Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Welcome to a new week. Let’s get you caught up on all the tech news.


1. ANZ wants to build a tech hub in Queensland

Kicking things off, itNews is reporting that, if ANZ’s acquisition of Suncorp’s banking arm proceeds, the blue bank will “hire or place” 700 Queensland-based tech workers into a state-based hub. The tech hub, which is planned to focus on cloud, digital, and data domains, will be developed over a five-year period, with commitment from the Queensland government as a joint venture and plans for cloud technology training facilitated by Google, along with partnerships with Queensland-based universities to drive research and training. The Suncorp acquisition is currently undergoing regulatory and government approval.

2. CSIRO has a new chief executive

CSIRO now has a new chief executive – Professor Doug Hilton AO. Hilton’s background is in molecular and cellular biology. Doctor Larry Marshal, the outgoing chief executive of CSIRO, will complete his third term in the role on June 30, having served for 50 years. Executive director Kirsten Rose will act in the chief executive role until September 29, when Hilton is expected to start. “CSIRO is a unique national treasure, there to deliver science for the benefit of the community. The intent of CSIRO and my personal values are completely aligned, and I am looking forward to leading CSIRO as we work to solve our nation’s greatest challenges,” Hilton said.

3. Tech companies may soon need to scan your messages for illegal content

Crikey is reporting the eSafety commissioner is signalling that, soon, companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Google may be forced to scan your online data for illegal content, after eSafety gave the tech giants one last attempt to do better. As Crikey has written, an announcement from the eSafety commission is the “strongest signal yet” that companies may be required by law to scan all content for things like child exploitation and terrorist material. Requirements like this bring with them reasonable privacy concerns that could facilitate censorship, but it’s still too early to see how the requirements will transpire.

4. Meta debuts its new ‘voicebox’ AI

Meta has another new AI model on the docket, and this one seems perfectly engineered for the land of tomorrow if that utopian future is filled with nothing but deepfakes and modified audio. Like AI image generators, voicebox generates synthetic voices based on a simple text prompt from scratch — or, in actuality — sound from thousands of audiobooks. In a video CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared on his Facebook and Instagram, he said the Voicebox AI model can take a text prompt and read it in a variety of human, though somewhat digital-sounding, voices. Otherwise, Voicebox can also modify audio to remove unwanted noises from voice clips, like a dog barking in the background. Unlike many other AI voice synthesisation models, Meta’s AI can create audio in languages other than English, including French, Spanish, German, Polish, and Portuguese, and the company said the AI can effectively translate any passage from one language to another, while keeping the same voice style.

5. The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to see life on other planets

As reported by Universe Today, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be able to see biosignatures on other planets. Depending on the chemical composition of an atmosphere, the JWST may be able to detect the elements required for the development of life on far-away exoplanets. This has been attempted in the past when detecting water on some planets, but not for planets similar to Earth that lack thick atmospheres. That could change if the JWST is put to the task, as a study recently revealed.

BONUS ITEM: Our colleagues in the U.S. covered all the sci-fi, fantasy and Gizmodo-adjacent shows revealed at Netflix’s Tudum 2023 event, but a particular highlight was the reveal of the live-action One Piece show.

Have a lovely week.

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