Tech Check Digest - August 6, 2021

We've checked this week's most interesting articles, events and watchables in the world of tech! On this digest, acquisitions, artificial intelligence and venture capitalists are on the agenda:


One of Australia's most popular fintech companies Afterpay to be bought by Square (owned by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame) via Guardian. In one of the biggest tech acquisitions in Australia, Square will acquire buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay for A$39 billion. Many tech industry contemporaries have applauded the transaction, demonstrating that homegrown startups can compete with Silicon Valley's best, while others have criticised the move as another entrenching of foreign-owned multinationals dominating the tech scene. 

AI can now be recognised as an inventor after historic Australian court decision via ABC News. Setting a groundbreaking precedent, an Australian court has decided that AI systems can be legally recognised as an inventor in patent applications. This raises implications for the agency and rights of AI vs. the humans that created them, and adds to the complexity of the already scantily regulated and ethically complicated world of machine learning and AI development. 

Almost none of the world's largest venture capitalist (VC) firms have adequate human rights policies in place (via Amnesty International). In the first comprehensive look at the human rights responsibilities of VCs, a new report by Amnesty found that only one firm of the 50 surveyed had human rights due diligence processes in place. This is significant given the decisive role that VCs have in shaping and investing in technological products and the future of technology.


Kate Crawford: Atlas of AI discussion (via University of Sydney). Dr. Kate Crawford, one of the world's foremost scholars on the social and political implications of artificial intelligence discusses her latest book and its findings.


How does AI work? (via ABC Radio National Nightlife). Genevieve Bell (Director of the School of Cybernetics and 3A Institute at ANU) joins Nightlife hosts Philip Clark to discuss AI and what it holds for us. 


Partnering with robots - how to reframe the coming robot revolution (via UNSW Centre for Ideas). Kate Darling, MIT Media Lab's resident expert in robot ethics joins AI professor Toby Walsh to unpack some of the biggest questions about our robot-filled future.