Canadian tech agrees to AI code of conduct

While not quite as star-studded at the White House’s AI summit, the who’s who of Canadian tech companies have agreed to new rules concerning AI. 

What happened: A handful of Canada’s biggest tech companies, including Blackberry, OpenText, and Cohere, agreed to sign on to new voluntary government guidelines for the development of AI technologies and a “robust, responsible AI ecosystem in Canada.”

The FTC challenges Amazon

The FTC surely must be inspired by the story of David and Goliath, because the US regulatory body won’t stop picking fights with tech giants. 

What happened: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), alongside 17 states, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the company is a monopoly that illegally crushes its competition, keeps prices inflated for consumers, and traps third-party sellers.  

Canada courts digital nomads

Picture the life of a digital nomad: You’re probably thinking of oceanfront workplaces, rainforest yoga, and drinking out of coconuts. But what about just heading to Toronto?

Driving the news: Per Bloomberg, the list of picturesque destinations cutting the red tape and offering remote work visa schemes is growing, including places like Barbados, Portugal, and Germany. Some are even extending visas in hopes of boosting business and innovation. 

The supershoe footrace heats up

The saddest six-word story ever written: For sale, $500 shoes, worn once.

What happened: The Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1s are now on sale. They’re Adidas’ newest running shoes, which runner Tigist Assefa wore when she shattered the women’s world marathon record last weekend. The price tag for these record-setting sneaks? US$500.

Are more strikes on the horizon?

As the calendar turns and labour unrest in Canada continues, the Summer of Strikes is evolving into the Autumn of Arbitration (which is way less catchy, but just as important). 

Driving the news: Per a new RBC report, amidst a surge of high-profile strikes, first-year raises for union workers are up 7.1% as of July — the highest rate since the early 1990s.

No recycled Lego bricks

The world’s largest toymaker is having a hard time making its little bricks eco-friendly. 

What happened: Danish Toymaker Lego has abandoned a high-profile effort to ditch oil-based plastics from its bricks after finding that its new material — made from recycled plastic bottles — would lead to higher carbon emissions, per the Financial Times.

ChatGPT finds its voice

OpenAI's latest ChatGPT update bestows the AI chatbot with the gifts of speech and sight.

What happened: ChatGPT can now converse with users — across five chipper voice options — and process images to help answer questions. The features will be available to paid users within two weeks and to those of us who are AI freeloaders in the near future.

New space rocks just dropped

Unlike many of us coming home from holiday, NASA remembered to bring back souvenirs from its latest trip.

Driving the news: The largest asteroid sample ever brought back to Earth touched down Sunday morning when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx capsule returned from a 7-year trip—a mission Canada played a crucial role in. 

Ford workers win big pay bump

Big congrats to anyone who works for Ford on your big raise. Next round is on you!

Driving the news: Workers at Ford’s Canadian facilities voted to ratify a deal negotiated between their union, Unifor, and the automaker that includes a 15% wage increase over the next three years.

What to this weekend

Our picks for what to eat, read, watch, and listen to this weekend.

Brendon Bernard on Canada’s labour market

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Brendon Bedard, Senior Economist at Indeed, to talk about the weakening labour market, and what it means.

NFTs are dead, long live NFTs

If you were kicking yourself last year for not getting in on the NFT craze, we’ve got good news... but if you have a stockpile of Bored Apes collecting digital dust, maybe skip to the Saturday crossword. 

Driving the news: A new report from crypto company dappGambl found that ~95% of all NFTs are now essentially worthless, with ~23 million people holding onto these “assets.”

TikTok plays matchmaker for its employees

Do NOT show your HR manager this: In China, companies are adding “helping you find your one true love” to their benefits packages, alongside dental coverage and vacation time.  

Driving the news: Forbes unveiled that TikTok parent company ByteDance has an internal channel on its shared work tool called Meet Cute. It lets employees post photos of friends, family, and acquaintances and advertise them as potential romantic partners to co-workers.

Alberta wants to ditch the CPP

Like Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, Alberta wants to break away from Canada’s national pension plan.

What happened: Alberta is looking to leave the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and establish its own provincial pension fund after a long-awaited report claimed the province would be entitled to a $334 billion asset transfer if it left in 2027 — over half of the CPP’s entire assets.

Zelenskyy touches down in Canada

While you were asleep, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Canada. 

What happened: After hitting up a UN Security Council meeting in New York City this week, Zelenskyy is set to deliver an address to Parliament today, aiming to bring attention back to the war in Ukraine. He’ll then head to Toronto, home to 11% of all Ukrainian-Canadians.

Young Canadians can’t afford younger Canadians

Young people hoping to start a family in Canada are taking one look at their grocery bill and saying “maaaaybe a dog?”

Driving the news: The rising cost of living in Canada has created a quality of life crisis for young people, leading many of them to not have kids, per a new StatCan report. Over a third of young adults don’t think they can afford to have a child in the next three years.

Managing your #RelationshipMoneyGoals

As it turns out, even the latest celebrity gossip can offer up a little financial wisdom.

Driving the news: Musician Joe Jonas and actor Sophie Turner are the latest celebrity couple to file for divorce this year, adding to a star-studded list including Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, and Kevin Costner. They reportedly have an "ironclad” prenuptial agreement, or prenup, that will allow Jonas to keep his music royalties while Turner will keep her acting earnings. 

Who needs a passport when you’ve got your face?

Physical passports and boarding passes could go the way of smoking sections on airplanes thanks to biometric technology. 

What happened: Next year, Singapore’s Changi Airport — ranked among the world’s best — will roll out a biometric system that lets travellers take off without having to flash their passports. The change will streamline operations as the airport welcomes more jet setters.

India escalates beef with Canada

Remember the good ol’ days of Canadian and Indian leaders forging economic ties and posing for extremely cringey photos? We sure do — but that time is behind us now. 

What happened: India hit Canada with a travel advisory yesterday, making it awkward for the scores of Indian nationals who call Canada home and ~319,000 Indian international students, now advised to exercise extreme caution amidst “growing anti-India activities.” 

Toronto ponders EV mandate for Ubers, taxis

Ride-sharing in Toronto could soon become an eco-friendly way to travel, which might make you feel a little better about all those Uber charges. 

Driving the news: Following the lead of cities like Amsterdam and New York, Toronto is considering requiring vehicles-for-hire — like taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts — to be zero emission by 2031, under a new recommendation by the Municipal Licensing and Standards division.