Scientists create functioning brain cells using 3D printing: Hashtag Trending, Monday February 5th, 2024

Canada moves closer to the EU on addressing issues of digital technology. IBM demonstrates how deep fakes can be a new risk area, in what seems like a scene out of Die Hard, researchers show how a digital highjacking could happen and scientists use 3D printing to create functioning brain cells.

All this and more on the, “Master, I’ve got the brain” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US.

Listeners will probably notice that we cover a lot of stories about the EU and its legislation, partly because in key areas, the EU seems to be in the lead with its approach to regulating both AI and big tech – as opposed to the theatre that we see in the US government.

In a recent announcement, it appears that the government of Canada agrees with our assessment.

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, and the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton announced the implementation of a Canada-EU Digital Partnership, which was concluded at the Canada–European Union Summit 2023 held in Canada in November.

They issued this joint statement following their virtual meeting:

“The Digital Partnership will help the EU and Canada address new challenges in digital transformation that impact research, industry, society and the broader economy.

“It aims to focus on increasing cooperation on artificial intelligence (AI), quantum science and semiconductors; public policy related to online platforms; secure international connectivity; and cyber security. These priorities will be discussed at the officials’ level through a Digital Dialogue in February.

“On semiconductors, the EU and Canada intend to cooperate to address future disruptions in the semiconductor supply chain by exploring monitoring and early warning mechanisms. They intend to exchange information on public support to the sector.

“On AI, the EU and Canada intend to set up regular channels of communication and exchange information through workshops, including on AI governance and international standards.

“On quantum science, the EU and Canada will expand mutually beneficial collaboration to accelerate research, development and innovation while promoting jobs and the utilization of quantum technologies in the broader economy.

“On online platforms, the EU and Canada intend to continue to cooperate and exchange information on measures to ensure transparency, fairness and accountability and to make the Internet a safer and more inclusive place for users.

“On secure and resilient connectivity, the EU and Canada intend to exchange information to encourage the development of secure and high-quality connectivity. The partners will also explore actions to develop secure and high quality connectivity between Europe, North America and Asia, for example, potential routes in the Arctic or North Atlantic.

“On cyber security, the EU and Canada intend to collaborate on the implementation of cyber security regulatory frameworks, including in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and cyber security of products.

“On digital identity, digital credentials and trust services, both sides intend to promote interoperability through pilot projects.

It’s a lot to take in but this marks a big move for Canada to become a partner with the EU. There’s a link to the full announcement in the show notes.

Sources include: Cision (link to full announcement)

Just to show the contrast, here’s a story from over the weekend on US regulations.

In an unprecedented surge, AI-related lobbying efforts have skyrocketed by 185% in 2023, with over 450 organizations now actively participating in shaping the future of artificial intelligence regulation.

This significant increase, analyzed by OpenSecrets for CNBC, highlights the tech industry’s urgency in influencing policy amidst the Biden administration’s push for regulatory frameworks. Companies such as ByteDance, Tesla, and Nvidia, along with entities spanning sectors from Big Tech and startups to finance and academia, have joined the lobbying frenzy. This diverse coalition aims to ensure that forthcoming AI regulations foster innovation while addressing ethical and societal concerns.

The landscape of AI lobbying has evolved dramatically, from a handful of organizations before 2017 to a broad spectrum of industries now advocating for their interests. The collective lobbying expenditure topped $957 million in 2023, covering AI among other issues.

The U.S. government has responded with initiatives like President Biden’s executive order on AI, setting the stage for developing standards and assessments aimed at safe and equitable AI deployment. As the industry and policymakers navigate these complex discussions, the focus remains on balancing technological advancement with ethical considerations and societal impact.

Sources include: CNBC

IBM researchers have uncovered a new method for hijacking voice calls using generative AI, a development that could have significant implications for financial institutions and others who manage sensitive data. This technique, known as “audio-jacking,” allows cybercriminals to manipulate ongoing conversations by cloning voices and intervening in real-time discussions.

By exploiting low-cost AI tools, scammers can easily impersonate individuals, swapping out spoken content with fabricated responses. For example, during a conversation about bank accounts, an AI chatbot could substitute a victim’s bank account number with that of the attacker, diverting funds to the wrong destination.

The process begins with malware installation on the victim’s phone or compromising a voice-calling service, after which the chatbot scans for specific keywords to trigger the voice swap. Despite the potential for misuse, IBM’s experiment also revealed some hurdles, including delays in the cloned voice’s response and the varying quality of voice mimicry.

Cybersecurity experts caution that generative AI is making voice scams more believable, with some attacks requiring as little as three seconds of someone’s voice to create a convincing clone. However, the effectiveness of these scams can be mitigated by vigilance and simple verification techniques during suspicious calls.

Source include: Axios

In a scenario reminiscent of a movie plot, researchers have shown how criminals could remotely manipulate data in aviation apps, potentially affecting aircraft takeoff and landing procedures. This vulnerability, discovered in an app used by Airbus pilots, highlights the growing concern over cybersecurity in aviation. While the actual risk of exploitation is considered low due to specific conditions required for an attack, the study underscores the importance of securing digital flight systems against potential threats. Airbus has since addressed the issue, reinforcing the continuous effort to safeguard flight operations from cyber vulnerabilities.

Sources include: The Register.

In a groundbreaking development, researchers have successfully created the first functional 3D-printed brain tissue, paving the way for revolutionary advances in the study of the brain’s function and neurological disorders. This innovative work was conducted by experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where they developed printed tissue capable of growing and functioning akin to typical brain tissue. The primary aim of this 3D-printed brain model is to facilitate research into neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers highlighted the potential of this model as a powerful tool in understanding the communication between brain cells and various parts of the human brain.

The printed tissue, designed to be thin to ensure optimal nutrient and oxygen intake, allowed cells to form networks mirroring those in human brains. These networks facilitate active communication through neurotransmitters, enabling neurons to send signals to one another. Remarkably, the tissue incorporated different brain cells, such as those from the cerebral cortex and the striatum, which could interact in specific ways despite their distinct origins.

This breakthrough not only offers new insights into the complex communication and network development within human brain tissue but also stands to revolutionize stem cell biology, neuroscience, and our understanding of various neurological and psychiatric disorders. The precision of this 3D printing approach allows for control over cell types and their arrangement, a feature not present in brain organoids, which are miniature lab-grown organs used for brain research.

Source include: Interesting Engineering,

I’m not scared about this. Are you? I mean, what could go wrong?

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a daily news show and every Saturday, we have an interview show called the Weekend Edition.

We love your comments. Please let us know what you think. You can reach me at [email protected]  or leave a comment under the show notes at

I’m your host Jim Love, thanks for listening and have a Marvelous Monday.









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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Love
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

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