Piracy site-block expansion to search engines passes Parliament


Australia's Parliament has passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018, with the federal government saying it will enable rights holders to better fight copyright infringement. The Australian government introduced the new legislation in October, proposing to expand piracy site-block laws from carriage service providers to online search engine providers. The Bill will also allow faster blocks of mirror sites, reduce the burden of proving that a site is hosted outside of Australia, and expand the legislation to sites that not only have the "primary purpose", but also to those that have the "primary effect" of infringing copyright. "The government has zero tolerance for online piracy. It is theft, and damaging to our creative economy and local creators. We are committed to protecting Australia's creative industries and the world-class content we produce every year," Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said.

Bringing Anzac Heroes to Life with AI Chatbots on Facebook


Curious to know what an Australian soldier fighting in WWI had for brekkie? Now you can ask him yourself, along with anything else that comes to mind. The Wizeline bots team has partnered News Corp Australia to launch the AnzacLive chatbot, an innovative way to share history with a modern audience. The chatbot was created to commemorate Anzac Day, which recognizes the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. in WWI -- namely the historic battles of Fromelles and Pozieres in July 1916. How did our bots team create a cross-century AMA? Journals from one of the soldiers, Archie Barwick, have been powered by technology.

Machine learning will scale personalised customer interactions: Flamingo


Following a successful listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on November 17 with a market capitalisation of AU$23 million, conversational commerce company Flamingo is now looking at Australia as a key market, with online lending marketplace DirectMoney being announced as its first local client. Born in Australia and based in the US, Flamingo is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides an "intelligent guided selling platform" to help financial services firms address the problem of low online sales conversion rates. Currently, the average online quote-to-sales conversion rate in the US insurance industry sits between 1 and 3 percent, compared to 20 to 60 percent conversion in call centres. "The reason for this is that buying products online such as financial services is enormously complicated and customers have a large tendency to abandon doing things online and eventually will go to a call centre or to a broker," Flamingo founder and CEO Dr Catriona Wallace said at a media and investor meeting last Wednesday. "One of our large US clients report that within the first 90 days that a new customer comes on board, 80 percent of those customers will call the call centre four to five times because they don't understand what they've bought.

Queensland government to inject AU 1m into drone technology


The Queensland government has announced a AU 1 million investment in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) technology, expected to benefit the LNG, agriculture, mining, energy, telecommunications, search and rescue, and environmental management industries. In addition to the cash injection, the state government has partnered with aerospace giant The Boeing Company, in conjunction with Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific, Shell's QGC project, and Telstra to further the drone research. Local small to medium-sized businesses specialising in related technology such as aerial photography, surveying, product development, and training for drone operators will also be consulted as part of the venture. "The project aims to capitalise on the capabilities inherent in drones to carry out remote-monitoring and inspection of key infrastructure and data analysis to allow for better decision-making," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement. In addition to creating 500 new jobs, Palaszczuk said she expects the technologies to be developed will include an improved airspace situational awareness prototype system that will enable the safe operation of RPAs over a broad area, as well as tools for enhanced data analytics.