Hashtag Trending Dec. 21 – Freedom Mobile sale; Parler’s NFT; Musk on Tesla’s self-driving issues

Files from Tom Li

Freedom Mobile may be up for sale once more, Parler wants to expand into the NFT market, and Elon Musk opens up about Tesla’s self-driving issues.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday  Dec. 21, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

With the Shaw-Rogers merger still under regulatory review, Wind Mobile, which was rebranded to Freedom Mobile and bought by Shaw in 2016, may once again be up for sale. If it does, its original founder Anthony Lacavera may scoop it up, thus completing the circle. In a Globe and Mail article, Lacavera said he believes that turning Freedom Mobile into an independent wireless company will be “good for the Canadian market”. He also expects prices to increase if Freedom Mobile remains a part of Rogers post acquisition. Rogers has promised that it would not raise the price of Freedom’s plans for at least three years, but regulators may force it to sell it off anyway as a part of the deal. In preparation for the possible sale, Lacavera has assembled a group of investors to bid for the carrier if it becomes available.

Social media platform Parler may make a play in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. It didn’t outline what its NFT platform will look like, but it’s clear that it’s committed in the technology. In a statement, the company announced that it will build its digital offering with an “NFT pipeline” while continuing to focus on free speech. The controversial social platform went offline for a month after major hosting providers said it failed to curb content related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Elon Musk says Tesla doesn’t get ‘rewarded’ for lives saved by its Autopilot technology, but instead gets ‘blamed’ for the individuals it doesn’t from technology

Elon Musk opened up about Tesla vehicle’s autopiloting issues which has been linked to 12 accidents since 2018. In an interview with Time Magazine’s CEO after being selected as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Musk said that he’s seen month-to-month improvements in Tesla’s self driving capabilities. He further alluded that people tend to focus on the negatives, stating that “you’re not going to get rewarded” for the lives saved but “be blamed for lives that you don’t save.” Tesla has been sued over fatal crashes and misrepresentation of its autopilot and driving assist features. Moreover, Musk, who says he’ll pay over $11 billion in taxes this year, said he doesn’t believe there’s a CEO who cares more about safety than he does.

Scientists taught a petri dish of brain cells to play pong faster than an AI from technology

Apparently brain power still reigns supreme over AI, at least when it comes to learning to play Pong. A team of Australian scientists have been growing, and training, small puddles of brain, called DishBrain, to play the ancient videogame. The scientists used electrical signals to relay the ball’s position, and the DishBrain responds by moving the paddle. Its performance so far has been extremely impressive. The DishBrain took only five minutes to learn how the game works whereas an AI typically needs 90. Although it learns quicker, the scientists noted that a proper AI could still easily beat BrainDish once it’s properly trained. 

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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