Uber launches delivery robots in Japan

A new army of robots is coming… but don’t worry, they’re not trying to take over the world. They’re just here to deliver your McDonald’s. 

What happened: Starting next month, some Tokyo residents will have their Uber Eats orders delivered by an adorable autonomous robot. Japan is already known as the home to many restaurant robot servers, but it’s the first international market to adopt robot delivery on Uber. 

Cold snap lays B.C.’s wine crop to waste

If you stumble across a bottle of 2024 vintage B.C. wine when perusing the liquor store this year, we recommend you pick it up. It could be a collector’s item one day. 

Driving the news: There will be “an almost complete write-off” of B.C. wine this year after a cold snap that hit the province last month wiped out as much as 99% of its wine grape harvest, according to early industry estimates.

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.

Alberta tourism gets new immigration stream

As people keep flocking to Alberta’s picturesque mountains, the province is struggling to find enough workers to keep the tourism industry afloat. 

What happened: Alberta is opening up a new path to permanent residency specifically for temporary foreign workers in the province’s tourism industry. Chefs, travel guides, and hotel receptionists are among the roles that will be eligible for the program starting in March.

B.C. gets new money to build housing

Another day, another plan from a provincial government to do something, anything, to build more homes. 

What happened: The federal government is chipping in $2 billion worth of loans for B.C.’s new BC Builds program, aimed at boosting the construction of affordable rental housing for middle-class renters.

The law locks out LockBit hackers

A shadowy international syndicate of cybercriminals just got a taste of its own medicine. 

What happened: Authorities have seized control of the notorious ransomware gang LockBit’s web infrastructure after a successful operation led by the U.K.'s National Crime Agency. Law enforcement agencies from around the world, including Canada, contributed to the takedown.

Maple syrup season is (already) here

Unseasonably warm weather isn’t just giving us a headstart on patio season, it's giving our prized maple syrup businesses a head start on their harvest.

Driving the news: Warmer temperatures have brought Canada’s maple syrup harvesting season early, with producers hoping to reach new production highs as the international demand for the golden liquid grows.

Reddit cuts mystery AI licensing deal

It turns out Reddit threads aren’t just a valuable way to crowdsource advice from strangers, they’re also worth tens of millions of dollars to at least one AI company.

What happened: Reddit has cut a ~US$60 million licensing deal to sell access to the user-generated content from its platform to an unnamed AI company, per Bloomberg

Pro women’s hockey league racks up early wins

Less than two months after hitting the ice, North America’s new pro women’s hockey league is already breaking records.

What happened: A Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) match between Toronto and Montreal last week drew 19,285 fans to a sold-out Scotiabank Arena, breaking the attendance record for any women’s hockey game. 

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny dies in prison

A decade-long effort to take down a so-called ​​"party of thieves and crooks" has left one of Russia’s most prominent opposition leaders dead. 

What happened: ​​A wave of outrage gripped the international community after authorities confirmed that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had died in a Siberian prison. He had been jailed since 2021, and was serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges.

Adam Seaborn on the business of sports streaming

 On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Adam Seaborn of Playmaker Capital to talk about what the streaming era means for the sports media industry. 

What to do this weekend

Indonesia’s next leader is dancing away his unsavoury past

Meet Prabowo Subianto. He loves cats. He gets jiggy with it. He was the head of military special forces under a dictatorship. And he’s going to be the next president of Indonesia.  

Driving the news: Indonesia held one of the largest democratic elections in the world this week, with almost 205 million eligible voters. Early results show that Subianto, the defence minister and ex-general, is all but guaranteed to win the race and take office in November.  

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.”

Travel chatbots cause turbulence

You can now add “malfunctioning AI chatbot” to your list of potential travel headaches alongside carry-on baggage fees, screaming babies, and doors that blow off in mid-air

What happened: Air Canada must reimburse a B.C. flyer $650.88 after a provincial small claims tribunal ruled that the airline’s chatbot misled the customer about the cost of his flight to Toronto.

Another blow for driverless cars

You think you had a rough week? Waymo had one of its cars literally set on fire in the middle of San Francisco — and that’s not even their biggest problem. 

Driving the news: Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle unit Waymo yesterday recalled 444 of its autonomous vehicles after a software issue caused cars to wrongly predict the movements of towing vehicles. In some cases, the errors led to collisions, including two in Arizona.

NATO nations drum up defence dollars

While most of us are trying to save up these days, NATO nations are spending on defence like a rich kid who got their hands on their daddy’s credit card.

Driving the news: NATO projects that 18 of its 31 member states will meet the military bloc’s goal of spending at least 2% of annual GDP on defence this year. That’s over 58% of members, compared to 35% just last year and a paltry 14% of members a decade ago.