Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning, everyone. Hope had a great weekend. We’ve got a few bits of news to catch up on, if you’ve got five minutes to spare. (Spoiler: there’s not an Elon Musk in sight).

1. Top AI companies commit to being good

Over the weekend, seven AI companies including OpenAI, Alphabet (Google’s mum), and Meta (Facebook’s guardian) made voluntary commitments to the U.S. to make the artificial intelligence future we’re being told we’re getting a little safer. The new voluntary agreements include commitments to external, third-party testing prior to releasing an AI product and the development of watermarking systems to inform the public when a piece of audio or video material was generated using AI systems. The Biden administration said these voluntary commitments, which essentially amount to self-policing by tech firms, mark just the first of several steps needed to properly manage AI risk.

2. Aussie billionaire splits with wife (tabloid version)

Next, to something we absolutely usually do not cover. The Australian Financial Review is reporting that Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his fashion designer wife Annie have separated. We’re not in the business of gossip, but Cannon-Brookes is the wealthiest Aussie tech guy we know – a fortune of around $19 billion – so that’s all we’re gonna cover on the matter. Hope they’re both doing OK.

3. Aussie researchers given funding to explore cyborgs

Staying local and Australian researchers looking into how to merge human brain cells with artificial intelligence (!!!) have received a $600,000 grant from the federal government. Per The Guardian, Monash University researchers will be using the cash to merge the laboratory-grown human brain cells – but it’s not as bizarre as it sounds. The research team, led by Monash University and Cortical Labs, is the one that created DishBrain – brain cells capable of playing the vintage video game Pong. All the best to them, I guess.

4. NFTs are going great

The Verge piqued my interest yesterday when I came across this post. As it’s Threads, which has no embed feature for us just yet, I’ve pasted a screenshot below of the post the article is referring to – but the TL;DR: is that in March 2021, Jack Dorsey (Twitter co-founder) sold an NFT of his first ever tweet. It sold for $US2.9 million, which was around $4 million at the time. Anywho, because NFTs are super safe, that tweet is now worth *checks notes* oh shit $US4, according to the account ‘Stocktwits’. But as The Verge points out, it’s not quite accurate. The author writes that while there is a $US3~ bid, another one is nearly $US2,000.

5. A reminder to not try and kill anyone

Lastly, but staying in the Web3 space, the Associated Press is reporting that a 38-year-old woman from the U.S. state of Nevada who admitted to hiring a hitman on the internet for $US5,000 in bitcoin to kill her ex-husband “and make it look like an accident” was sentenced to five years in prison. She pleaded guilty in March to a charge of murder-for-hire as part of a deal with federal prosecutors that avoided trial. I’m going to stick with regulated coin (and not hire anyone to kill anyone).

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Have a great week, folks.

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