Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Hello and welcome to Thursday. We’ve got a handful of tech things to catch up on this morning, here they are.


1. Microsoft to offer ChatGPT to government clients

Microsoft announced overnight it was bringing the powerful language-producing models from OpenAI to U.S. federal agencies that use its Azure cloud service. The Windows giant reckons government agencies can use the AI tool to “accelerate content generation”, “streamline content summarisation”, “optimise semantic search”, and “simplify code generation”, which sounds great, until they start using it for other things. We are far too bullish about tech in the hands of government. Also, here’s hoping the Australian government sticks to its plan to block AI tools.

2. Out with cheques, in with tech

The Australian government is phasing out cheques, which for the majority of you is a non-event, but it’s still a significant step for the payments industry. The move is part of the Strategic Plan for Australia’s Payments System, a report/roadmap for developing the sector. “Our vision is for a modern, world-class and efficient payments system that is safe, trusted and accessible, enabling greater competition, innovation and productivity,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said. The instant payments enabled by the New Payments Platorm (PayID, Osko) is just the beginning, it seems.

3. An Amazon Prime ad tier?

Last month, we announced Amazon Prime was getting a price hike – with the price of the company’s Prime subscription service climbing from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month. But now, per a report from the Wall Street Journal, it seems the shopping giant is planning to launch an advertising-supported tier of its Prime Video streaming service as it “looks to further build its ad business and generate more revenue from entertainment”. Netflix gonna be mad.

4. Perth company caught up in U.S. SEC case

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wedesnday sued Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, for trading tokens that it alleged are financial securities. As the Australian Financial Review notes, this includes those issued by Powerledger, a Perth-based company that was an early Australian pioneer of blockchain tech. The SEC has previously alleged that Powerledger’s POWR token is a type of investment, and not just a technological innovation designed to allow individuals to trade electricity with each other, it will be interesting to see what happens next, as the AFR points out, this could have massive ramifications down under.

5. Everything is too expensive

In news shocking none of you, Finder has said fewer Australians are tackling climate change due to how expensive it is to live right now. Finder’s Green Report 2023, which tracks green consumer sentiment and behaviour, shows Australians currently have a slightly lower level of concern about their carbon footprint this year compared to last year. Some findings include that 47 per cent of Australians are less likely to spend money on green/sustainable purchases due to the cost of living crisis, that the first purchases to be dropped are free-range or organic foods (26 per cent), electric vehicles (23 per cent), and green energy (21 per cent).The number of Australians taking action to reduce their carbon footprint has decreased to 83 per cent in 2023, down from 89 per cent in 2022. Bleak.

BONUS ITEM: That was bleak, so here’s something bizarre.

We’ll see you right here tomorrow.

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