Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Hello, what’s good? Let’s jump right in to what’s happening in techland today.

1. Telstra plans $1.6 billion fibre network upgrade

Starting with Telstra today, and the Australian Financial Review is reporting on the telco’s plan to connect Australian cities with a high-speed fibre network, at a cost of up to $1.6 billion. Per the report, the funds will lay the groundwork for cabling that underpins new data centres and “cutting-edge customer applications in artificial intelligence”. Telstra CEO Vicky Brady revealed detailed planning is under way for an additional five routes in the intercity fibre project first revealed last year, including adding a direct link between Darwin and Adelaide by 2026-27. Telstra also plans to upgrade fibre connections for its mining, oil and gas, and energy customers in the Pilbara.

2. Airbnb buys an AI company

The once cheaper than hotels, now charging ridiculous prices as a “cleaning fee” platform Airbnb has announced an acquisition overnight. Per the company’s blog, Airbnb has acquired GamePlanner.AI, which is a super small startup (12 people!!) AI company that “combines expertise in AI, design, and community” huh?. “While Airbnb is already using AI across our service … [the GamePlanner.AI] team will focus on accelerating select AI projects and integrating their tools into our platform”. Ah. I get it.

3. YouTube cracks down on AI fakes

YouTube released new policy updates to combat AI-generated content that resembles the voice and style of music artists. Earlier this year, “Heart on My Sleeve,” a song that sounds like a track made by Drake and The Weeknd, created with generative AI, garnered over 600,000 plays and was even considered for a Grammy nomination. YouTube wants this to not happen again. “We’re also introducing the ability for our music partners to request the removal of AI-generated music content that mimics an artist’s unique singing or rapping voice,” said YouTube in a blog post. YouTube will consider whether news outlets are reporting on generative AI songs, as well as analysis or critique of the synthetic vocals in its determination of whether to take down a song.

4. We need more tech peeps, ASAP

Over to InnovationAus, which is reporting on a report from the Australian Computer Society that predicts the economy will require at least 100,000 more tech workers than is currently targeted by the federal government (by 2030) to “capitalise on nine critical technologies that are expected to shape the workforce”. The current target of reaching a tech worker population of 1.2 million by 2030 was initially proposed by the Technology Council of Australia and adopted by Labor ahead of last year’s election. Per the report, the ACS is calling on the government to shift its focus away from being focused on roles and towards considering the skills available in the economy.

5. Nepal bans TikTok

Nepal’s government decided to ban TikTok on Monday, saying it was disrupting “social harmony” in the country. Per AP we learn Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said the app would be banned immediately following a meeting held by the country’s government. “The government has decided to ban TikTok as it was necessary to regulate the use of the social media platform that was disrupting social harmony, goodwill and flow of indecent materials,” Saud is quoted by the publication as saying. He said that to make social media platforms accountable, the government has asked the companies to register and open a liaison office in Nepal, pay taxes, and abide by the country’s laws and regulations. It wasn’t clear what triggered the ban or if TikTok had refused to comply with Nepal’s requests.

BONUS ITEM: This video is doing the rounds again, and we’re still amazed, even knowing what we know.

See you Thursday!

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