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Ben Reid

AI Forum Working Groups Underway

It was fantastic to bring the AI Forum community together for our inaugural Working Groups Summit on 14 September. There was so much productive energy in the room, the opportunity to make new connections and engage with other working group members. The Slack channels have been busy ever since as the groups embark on their work programme. We’re looking forward to seeing progress and the delivery of initiatives.

A big thank you to our hosts, ANZ for generously sharing their excellent conference facilities. We acknowledge ANZ’s significant ongoing contribution to the AI Forum’s work advancing New Zealand’s capabilities across the AI ecosystem. Thanks also to our keynote speakers Terah Lyons from the Partnership on AI and Glen Willoughby from NASA JPL/VUW for sharing their insights.

In other news, the AI Forum supported last week’s Waikato Dialogue symposium, a full day of discussions on emerging technology, international security and effects on New Zealand. Congratulations to Reuben Steff and Joe Burton for convening such an array of eminent speakers, including my highlight for the day, William Carter, Deputy Director of the Technology Policy Program at Washington DC think tank CSIS, who shared a masterclass on the strategic impacts of AI on international relations. He is the author of a ‘shadow’ Machine Intelligence strategy for the US, published earlier this year (well worth a read). It was a privilege to hear him speak in New Zealand.

This month, we have also been busy laying the groundwork for our 2019 research project, Towards Our Intelligent Future: New Zealand’s AI Roadmap. There are currently multiple partnership opportunities available. For more information on how your organisation can support this project, please contact

We’re also closing event partnerships for next year’s AI DAY 2019 conference on 28 March. The expanded 2019 programme includes a hackathon, exciting international speakers and  showcases the latest Kiwi AI innovation and thought leadership.  Early bird tickets will soon be available, so watch this space for event announcements.

The AI Forum will be holding our first Connect event in Dunedinon 30 October hosted at University of Otago. We are looking forward to hearing from AI researchers and the Centre for AI and Public Policy, as well as meeting the southern AI community. Registrations will open soon.

I will be speaking on AI in Education at the uLearn: Annual educators’ conference 10-12 October in Auckland. There are so many opportunities to use AI to improve learning outcomes!

Finally, the recent OECD publication Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2018: Preparing For The Future of Work provides more evidence that automation is creating more jobs than those lost on aggregate – but with big regional differences and jobs increasingly concentrated in a smaller number of regions. This will certainly provide fuel for policy makers.

Best regards,
Ben Reid
Executive Director

NZ Cyber Security – Explore the Issues

UpStarters – Share our Story


Attend Microsoft’s AI event, Future Now Conference 2018 on 25 October in Auckland.  Join the AI Forum’s Ben Reid at uLearn18 in Auckland, 10-12 October where he will discuss the opportunities and challenges of AI and their impact on education.

The 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence is 11-14 December in Wellington.  The AI Forum will be participating in a panel session on AI in Industry.  Join us and meet some of the region’s top AI researchers and technologists.

ACC has released an RFP for an AI Chatbot “to build a great digital experience for our customers connecting them seamlessly to information and services they need – when and wherever they need them.”  Closing date is 10 October.

In local news, with over 700 incidents in the last quarter, New Zealand is facing a growing number of cyber incidents as reported inCERT’s latest quarterly update.  CERT’s Cyber Smart Week is 8-12 October.  Check out their new resources and become an official partner.

In international news, new research suggests  AI can contribute $957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035.  BioTechNow reports on the boom of healthcare AI. To help scientists, journalists or anyone else find the data they need, Google has launched Dataset Search. Meanwhile, IBM has launched a tool aimed at detecting AI bias. The MIT Sloan Management Review reports how pioneering companies are aiming to scale AI for competitive advantage.

The OECD has published Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2018: Preparing For The Future of Work.  The report shows automation is creating more jobs than those lost. There is a higher risk of automation in rural areas and manufacturing sectors.  Read the report highlights here. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum reports on the many faces of the robot revolution as part of the Future of Jobs Report.

The AI Initiative has launched a $750K open call for proposals addressing challenges at the interface of AI and the news. Applications close 12 October. Also check out this new AI knowledge map for classifying technologies.

Read the Guardian’s recent interview with Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz where he 
discusses the impact of AI. The Royal Society and British Academy have produced an evidence synthesis on the impact of AI on work to support discussion and help inform policy debate.

Entries for Bright Sparks close 4 October and #TechRocketshipANZclose 23 November. Register your internship listing with Summer of Tech now.  The Flux Accelerator is currently accepting applications.

Save these 2019 event dates: Tech Marketers conference, 28 February,AI-Day  28 March and Techweek’19, 20-26 May.

If you’re not on the New Zealand AI ecosystem map, please email us to be included in the next update. Like what you’ve read? Receive your own copy, simply subscribe here.

Read Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand.

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.