Squiz Today / 12 May 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 12 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Setting the tone for a fab Friday.

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I think Eurovision runs through my veins somehow.”

Said singer Daniel Estrin before his Perth-based band Voyager rocked the Eurovision semi-finals early this morning. The German-born muso grew up listening to music from the song contest including Ding a Dong, which is a bit different to the metal-inspired Promise 

AI changes the game at Google

If you googled ‘Google’ yesterday, you would have seen that the tech company unveiled some big updates… It officially launched the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot Bard in Oz and more than 175 other countries. That means Aussies can now use Bard – previously only available in the US/UK – to find information, write code and translate languages. And perhaps even more noteworthy – Google’s parent company, Alphabet, says it plans to overhaul the way the world’s most popular search engine works. The company said it’s about to start rolling out something called a ‘Search Generative Experience’. Sounds techy, but it essentially means that Google will use AI to provide conversational answers to whatever users search online for…

Don’t worry; we did it for you. Reports say the key difference users will notice is that when they google something – for example, a question about cooking a particular dish – Google will provide an AI-generated response to the search query in the form of bullet points, followed by the list of website links we’re all used to. There’s a good example of what it might look like here. Google’s boss of Search is Elizabeth Reid – she says the new function will “unlock entirely new types of questions you never thought Search could answer and transform the way information is organised, to help you sort through and make sense of what’s out there”. The announcement comes as the company races against rival search engine Bing and its owner Microsoft’s work with ChatGPT, which has already seen massive take-up around the world. “We are reimagining all of our core products, including search,” Alphabet boss Sundar Pichai said.

There’s no set date, but it could be a while. The new function is still in its “experimental” phase and will go through a process similar to how Google rolled out Bard – although the execs will be hoping it goes a little more smoothly this time around… Reports say a limited number of US users will trial it in the coming weeks before it’s rolled out more broadly. After the announcement, Alphabet stock was up 5%, and US financial expert Michael Ashley Schulman said: “The company is showing a willingness and ability to reinvent and disrupt itself, which I feel will be favourably received by investors”. Analyst Chirag Dekate was a bit more hesitant after Bard’s early problems with accuracy: “Google has the tools to dominate the AI battles; the perennial question is – will they?”

Business & Finance Technology

Squiz the Rest

China, please take our lobster…

Aussie Trade Minister Don Farrell is in China today trying to chum it up with our biggest trade partner and restore the damaged relationship. He will co-chair bilateral trade talks alongside Chinese trade minister Wang Wentao – a ministerial match-up that hasn’t happened between our countries since 2019. Relations hit a low point in 2020 over Australia’s call for investigations into the origins of COVID, and China responded by placing trade restrictions on all manner of Australian exports – wine, lobsters, barley, coal, meat… Communication resumed when the Albanese Government took office last year, coal exports to China have already revved up, and the barley ban is also being reviewed. Farrell will push Wang to lift all the restrictions in today’s trade talks. Cross your fingers for him…

AusPol Business & Finance

Drumgold takes it back

As far as u-turns go, the ACT’s top prosecutor Shane Drumgold has put on his blinker and went for it… Yesterday, he retracted a statement that he believed politicians interfered with an investigation into assault claims made against former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann. On Wednesday, he named former Coalition minister Linda Reynolds – the then boss of Lehrmann and his accuser Brittany Higgins – as someone he reckoned pressured ACT investigators to “make the matter go away”. Drumgold didn’t provide evidence for the claim, and Reynolds called it a “baseless suggestion”. But that’s not all… He made another startling revelation yesterday, saying he believed the juror whose misconduct caused the trial to be aborted was the only one out of the 12 tasked with considering the verdict who wasn’t convinced of Lehrmann’s guilt. That’s not a verified fact – it’s just his take on the situation. The inquiry continues with Lerhmann’s lawyer Steve Whybrow set to give his version of events.

Australian News Crime

Betting on an ad ban

You might have heard that it’s Budget week [insert winky face emoji…], and while we’ve heard a lot about Labor’s plans, it was Coalition leader Peter Dutton’s opportunity to present his side last night. The new bit was a policy to push to ban sports betting ads for an hour on either side of and during the broadcast of sporting events. The ads “are changing the culture of our country in a bad way and normalising gambling at a young age,” Dutton says. It’s a proposal that will send a shiver down the spines of major sporting codes and TV networks that are heavily reliant on sports betting ads… Dutton also criticised Team Albanese for not planning appropriately to accommodate the 1.5 million migrants expected to come to Oz over the next 5 years. “It’s the biggest migration surge in our country’s history, and it’s occurring amid a housing and rental crisis,” he said. For that and more, the full speech is here.

AusPol Australian News

Patching up a peanut allergy

They’re one of the most common and deadly allergies in the world, affecting 2% of the population, and there’s no cure – but a new study involving skin patches is showing promising results. Similarly to the only treatment available, which involves taking a peanut powder, the Viaskin patch infuses peanut protein into the skin. The trial saw 244 toddlers from 8 countries undergo the therapy for a year, while 118 received a placebo. After the year, patch-wearers with mild reactions could tolerate consuming up to 4 peanuts, while more sensitive sufferers could tolerate one peanut. And patch-wearers who accidentally consumed peanut products during the trial also reported less-severe reactions. The company hopes to bring the patches to market soon – but bad luck to those with an uber peanut allergy… There are still issues with these therapies for those who experience severe reactions like anaphylaxis.


A bonza survey

It’s no secret that Oz is home to some of the world’s wackiest slang words, aside from all the newfangled terms the yoof are throwing around these days… A new survey by language learning platform Preply asked 1,500 Aussies about their attitudes towards popular slang words. Over 78% said their most-used term was ‘mate’, closely followed by ‘thongs’, ‘sunnies’, brekkie, and ‘arvo’. When quizzed on their least-favourite slang words, 32% nominated the term ‘sheila’ followed by the Steve Irwin-inspired ‘crikey’, ‘cakehole’, and ‘mate’. Awks… And speaking of mates, that’s where 64% of survey participants reported picking up most of their slang from, and more women (35%) reported using slang than men (30%). Fair dinkum…

Australian News Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

JR Moehringer, the (ghost)author of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare (aka the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time), has penned a piece about his profession and the experience of working closely with the royal. Let’s just say they didn’t see eye to eye on some things…

If you’re looking for something different tomorrow night that doesn’t involve going out, TV/radio/podcast star Hamish Blake is making a cake, and you can watch along. Also, take a good hard look at yourself (note: we’re talking to ourselves there…).

As for our own cooking project this weekend, we’re getting crazy with lentils and mushrooms… This will be a Sunday thing with some lamb chops on the barbie, with the leftovers for lunch on Monday. Pretty smart, eh…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

7.30pm (AEST) – Eurovision Semi Final 1 – Liverpool, UK – SBS primetime broadcast

Company Results – News Corp

Company AGMs – QBE Insurance; Ampol

International Nurses Day

International Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological

The Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium – Brisbane

Birthdays for Rami Malek (1981), Bill Shorten (1967), and Homer Simpson (1956)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Florence Nightingale (1820) and Katharine Hepburn (1907)
• the wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger (1971)
• Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction premiering at the Cannes Film Festival (1994)

Squiz the Day

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