Squiz Today / 18 January 2024

Squiz Today – 18 January 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I’m delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament.”

Said former world #1 Naomi Osaka, who was frustrated by her round one Australian Open loss. It was her third match in 15 months, and 6 months since the birth of her first baby last year. Geez us women can be hard on ourselves… 


The Squiz

The Albanese Government will establish an advisory group to look into the risks behind the rapid rise of artificial intelligence and formulate guidelines to help navigate the problems. It follows a round of public consultation on potential AI laws that received more than 500 responses, and Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic handed down the interim report on it yesterday. Australia has been slow moving on AI regulation, but Husic said that needs to change if we want to reap the economic benefits – namely, a potential $600 billion increase to Australia’s annual GDP that research suggests AI could bring. “There’s also a trust issue around the technology itself, and that low trust is becoming a handbrake against the uptake of technology,” Husic says.

How do they tackle this? 

As you might imagine, regulating the hugely transformative/disruptive tech isn’t straightforward, so the government’s considering a multi-pronged approach. First, it wants to distinguish between ‘low-risk’ AI (like spam email filters) and ‘high-risk’ (like generative AI that can create sinister content like deep fake images and videos). And there are suggestions like the labelling of AI-generated content, mandatory testing of new products, and training standards for software developers. Transparency measures are also a hot topic… This week, OpenAI – the US company behind ChatGPT – banned American politicians from using its technology for this year’s election campaigns. Concerns have been raised about the tech being used to spread misinformation, and the company said it’s working to “learn more about how people use or attempt to abuse our technology”.

What do the experts reckon?

Bill Gates is one who’s spoken up about AI in recent days… He’s at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he said that he understands the fear around AI but believes it will offer huge global opportunities over the next 5 years. The context to that is Gates is one of the founders of Microsoft, which has made massive investments in OpenAI. “As we had [with] agricultural productivity in 1900, people were like ‘hey, what are people going to do?’ In fact, a lot of new things and a lot of new job categories were created,” Gates said about the opportunity. That’s a more glass-half-full take than the one the International Monetary Fund offered this week. It estimated that 40% of jobs globally could be affected by AI and has urged governments to get their social safety nets in place for those pushed out of the workforce. 

AusPol Technology

Squiz the Rest

Oh hello we’re talking about the weather again… 

Seriously, Australia, can we chuck the first half of this summer in the bin? Yesterday, all capital cities except Perth and Adelaide were getting rain with serious storm warnings and flash flooding expected in places that have already been drenched. Some of the stats this month are looking really weird – especially since most of us expected things to be hotter and drier after the officials predicted an El Niño climate pattern. It’s already the wettest start to the year in Melbourne since 1996, while Canberra hasn’t been this soaked in January since 1984. In some good news for anyone trying to hang out their washing – from tomorrow, things are looking dry in the southern states + Adelaide/Perth for about a week. But it’s wet in the NT and Queensland, and another cyclone is brewing off the coast…


Hey Mr Postman

The UK’s been gripped by a scandal involving its official postal system that’s been called the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history. Nine-hundred postmasters (the people running local post offices) were prosecuted for theft or fraud between 1999-2015 after faulty software made it look like money was missing from their branches. Tech company Fujitsu developed that software – and has just apologised to victims and promised compensation. The scandal isn’t new news, but public outrage has brewed after a docudrama aired a couple of weeks ago. Off the back of that show, a million people signed a petition demanding the former CEO to hand back a royal honour. Rishi Sunak has also moved to exonerate those wrongly convicted. There’s still a public inquiry into the whole mess – so we haven’t heard the last of it…

World News

Not so fast…

Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo has slapped Chinese/fast fashion brand Shein with a lawsuit for allegedly ripping off its products. At the heart of the case is Uniqlo’s claim that Shein is flogging knock-offs of its popular ’Mary Poppins’ shoulder bag, which has become a thing on TikTok. Uniqlo wants Shein to stop selling its version of the bag and is after compensation. Uniqlo’s parent company (the ironically named Fast Retailing…) says “the imitation products … significantly undermine the high level of customer confidence” in its own brand. This isn’t Shein’s first rodeo – it’s previously been accused of copying products from smaller businesses. More broadly, Western nations have been pretty cross with China, alleging they are constantly ripping off other country’s intellectual property. 

And what a great opportunity to mention we spoke with Lauren Sams, the Financial Review’s fashion editor, who had some stunning insights into the fast fashion industry. You can listen to that podcast here…

Business & Finance

Raising the roof

Inner-city Sydneysiders are about to get a lot more big gig action after the state government lifted the number of concerts allowed at Sydney Football (Allianz) Stadium from 4 to 20. For decades, locals around the Sydney Cricket Ground/Moore Park precinct have held firm on the restriction after mass complaints about a noisy Rolling Stones concert in the 90’s. But Premier Chris Minns says “Sydney is Australia’s only global city”, and if you buy a house in the big smoke, you can’t expect it to be a “country town”. Nearby residents aren’t thrilled about the prospect, and neither is Football Australia… It’s worried concerts packing in 55,000 people will damage the pitch and could force it to find other venues. But Minns says no code owns the stadium, and it could help the state attract big global acts like Beyonce. Rock on…


Apropos of Nothing

Awww cute alert. Australia’s favourite sporting couple has made it Insta official. Penrith Panthers star Nathan Cleary posted a sweet selfie with Matildas fav Mary Fowler ending months of speculation after the pair were first spotted together in August. 

One of TV’s favourite shows has just turned 50yo… Happy Days debuted in 1974 and lasted 11 seasons. The wholesome goodness that was the Cunningham family was compulsory viewing on those days, but it wasn’t until they leaned into the Fonz the show really took off.

And Gwen Stefani has teased that No Doubt is getting back together to headline Coachella, making it the first time the band’s played in a decade. Maybe it can be the one good thing getting recycled from the 90’s?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

From 7.45am (AEDT) – Australian Pool Lifesaving Championships (on until Saturday, 20 January 2024) – Melbourne

8.30pm (AEDT) – Powerball $100m Jackpot Draw – ticket sales close at 7.30pm (AEDT)

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, December

National Winnie The Pooh Day – US, commemorating author A.A. Milne’s birthday (1882)

A birthday for former PM Paul Keating (1944)

Anniversary of:

  • Captain James Cook coming across the Hawaiian Islands, which didn’t end well… (1778)
  • the first group of ships from the First Fleet arriving in Botany Bay (1788)
Squiz the Day

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