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Ben Reid

Encouraging more women into AI

Wow, it’s been a super busy month, as shown by the size of this month’s newsletter!

Visiting New Zealand for last month’s Digital Nations conference, we welcomed Tomáš Ižo, Engineering Director at the Google Research Machine Perception Group.  Tomáš presented to a full house in Wellington with a wide ranging talk covering technical and societal issues associated with AI.  This was followed by a lively Q&A session too.

No doubt, as you will have seen in the media, the team have been going all out preparing for AI-DAY 2018 on Wednesday 28 March, which is less than two weeks away now! We have been busy talking to some of the key speakers at the conference.   Check out these recent articles on AI-DAY’s key speakers Amazon’s Alayna Van Dervort, Soul Machine’s Greg Cross, Cacophony Project’s Grant Ryan and Orbica’s Kurt Janssen.  The full list of 22 speakers and sessions can be found here.  This is truly a landmark event in New Zealand’s AI story, so if you haven’t already secured a ticket, get in quick, there are still a few remaining.

Also, check out the newly announced AI-DAY Day 2 workshop programme, a unique opportunity to learn from AI experts from Microsoft, IBM, Soul Machines, Qrious and Pure Storage.  Even if you can’t make AI-DAY itself, you can book these workshops separately.

Last week, AI Forum member, Koren O’Brien of ANZ raised important issues about encouraging more women into the AI workforce.  Last year’s Digital Skills report found that, in New Zealand, only 36 percent of computer science students are female and a 2015 OECD survey found that only three percent of 15-year-old girls in New Zealand showed an interest in a tech career.

“We have this great new opportunity to make sure that as this next wave of technology, AI, heads toward mainstream, that it is a place where women want to be and can excel,” she said.  Read more here and let’s work together to help make this happen.

Finally, we are also managing the final stages of reviewing and publishing our New Zealand AI Impacts research report.  This comprehensive overview of New Zealand’s AI opportunities and challenges will officially launch on 2 May in Wellington, with events to follow in Auckland on 8 May, Christchurch and other centres.  Mark your diary, more dates and details to come soon.

I look forward to seeing you at AI-DAY!  If you haven’t sorted your ticket yet, don’t forget to take advantage of our 20% discount.

Best regards

Stu Christie
AI Forum NZ Chair

Last tickets available for #AIDAY18

Creative Realities event announced


Is your company on our AI ecosystem map?  If not, please email us.  Check out what is happening with AI Forum member, University of Canterbury’s, research into neuromorphic computer chips.  Read more here.

If you missed our event with Google’s Tomáš Ižo, read the highlights here.  Read MYOB’s special New Zealand report on Women in Tech.  Meet TechWomen’s newly appointed executive director, Edwina Mistry.

In the media this month; AI is on the rise and TradeMe is changing online shoppingSmartcarts also made the local news too.  Demand for AI talent means a bigger payday for graduates and New Zealand is trialling an AI border officer with the help of AI Forum member FaceMe!

To help everyone understand how AI can solve challenging problems, Google have created this resource, Learn with Google AI.  It also features a new, free course, Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC) providing exercises, interactive visualizations, and instructional videos that anyone can use to learn and practice ML concepts.Soul Machines digital assistants have made international news again, partnering with Daimler Finance and NatWest bank testing Cora.  

CBInsights recently shared their AI Trends to Watch in 2018, read their forecast here.  For game developers interested in AI, check out the winners of the first Unity3D ML-Agents Challenge.A special welcome this month to all our new members. If you would like to know more about joining the AI Forum, check out our joining page.

Want to know more?  Sign up for the AI Forum NZ update, it’s free and will take less than a minute!

Ben Reid I head up the AI Forum of New Zealand - working to harness the power of AI to help bring about a prosperous and inclusive future for New Zealand and the world. The AI Forum NZ brings together technology firms, businesses, universities and the government to connect, promote and advance the national AI ecosystem.