — that a company has but isn’t allowed to share. A clean room ensures that sensitive data brought in doesn’t come out, which is generally considered to be safe under most privacy regulations.

OpenAI’s new video generator is scary good

OpenAI’s video generator brings two words to mind: “wow” and “uh-oh.”

Data centres have a big carbon footprint, and AI is making it bigger

The corporate sector’s mad dash for AI may be leaving sustainability goals behind.

Driving the news: Data centres are driving up electricity demand, which is expected to double by 2026. While some of this can be attributed to more internet use and electrification in countries like China, a big culprit is AI, which requires massive amounts of data processing.

What happened with ArriveCan?

How did ArriveCan, an app for screening travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic, become a spending scandal that has dogged the government for over a year?

Gemini is a sign of new times at Google

The Gemini AI model-slash-chatbot isn’t just Google’s effort to catch up with OpenAI — it's an experiment that could totally change the company’s future.

Explain It Like I'm Five: C2PA

C2PA is a group started by Adobe and Microsoft to find ways to certify online media’s provenance: where it comes from and how it was created. This information includes if an AI platform was used to create a piece of media, helping companies curb deepfakes and disinformation. The C2PA acronym also sometimes refers to the metadata standard the coalition created.

How Canada could improve its AI sovereignty

The government might need to step up its game if Canadian startups are going to keep up in the AI race.

What happened: Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne signed a letter of intent with Nvidia. Details have not been released, but Champagne said in an X post that the government and chip maker would “explore opportunities” to create AI computing power in Canada.

Does your company need a chief AI officer?

If you want your company’s AI adoption to go smoothly, maybe you should put it in a corner office.

Driving the news: Companies across sectors have been hiring chief AI officers (CAIOs), from Accenture and GE HealthCare to eBay and Ashley.

Reasons to add “proficient in AI” to your resume

They’re coming: job postings for entry-level roles requiring 10 years of AI experience.

Driving the news: Ever since the launch of ChatGPT in 2022 and the resulting frenzy over AI-powered technology, businesses including Equifax, Accenture, and Ashley have been scrambling to hire executives to lead their AI initiatives, per The New York Times

Explain It Like I'm Five: Quantum computers

Computers that use principles of quantum physics to run computations, which could make them really fast. Typical computers use bits, units of data that can either exist as a 0 or a 1. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or “qubits,” which can be a 0 and a 1 simultaneously. In quantum physics, this is called superposition.

Ottawa is spending millions less on startups than it promised

The federal government’s plan to be a first buyer for Canadian startups is falling short of its goals.

Software bugs are the latest bump in the road for EVs

Automakers navigating their electric transitions need a bit of tech support.

Software issues forced Volvo to delay deliveries of the EX30 electric SUV. Though the unspecified glitch has been resolved, new vehicles were held back by roughly two weeks. This was after production on Volvo’s high-end EX90 was pushed from late last year to mid-2024 to give it more time to ensure its complex software worked properly.

NASA builds a new tool to pop open a jar of space dirt

Lids get stuck. Sometimes it’s a pickle jar, and sometimes it’s a container full of dust from a 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid. That latter is what NASA faced last fall when it recovered the canister from a space rock named Bennu. NASA uses sterile environments so samples don’t get contaminated by Earth air, but none of the tools approved for the locked-down boxes could remove the final two of 35 fasteners.

So...why are they putting chips in people's brains?

If you don’t trust Elon Musk to stick stuff into your brain, the good news is he’s not your only option.

What happened: Musk’s Neuralink implanted its first chip into a human brain. The company has not made a formal announcement, but Musk posted on X that the recipient is “recovering well” with “promising neuron spike detection,” presumably referring to activity between the cells that send messages throughout the body.