AI News

Coffee Briefing Feb. 6 – AWS and University of Alberta collaborate to launch AI centre; Cisco survey reveals data privacy trends; ISED seeks to give Indigenous applicants priority access to spectrum; and more

Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team! 

Missed the last Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

AWS and University of Alberta team up to launch new AI centre

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the University of Alberta have teamed up to launch a new centre: the Artificial Intelligence Discovery Place.

Located in U of A’s downtown Enterprise Square campus, the centre seeks to accelerate the speed of discovery for researchers and make artificial intelligence more accessible to Edmonton’s tech scene.

“To unlock the full potential of AI to tackle the world’s most challenging problems, we need to make AI education and services accessible to anyone,” said Coral Kennett, AWS Canada Education Lead. “With the Artificial Intelligence Discovery Place, AWS and the University of Alberta are working together to democratize access to AI technology. We cannot wait to see how faculty, students, and industry use AWS cloud services to advance groundbreaking research in all areas of society.”

The two organizations have been working together since 2016. The U of A was one of the first Canadian universities to sign on with AWS to innovate faster with the cloud.

Businesses recognize they need to do more to reassure customers on data privacy: Cisco



Ninety-one per cent of businesses acknowledge they need to do more to reassure customers that their data is used for intended and legitimate purposes in artificial intelligence, Cisco revealed in a survey of 2,600 privacy and security professionals across 12 geographies.

More than 90 per cent of respondents believe GenAI requires new techniques to manage data and risk; 63 per cent have established limitations on what data can be entered; 61 per cent  have limits on which GenAI tools can be used by employees; and 27 per cent said their organization had banned GenAI applications altogether.

A whopping 98 per cent of organizations are also touting the importance of external privacy certifications as a factor in buying decisions, which Cisco said is the highest they’ve seen over the years.

“94 per cent of respondents said their customers would not buy from them if they did not adequately protect data,” explained Harvey Jang, Cisco vice president and chief privacy officer. “They are looking for hard evidence that the organization can be trusted. Privacy has become inextricably tied to customer trust and loyalty. This is even more true in the era of AI, where investing in privacy better positions organizations to leverage AI ethically and responsibly.”

Accordingly, over the past five years, privacy spending has more than doubled, benefits have gone up, and returns remained strong, with 95 per cent of organizations indicating that privacy’s benefits exceed its costs.

Eighty per cent of respondents even claimed that privacy laws have had a positive impact on them, despite the costs and requirements that come along with regulation, notably as they cited compliance with privacy laws and avoiding data breaches as some of their top priorities.

Toronto quantum company introduces a PhD fellowship in quantum machine learning in partnership with Qatar-based university

Photonic quantum computing company Xanadu has announced that it will collaborate with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Center for Quantum Computing (QC2) on a PhD fellowship in quantum machine learning.

This collaboration is an extension of the partnership established in November 2023 which aims to train and educate a quantum-ready workforce in Qatar.

HBKU’s QC2 offers several PhD fellowships to students focused on theoretical and experimental research related to quantum information science. Fellowship recipients may also receive a fully funded scholarship. However, this year, students have a unique opportunity to travel to Xanadu HQ in Toronto, Canada, for a 1-2 month internship.

“We look forward to welcoming HBKU students to Xanadu and continuing to work alongside the university to offer training and educational materials and grow the quantum workforce in Qatar,” said Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu founder and chief executive officer.

ISED to give indigenous applicants priority access to spectrum


Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) has published a draft of the Indigenous Priority Window (IPW) spectrum policy framework tasked to give Indigenous applicants priority access to unused spectrum.

The new framework is a proposed time-limited window during which Indigenous applicants have priority access to available spectrum. This is an important part of the government’s “use it or lose it” approach to spectrum policy — a series of measures that require telecom companies to use their spectrum to serve Canadians in a timely manner or risk losing it to others who will.

ISED has initiated a six-month engagement period on the draft IPW framework. Following this engagement, ISED will publish a decision on the final framework and its timing.

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is a necessity for small, remote and Indigenous communities,” said Gudie Hutchings, minister of Rural Economic Development. “Broadband internet helps small businesses find new customers and makes it easier for people to connect with their loved ones and health care providers.”

GSMA and IBM team up to support AI adoption and skills in the telecom industry 

GSMA, a non-profit industry organization representing the interests of mobile network operators, has partnered with IBM to launch GSMA Advance’s AI Training program and the GSMA Foundry Generative AI program.

The AI training program seeks to prepare telco leaders for the AI era and bridge skills gaps in the telecom industry by teaching members to leverage Gen AI technologies. Training sessions will take place at IBM offices in five locations around the world in 2024, including Dubai, London, Mexico, New Yorkand Seoul, and an online training program will be available in multiple languages.

In addition, the GSMA Foundry Generative AI program will provide GSMA members with access to watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform.

“Artificial Intelligence provides the telecoms industry, and the societies it serves, with huge opportunities to launch new services, improve connectivity and customer experience. Overall, it’s estimated that AI could contribute US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA. “However, it’s critical that AI is democratized to ensure that all parts of the connectivity industry and their customers, wherever they are in the world, benefit. Bringing operators access to AI tools and knowledge, alongside the necessary skills, access and training, is key to achieving this.”

More to explore

Canadian government investigating another hack at Global Affairs

The Canadian government is investigating what could be a major data breach at its foreign affairs department.

Retailers at critical juncture due to severe tech gaps: SOTI study

A new study released today reveals that the retail industry in Canada and elsewhere around the world faces major challenges as a result of consumers experiencing a major “disconnect between their shopping expectations and the in-store reality.”

Canadian CEOs worried about economic outlook, but expect turnaround with AI: Report

Over the past year, an increasing number of companies have worried that they will not survive amid rapid technological change and growing economic uncertainties unless they reinvent themselves, PwC’s 27th annual global CEO survey found.

Industrial firms must pay more attention to OT cybersecurity, says vendor

American providers of critical infrastructure services still aren’t spending enough to protect their operational technology (OT) systems, says the head of a company that protects industrial internet-connected systems.

Federal government launches new platform to recruit digital talent

The government of Canada has launched the Digital Talent Platform, an online recruitment site for digital and IT professionals.

A C4-Alludo look at the importance of MDFs

Mark Collins, the president of the Canadian Channel Chiefs Council (C4) recently sat down with Michelle Chiantera, the chief revenue officer at Alludo (formerly Corel), about the importance of market development funds (MDFs).

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Mozilla steps up the move to protect privacy: Hashtag Trending, Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, Feb. 7, 2024 – Deepfake video costs company US$25 million

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