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Explain It Like I'm Five: Digital advertising and the Online News Act

What is the Online News Act?

A law coming into effect in a few weeks that would see certain tech companies pay Canadian publishers in exchange for having news on their platforms. It is based on Australia’s News Bargaining Code, which mandates that tech platforms enter a negotiation process with outlets to determine that number.

How do the tech companies feel about it?

Meta pulled news from its services so it didn’t have to be bound by the Act’s terms. Google was prepared to do the same, but reached a deal with the government this week.

Why farmers might make it easier to fix your fridge

A big step forward in a legal battle between farmers and the leading equipment manufacturer in North America could also advance right-to-repair rules for everyone.
 
Driving the news: A U.S. judge rejected John Deere’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit from farmers claiming the company is actively restricting services for maintenance and repair.

ChatGPT is a bit of a blabbermouth

Getting math problems wrong isn’t the only way ChatGPT is becoming less smart — apparently, it is pretty easy to trick into sharing its secrets (including, potentially, yours).

What happened: Researchers from Google’s DeepMind and five universities discovered an “attack” prompt for ChatGPT that got the platform to share parts of its training data, revealing personal information of random people and copyrighted material.

Dissecting the digital dollar debate

As 2024 nears, flying cars and teleporters are no closer to becoming a reality, but countries are hard at work devising digital currencies. That’s just as cool as those other things… right? 

What happened: South Korea is launching a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot next year, selecting 100,000 adventurous citizens to try spending with digital tokens

A year of ChatGPT

Today marks the one-year anniversary of an event that changed the world forever: The UN bestowing the baguette with protected heritage status… just kidding. 

Driving the news: It’s (somehow only) been one year since OpenAI unlatched Pandora’s Box of generative AI and publicly released ChatGPT. The chatbot was an overnight sensation, gaining 1 million users in five days, peaking with 1.8 billion monthly users in May. 

A new news deal

Canadians will get to keep (some of) their access to news, now that the government has reached a deal with Google over the controversial Online News Act

What happened: After months of tense negotiations, Google has agreed to pony up $100 million a year for the Canadian news content hosted on its platform, part of an effort to compensate media companies for the advertising revenue that has been lost to Big Tech. 

The government’s digital transformation lead is quitting

What might be the least desirable job in all of Canadian tech — helping the government update thousands of aging software platforms and apps — is about to become vacant.

What happened: Catherine Luelo, the government’s chief information officer, will be leaving her post in December after roughly two years on the job. A letter to staff did not give a reason for her departure.

Adobe’s Figma deal the latest to hit a regulator roadblock

Regulators might be playing catch-up when it comes to keeping the tech sector competitive, but they are working hard to make up for lost time.

What happened: The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has effectively blocked Adobe’s US $20 billion acquisition of Figma until the companies remedy anti-competitive issues it has identified.

Scientists develop electronic nose to prevent food poisoning

The days of wondering if those leftovers you’ve had in your fridge for a week are still good or not (before eating them anyway and just hoping for the best) may be coming to an end. 

What happened: An Israeli company has developed an “electronic nose” called Sensifi that uses AI to detect when harmful bacteria has contaminated food. 

Huawei backs new Canadian AI lab

One of the foremost researchers in artificial intelligence is hoping people will keep an “open mind” about where his new lab is getting its money.

What happened: Openmind, a new AI research lab from Canadian AI pioneer Richard Sutton, is getting $4.8 million in funding from Chinese technology giant Huawei.