Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. I’ve just spent the last two days wrestling with COVID, but I’m feeling a bit better now. Let’s get up to speed on today’s tech news.

1. Telstra pays $3 million in penalties

Kicking things off locally and Telstra has paid a $3 million penalty to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), along with $17.7 million in customer refunds for internet services that were inactive over an 11-year period, with an additional $3.4 million to be refunded before the end of 2023. The ACMA’s Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that the organisation had lost its patience with Telstra over the long-running issue. “At a time when many small businesses are facing economic pressures, unaccounted costs can create very real stress and financial hardship,” O’Loughlin said.

2. Behold the Roo-ver

Australia’s first Moon rover finally has a name – Roo-ver. As reported by the ABC, ‘Roo-ver’ was the winner in a public voting competition run by the Australian Space Agency. It beat out names like Kakirra (an Aboriginal name for Moon), Bert ‘Moonface’ Newton, Sam Kerr, and my personal favourite, Rover McRoverface. Roo-ver will be tasked with collecting samples from the Moon’s south pole, and is set to travel to the Moon as part of a NASA mission, possibly as early as 2026.

3. Meta and IBM launch an AI alliance

Meta and IBM have assembled the Avengers of open-sourced artificial intelligence to form the AI Alliance, taking on leaders in the space such as OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic. The group of 50 companies, startups, universities, research institutes, and government bodies aims to foster an open-sourced community and accelerate responsible innovation in AI. “This is a pivotal moment in defining the future of AI,” said IBM CEO Arvind Krishna in a press release. “IBM is proud to partner with like-minded organisations through the AI Alliance to ensure this open ecosystem drives an innovative AI agenda underpinned by safety, accountability, and scientific rigour.”

4. Musk wants more money

As reported by Bloomberg, Elon Musk is raising money for his new xAI company, with the target of acruing $1 billion in equity. Musk has supposedly raised $135 million so far for xAI, and the company has so far produced a single product – Grok, functioning similarly to ChatGPT and trained on data from Twitter (now X).

5. AI could judge if a user is of ‘porn-watching age’ in UK

Wrapping things up with a weird AI story, and Reuters is reporting that proposed new age-checking rules in the UK could lean on AI, in that AI could determine if a user looks to be of legal age before letting them view the content. “Regardless of their approach, we expect all services to offer robust protection to children from stumbling across pornography, and also to take care that privacy rights and freedoms for adults to access legal content are safeguarded,” media regulator Ofcom CEO Melanie Dawes said. Woof.

BONUS ITEM: Less than an hour after we published yesterday’s edition of 5 Things, in which we joked about the imminent release of the Grand Theft Auto VI trailer, Rockstar Games went ahead and released it early. If somehow you haven’t seen it, here it is.

Have a lovely day.

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