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Ben Reid

Shaping A Future New Zealand

In case you missed it, earlier this month, we launched our research report Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand.  If you haven’t already, please download the report here.

Following its publication, the Forum is now gearing up for the next phase. We will be establishing several new workstreams to help deliver the report’s recommendations, working with private, education and the public sectors. This is your opportunity to be more involved in the Forum’s work and effect change in New Zealand’s AI ecosystem.  If your organisation isn’t signed up yet as a member, please join to be part of our 2018 programme. We are also looking at offering some internship opportunities starting in June, if you are interested please contact us.

Our report has received plenty of media coverage and stimulated debate on social media.  Check out some of the commentary;

RNZ Morning Report:  NZ businesses seriously lagging behind on AI
RNZ Business:  NZ Inc urged to get organised to meet AI challenges
Rod Oram in Newsroom: NZ not ready for the rise of the AI machine
Katie Kenny in Stuff: While artificial intelligence is tipped to be ‘as significant as electricity’, it’s not coming for your job, yet.
Simon Shepherd on TV3:  Only 10 percent of jobs will be lost to AI – report
Researcher Matt Boyd:  The good, the bad and the ugly!

I look forward to catching up with AI Forum members at the  Showcasing New Zealand Tech  event tomorrow and also check out AI highlights during Techweek’18 including:

Also, a special mention to AI Forum members FaceMe’s Victor Yuen and ANZ’s Koren O’Brien who recently travelled around the world to New York and London respectively to attend Partnership on AI working groups on Labour, the Economy and Safe, Accountable AI.  It’s essential that New Zealand is involved in these important international conversations.

Finally, if you have a moment, please take time to read AI luminary Kai Fu Lee’s recent conversation with We Are Here To Create.  This discussion distils many of the current themes about AI’s impact on society, but above all how AI affects human agency and purpose.  A great read!

Best Regards
Ben Reid
Executive Director

Next week! #twnz18

Inspire the next generation


Google’s recent Duplex demo showing what’s now possible with human level conversational AI has been received as an incredible engineering achievement.  It has also raised ethical concerns relating to machines impersonating humans – @a16z’s Benedict Evans predicts Captchas for phone calls in the near future!

Join us for Showcasing New Zealand Tech tomorrow in Christchurch to celebrate the launch of AIFNZ’s research report.  Plus the latest from EdTechNZ, FinTechNZ, NZIoTA, NZTech and TechWomen.

This week, RNZ reported that Supermarkets in NZ using facial recognition tech.  A good time for our chair Stu Christie to facilitate a panel discussion in Otago, AI and Computer Vision applications, impacts, ethics.  In other local news, listen to AccessGranted’s podcast with Ben Reid on AI here.

Canterbury University Lecturer Olivia Erdelyi recently wrote, Artificial intelligence is changing our lives and now is the time to decide how.  She was also a panelist at PwC HeraldTalks Business and Bots, alongside AI Forum members Josh Comrie ( and Asa Cox ( AI-Day 2018?  Watch the keynotes and presentations here

Register here for  AI-DAY 2019 announcements.  The next #AIHappyHour is 20 June in Auckland.  Check out New’s interview with Ben Reid.

The 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence will be held 11-14 December in Wellington and is currently calling for submissions.  Also check out the stellar lineup at this year’s COGx conference in London next month June 11-12. Worth a trip.

The 2018 Hi-Tech Awards  shines a spotlight on diversity.  Register for the Alumni event on 24 May and the Gala Dinner on 25 May, both in Christchurch.

Be involved in ShadowTechinspiring girls into tech.  Sign up as a mentor; 21 May in Wellington, 22 May in Christchurch, 23 May in Auckland, 25 May in Palmerston North, 7 June in Hamilton and 26 June in Dunedin.

Is your company on our AI ecosystem map?  If not, please email us.  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.

Join us for the official opening of Techweek’18 at the Good For the World Open Days on 21 May in Auckland.  Check out the headline events and highlights here.

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.