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In today's Morning Brief, companies like OpenAI and Google are trying to dominate the quickly emerging market for AI systems where people can ask questions of a computer — and get answers in the style of a human. But experts warn this could mean users must be more careful to verify the accuracy of AI responses.

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As AI becomes more human-like, experts warn users must think more critically about its responses

Tech giant Google has announced upgrades to its artificial intelligence technologies, just a day after rival OpenAI announced similar changes to its offerings, with both companies trying to dominate the quickly emerging market where human beings can ask questions of computer systems — and get answers in the style of a human response.

It's part of a push to make AI systems such as ChatGPT not just faster, but more comprehensive in their responses right away without having to ask multiple questions.

On Tuesday, Google demonstrated how AI responses would be merged with some results from its influential search engine. As part of its annual developers conference, Google promised that it would start to use AI to provide summaries to questions and searches, with at least some of them being labelled as AI at the top of the page.

WATCH | OpenAI's GPT-4o speaks in a natural human tone: 

OpenAI demonstrates new model's capability for realistic conversation

1 month ago
Duration 0:42

Google's AI generated summaries are only available in the U.S., for now — but they will be written using conversational language.

Meanwhile, OpenAI's newly announced GPT-4o system will be capable of conversational responses in a more human-like voice.

It gained attention on Monday for being able to interact with users while employing natural conversation with very little delay — at least in demonstration mode. OpenAI researchers showed off ChatGPT's new voice assistant capabilities, including using new vision and voice capabilities to talk a researcher through solving a math equation on a sheet of paper. 

But researchers in the technology and artificial intelligence sector warn that as people get information from AI systems in more user-friendly ways, they also have to be careful to watch for inaccurate or misleading responses to their queries.

And because AI systems often don't disclose how they came to a conclusion because companies want to protect the trade secrets behind how they work, they also do not tend to show as many raw results or source data as traditional search engines.

This means, according to Richard Lachman, they can be more prone to providing answers that look or sound confident, even if they're incorrect.

The associate professor of Digital Media at Toronto Metropolitan University's RTA School of Media says these changes are a response to what consumers demand when using a search engine: a quick, definitive answer when they need a piece of information. 

"We're not necessarily looking for 10 websites; we want an answer to a question. And this can do that," said Lachman, 

However, he points out that when AI gives an answer to a question, it can be wrong. Read the full story here.

Top dog

A man runs with a black poodle on a leash.

(Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Sage, a miniature poodle from Houston, Texas, won the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Tuesday night in New York City, besting six other finalists to claim the best in show title. Read more and check out our photo gallery here.

In brief

A loophole in the House of Commons' spending rules has allowed MPs travelling to party conventions to bill taxpayers for more than half a million dollars over the past year — even though House of Commons rules normally prohibit MPs from charging expenses linked to partisan political activity. Since May 2023, MPs have charged to the House of Commons $538,314 in travel, accommodation, meals and incidental costs associated with attending caucus meetings held in connection with party conventions — including more than $84,000 for travel by "designated travellers," often MPs' spouses. Expense claims filed to the Senate by seven Conservative senators for travel, accommodation and per diems added another $26,293 to the total. Read the full story here.

Thousands of residents in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta have been ordered to leave their homes as a wildfire burning southwest of Fort McMurray continues to draw closer to the community. Several neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray are being evacuated to make way for firefighters. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued the evacuation order Tuesday afternoon after declaring a state of local emergency. A wildfire threatening the community has now consumed nearly 21,000 hectares as shifting winds and rising temperatures continue to accelerate its growth and push the flames closer to the municipality. All residents in the evacuation zone were ordered to leave by 4 p.m. MT, the municipality said. Jody Butz, the regional fire chief, said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the order would affect about 6,000 residents, although he later clarified to Wood Buffalo council that there could be up to 6,600 people in the evacuation zone. Local roads and highways were choked with vehicles Tuesday afternoon as residents fled south. Read the full story here.

WATCH | Wildfires force hundreds to evacuate in northern Alberta and B.C.: 

Wildfires force hundreds to evacuate in northern Alberta and B.C.

