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Ben Reid

Six new AI Forum working groups announced – time to join!

Last month, it was great to connect with so many smart and dynamic people at Techweek’18 events up and down the country. My personal highlight was the AI in Business panel discussion at ProjectR in Wellington, hosted by WREDA. The quality of discussion and experienced insights from panelists Ana-Maria Mocanu, Asa Cox, Shaun Ryan and Kurt Janssen moderated by Callaghan Innovation’s Jonathan Miller was light years ahead of where we were just a year ago. It highlighted how far New Zealand’s AI knowledge has come in a short time and is a reason to be optimistic about the future.

Following the recent release of our research report Artificial Intelligence – Shaping a Future New Zealand, the AI Forum is establishing six New Zealand-focused working groups to begin addressing the recommendations. Representation on the working groups is open to all AI Forum members, providing a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the national AI conversation. It enables collaboration on shared goals with other members from public, private and education sector organisations to work together developing New Zealand’s AI capabilities. The working groups will follow these themes:

Theme 1: Forging a Coordinated AI Strategy for New Zealand
Theme 2: Creating Awareness and Discussion of AI
Theme 3: Assisting AI Adoption
Theme 4: Increasing Trusted Data Accessibility
Theme 5: Growing the AI Talent Pool
Theme 6: Adapting to AI effects on Law, Ethics and Society

These are in addition to the recently established AI Forum working groups aligned with the international work of the Partnership on AI: AI, Labour and the Economy and Fair, Transparent, Accountable AI.

To express interest in getting involved and joining one or more working groups please complete this short online form.

Meanwhile, please mark your diaries for our next round of AI Forum Connect events in Auckland on 3 July, Wellington on 24 July and Christchurch on 8 August. We will share more information on our event speakers soon and look forward to connecting with you and the local AI community.

Stay warm!

Best Regards
Ben Reid
Executive Director

Meet the 2018 winners

Introducing UpStarters


Attend the quarterly Wellington.AI 3.0 gathering on 13 June in Wellington and listen to speakers discuss managing an AI workforce and a non-AI approach to AI.  Attend the Christchurch Business AI Workshop: Solving Real-world Business Problems with AI on 19 June.  Join the #AIHappyHour on 20 June in Auckland.

During the last month, AI ethics and policy implications have been at the forefront in New Zealand.  Minister Clare Curran announced an audit of all algorithms in use across government.  This was accompanied by a call for tech firms to do the same. Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford says the benefits of new tech need to balanced against the risks.  

In other news, transparency and trust are vital for AI to succeed says IBM and AI Forum’s Issy Fernando.  There’s also still time to provide feedback on the  Open Data Charter Refresh. And hot off the press, Google last week announced their AI Principles. Jean-François Gagné has published the 2018 overview of the maturing Canadian AI ecosystem, which provides insight and direction for New Zealand.  

Eager to kickstart its AI industry, South Korea (population 52 million), has released an ambitious national plan to invest ₩2.2 trillion (US$2 billion) by 2022 to strengthen its AI R&D capability.  Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is optimistic about the future and is positioning itself as a world leader in AI.  Learn about their AI roadmap here.

Congratulations to AI Forum member Otago University for the successful launch of the new Centre for AI and Public Policy.  Congratulations also to NZTech Chair, Mitchell Pham and Soul Machines’ Mike Sagar who will receive a Kea World Class New Zealand Award on 21 June at a gala dinner in Auckland.  

Save the date for the 2018 CanterburyTech Summit!  This year on 12 September, registrations open soon, AI will be a key theme.  Also, 28 March for AI-Day 2019. Register here for event announcements.   The 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence  is 11-14 December in Wellington.  

Attend the CIO Summit on 13-14 June in Auckland.  For a 10% discount, use the promo code: MO4KO4.  For $99 off the TechTeam Pass, use this code: MK4KCO. Join TechWomen at the 4th Annual Women in Leadership Conference, 18-19 June in Auckland.  Speakers include Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley, Hilary Barry and Xero’s Anna Curzon.

Save the date for the AI Forum’s Connect events in Auckland on 3 July, Wellington on 24 July and Christchurch on 8 August.

 Is your company on our AI ecosystem map?  If not, please email us. We currently support 58 members and this month welcome new members  including Providore Gifts, Spark and Talent Vault.  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.