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Ben Reid

Applying AI for Social Good and Happy Summer Holidays!

Please join me in congratulating our new elected members who join the AI Forum’s Executive Council: Richard Green (University of Canterbury) Kari Jones (Air New Zealand), Rachel Kelly (Ethical AI), Ratneesh Suri (IAG), Louise Taylor (Simpson Grierson) and Ross Young (Google).
We are privileged to draw on such a huge pool of talent for the Forum’s governance. My sincere thanks to everyone who stood for election but wasn’t successful this time around. Please do continue your active participation and engagement in the AI Forum’s activities and be encouraged to stand again next year.

The AI Forum’s membership continues to climb, with an incredible 500% increase on member numbers since one year ago. In recent months we have welcomed more Kiwi organisations investing in AI including Air New Zealand, Inland Revenue, Plant and Food Research, Westpac and Zag. Soon, we will be introducing a new members only Slack channel as another way to directly connect our diverse and growing AI ecosystem.
This week I am on my last overseas trip of the year to attend Google’s AI for Social Good Asia Pacific Summit in Bangkok. The opportunities to apply AI for beneficial social outcomes have been gaining significant headspace worldwide throughout 2018:

As part of the AI Forum’s AI Strategy working group we have been identifying Grand Challenge areas where AI can potentially be applied here in New Zealand to help enable better outcomes in our part of the world. Just a few suggestions which are bubbling up include minimizing road fatalities, reducing prison incarceration rates and improving water quality. If you have your own ideas for how to apply AI to drive beneficial social outcomes for NZ, please let us know.
This is our last regular newsletter of the year, but the AI Forum team will hit the ground running in January as we launch into a full programme of collaborative working groups, research and events for 2019! Mark your diaries for our joint connect event series with FinTechNZ, plus AI-DAY Conference on March 27-28 at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland.
Best wishes for a relaxing and restorative summer break.
Ben Reid
Executive Director


Create connections in the AI and FinTech ecosystems. Save the date for our joint events with FinTechNZ on 14 February in Wellington, 21 February in Auckland and 27 February in Christchurch. More details coming soon.  

Register to attend Hack Aotearoa – AI in Healthcare conference, 18-19 January in Auckland. Includes machine learning, natural language processing and image recognition, using electronic health data.

AI Forum’s Ben Reid is presenting on the rise of AI at MobileTECH 2019, 3-4 April in Rotorua. Super early bird rates close on Friday. Check out the keynote speakers for the annual event which showcases tech transforming the primary sector.

What does the future of New Zealand’s public sector look like? Register to attend the Future Government Summit, 26-27 February, 2019 and help create a roadmap for the future. Includes GovTech, tech trends, innovation and more. 

In local news, the recent report on algorithms identified the need for more transparency, but does it downplay privacy, bias and ethical risks? EY’s Frith Tweedie explores the challenges. At last week’s official launch of Digital Identity NZ, Minister Woods said a trusted, secure digital identity is crucial for all New Zealanders. Join the digital identity conversation here.

In other news, AI has pivotal role in the delivery of disability support services say Australian researchers. Learn how AI automation could boost employment. Reading, writing and robots – what does an education system embedded with AI really look like? Read more here. Plus read McKinsey’s Applying AI for Social Good report.

Don’t build ‘just another chatbot!’ Instead, create a relevant experience says Emma Lavelle of FaceMe. One of the first question to ask in any chatbot journey is ‘what value does conversational interaction bring to this use case?’ she says.

Entries for the 2019 Hi-Tech Awards are now open! Check out thecategories and consider a nomination. Save the date for the 2019 Gala Dinner on 24 May in Auckland, during Techweek19.

Have your say and share your views on policy! Final submissions for the R&D Tax Incentive close 14 December. MFAT submissions for a post-Brexit free trade agreemen tclose 11 February, 2019

Would you like to be involved inTechweek19? Plan an event to inspire New Zealanders and build capability. If you would like to be involved in the programme highlights, apply before Friday.

Grow your business faster internationally. Registrations are now open for 2019 Export Essentials workshops throughout New Zealand.

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

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.