30 days ago
Duration 5:39

Ontario hospitals with more than 35 per cent female surgeons and anesthesiologists had better patient outcomes, including fewer deaths, in the following three months after their surgery, according to a new study in Wednesday's British Journal of Surgery. "It's not only about equity and justice," Dr. Julie Hallet, one of the researchers, said in an interview. "It's really about increasing performance and providing better care, which is really what we should all strive towards." Overall, female surgeons performed 47,874 (seven per cent) of all surgeries in Ontario from 2009 to 2019. Female anesthesiologists treated patients in 192,144 (27 per cent) of operations. In industries ranging from finance to technology to law, gender diversity is considered a way to improve team output, thanks to the range of experiences and viewpoints each person brings. But less is known about the operating room. To find out more, Hallet, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Toronto, and her team from Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Laval, Que., looked back at a decade of administrative health-care data from more than 709,000 surgeries at hospitals across Ontario for adults having major elective surgeries, including cardiac, orthopedic and gastrointestinal. Read the full story here.

As a farmer in rural Saskatchewan, Barry Sawchuk is used to removing rocks and weeds from his fields. But he recently discovered a two-metre wide, 40-kilogram heap of twisted, burnt metal. "My oldest son and I were out driving around just checking fields," said Sawchuk, who farms near Ituna, Sask., about 250 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon. "We came across this object. We thought originally it was just garbage." Sawchuk said the multiple layers of charred composite fibres and webbing made him suspect it was space debris. A group of astronomy professors heard about the case and, after agreeing that it was space debris, decided to try to figure out where it came from. Based on the date and location, they connected it to a rocket from private company SpaceX that flew back in February. University of Regina astronomy professor Samantha Lawler, one of those working with Sawchuk, noted large chunks of metal from space have recently been found in Australia and Washington state, and one smashed through the roof on a house in Florida. Lawler said space launches and re-entries are now a daily occurrence, so the risk of serious damage or death is increasing rapidly. Read the full story here.

WATCH | Space debris lands in farmer's field: 

Saskatchewan farmer finds part of a SpaceX rocket in his field

30 days ago
Duration 1:53

Chances are you've heard of Baby Reindeer, even if you haven't watched it yet. Netflix's dark and buzzy series spent four weeks as the most popular show on the streaming service globally, and it was also the top show in Canada. The mini-series by Scottish comedian Richard Gadd centres on the main character's harrowing experience of being relentlessly stalked by a woman, which Gadd says is based on his own life. The show is making headlines not just for its popularity but for the wave of online detectives trying to identify some of the more unsettling characters it portrays, including Martha, the stalker. Now the supposed real-life "Martha" says she plans to sue, and Gadd has pleaded with fans to stop the sleuthing. Read the full story here.

LISTEN | How Baby Reindeer launched an online sleuthing nightmare: 

Evan Bouchard scored with 38 seconds left in the game to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday in Game 4 of their Stanley Cup playoff series. Edmonton's other goals came from Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. In his first NHL playoff start, Oilers' netminder Calvin Pickard stopped 19 shots. Conor Garland and Brock Boeser scored in the third period for the Canucks. Both teams now have two wins apiece with Game 5 set for Thursday in Vancouver. Read the full story here.

Now here's some good news to start your Wednesday: Although ice hockey season is coming to a close in Yellowknife, people are still playing hockey. It's just that they're playing it at the bottom of the pool. The CBC's Luke Carroll had a chance to strap on some fins and join a game of underwater hockey. Watch the video here.

First Person: I learned to push through pain watching my stoic dad on the farm. Now, I want to change

When Becky Zimmer reports on agricultural news and the importance of looking after the mental and physical health of farmers, she often sees her dad reflected in these stories. She wonders if the message would have resonated with him and hopes it also resonates with others. Read her column here.

Front Burner: The WNBA enters its Caitlin Clark era

As women's basketball phenomenon Caitlin Clark prepares to play her first game in the WNBA, we have a look at the league's Canadian expansion and what some are calling its golden age.

Today in history: May 15

1885: During the North-West Resistance, Métis leader Louis Riel surrenders in Batoche, Sask.

1919: The Winnipeg General Strike begins, resulting in about 30,000 people leaving their jobs.    

1941: New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio begins his record 56-game hitting streak. DiMaggio's record still stands. During the streak, he hit .408, with 15 home runs and 55 runs batted in.

1988: The Soviet Union begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, almost nine years after their invasion.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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