Superbowl ad from Microsoft tries to make peace between artists and AI: Hashtag Trending for Friday, February 9th, 2024

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Microsoft’s Superbowl ad tries to make peace with artists. Google giveth – bringing Gemini to Canada and Meta threatens to taketh away with a veiled threat against their Montreal workforce if the government regulates AI in a way they don’t like.

All this and more on the “nice economy you got there, shame if something should happen to it” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US.

I was about to do a story asking if Google was punishing Canada for our government’s insistence that they actually pay Canadian publishers for the news they use and make money from, but then the folks at Google made me eat my (almost) words.

Google has announced the launch of its generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) chatbot, Bard, now available in Canada and rebranded as Gemini.

So not only are we getting the latest in Google’s AI, but we get in in Canada – no more VPN to pretend we’re American.

And Google is offering this to both English and French-speaking Canadians.

The rebranding to Gemini seems to indicate that Google is trying to turn a new page and give OpenAI a run for our money.

There are various versions to cater to different devices and use cases, including Gemini Nano for smartphone processing and Gemini Ultra for more complex tasks like coding and logical reasoning.

And Gemini Advanced is part of the new Google One AI Premium Plan, priced at $26.99 per month CANADIAN.

It offers subscribers an integrated AI experience across Google Workspace applications, including Gmail, Docs, Slides, and Sheets. This integration, formerly known as Duet AI, embeds AI into everyday digital experiences, making sophisticated AI tools more accessible to a wider audience.

Mobile apps are coming soon, but initially only in English, we hope that French will be coming soon.

Sources include: IT World Canada,

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has expressed concerns over Canada’s proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA). During a parliamentary hearing, Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Platforms in Canada, voiced that Meta might reconsider launching some of its products in Canada if the proposed AI law remains unchanged.

More than that, she said, “Our global AI research is based in Montreal. The wrong regulatory framework, over-reach, or over-regulation by the government would drive that kind of activity out of the country. And I would hate to see that because we are leaders in AI research.”

AIDA, part of Bill-C-26, seeks to regulate AI systems by categorizing them into three classes based on their potential impact.

The legislation aims to mitigate risks of harm or biased outputs from AI systems, a move that has been met with both support and criticism from the tech industry.

While some provisions of AIDA are applauded for their intent to maintain public trust in AI applications, tech leaders, including those from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, have called for more clarity and flexibility in the law.

They argue that overly stringent regulations could stifle innovation and place an undue burden on the Canadian AI industry.

As Canada strives to align its AI legislation with international standards, the outcome of these discussions will be crucial in shaping its position as a leader in AI research and development.

But as a Canadian, I must say that this “nice economy you got there, be a shame if something should happen to it” sounds a little thuggish from Meta.

Sources include: IT World Canada

Two quick stories for this week that we want to make sure you catch. First, in response to the AI Deep Fake calls that have happened which have faked Joe Biden’s voice and are spreading what Biden would call  “malarkey” – the Federal Communications Commission in the US is outlawing robocalls that have AI generated voices.

Telemarketers in the US cannot use automated dialers or artificial or pre-recorded voice messages to call cellphones, and they cannot make such calls to landlines without prior written consent from the call recipient. And if they use Deep Fakes, there will be penalties.

Sources include: AP News

And I know Howard Solomon has covered this on our sister podcast, CyberSecurity Today, but this week it was discovered that a Chinese Hacker Volt Typhoon had infiltrated US infrastructure and had been there for more than 5 years. I wouldn’t bet against them having a similar foothold in Canada.

Check out Howard’s podcast or stories for me news. But ITWC also will be doing a look at civic infrastructure in Canada in our Technicity event series – watch for it.

And yes, even we have a mandatory SuperBowl story.

Microsoft has recently unveiled a significant update to its Copilot AI search and chatbot experience, introducing a new AI image creation and editing functionality alongside a fresh AI model named Deucalion.

This move not only enhances the capabilities of Copilot and not also signals Microsoft’s deepening commitment to integrating generative AI technologies into everyday digital tools, but it says – hey, we’re not ceding the digital image space to anyone.

But they are also doing some brilliant PR on this one.  Microsoft’s has a new Super Bowl ad, which positions Copilot and AI as empowering tools for innovation and creativity, challenging the narrative around AI as a threat to creative professions.

This is one time when an audio podcast is a bit of a disadvantage, because the ad is really well done and describing it won’t do it justice.

But we’ll put a link in the show notes for those of your who may not catch the Swift Bowl, I mean the SuperBowl.

Link to the YouTube version of the ad.

Sources include: VentureBeat

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with daily news and a weekend interview show that we creatively called – the weekend edition.

We love to hear from you. Send us a note at jlove@itwc.ca or drop us a comment under the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts – look for Hashtag Trending.

Thanks for listening and have a Fabulous Friday and a Swifty Superbowl weekend.

The post Superbowl ad from Microsoft tries to make peace between artists and AI: Hashtag Trending for Friday, February 9th, 2024 first appeared on IT World Canada.

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