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Techweek19 wrap up, adopting the Christchurch Call and three new reports by AI Forum members

Kia ora readers,

#Techweek19 Wrap Up
How’s your #Techweek19 recovery going? What an amazing week with over 600 events throughout the whole of New Zealand! Congratulations to Ali, Kelsey and the whole Techweek team for coordinating this ever-growing annual festival of tech. Hopefully you managed to get along to some AI-related events near you, learned something new and made new connections. In case you missed it, you can check out this panel discussion on TechweekTV – Real World AI and Machine Learning in 2019.

Congratulations also to all of this year’s Hi-Tech Award winners, with particular shout outs for our AI innovators: Cacophony Project (Best Hi-Tech Solution for the Public Good), Robotics Plus (Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau – Māori Company of the Year), PredictHQ (Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution and Most Innovative Hi-Tech Service) and also Greg Cross from Soul Machines who was inducted into the Flying Kiwis Hall of Fame. It was a big night out for New Zealand’s thriving tech sector and a great way to recognise all of the hours of hard work which goes into driving these successful businesses forward.

Adopting the Christchurch Call
Last week the AI Forum formally adopted the Christchurch Call for Action which directly addresses the issue of preventing terrorist and violent extremist content online. AI technologies will play a role in this and the AI Forum is here to promote debate on how these tools can be deployed safely and responsibly. In particular, we see that the Christchurch Call provides a template for how international tech companies, governments and importantly, civil society, can work together to proactively address the impacts of new emerging technologies – many of which cross international borders. An important moment, kudos to everyone involved.

Also, at the end of last week, 42 countries (including New Zealand) signed up to the new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence.

New Publications from AI Forum Members
Three significant new reports written by AI Forum members have recently been published:

Also, I’m happy to share some recent posts from the AI Forum’s working groups:

Tech Trends 2019
Finally, as if there wasn’t enough reading to do already, my mind was blown by the sheer scale of this recent report from the Future Today Institute: Tech Trends 2019 including a detailed analysis of 315 (315!) tech trends, a collection of weak signals for 2020 and more than 48 scenarios describing plausible near futures. AI figures strongly, take a look.

Ngā mihi nui

Ben Reid
Executive Director


JRNY have partnered with Youthline to launch their digital assistant, Sam. Sam will live within Facebook’s Messenger platform and on the Youthline’s website, and will help young people to navigate Youthline services and programmes.

Join AI Forum member FIRN Analytics for their Partner Day this Wednesday in Auckland. Speakers will discuss data driven culture and using data for better social outcomes.


It’s not too late to  sign up as ShadowTech 2019 mentor and inspire girls to consider tech careers. ShadowTech is running in Auckland, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin in June.

Attend the 2019 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, 10-13 June in Wellington. View the conference programme and preview lectures, plenary sessions, tutorials and workshops here.

In local news, deep fake videos could be the next social media minefield, new local research shows.

Express your interest in being part of the Government’s Advisory Group on Trusted Data Use.

In other news, learn how AI is helping cardiologists improve patient care, and how it can predict lung cancer. Plus, Towards Data Science’s mostly complete chart of Neural Networks, explained.

The Kiwi Landing Pad meets next month in Auckland for the KLP Summit. The summit focuses on helping startups grow product management, sales and marketing.  The three day event is aimed at startups at all stages.

Join EdTechNZ and TechWomen on 13 June in Wellington20 June in Auckland and 26 June in Christchurch to discuss how to achieve diversity in the tech sector.

The New Zealand Esri User Conference is 12–14 August in Auckland.

The 2019 NZ Cyber Security Summitis 15 October in Wellington.

Join Agritech New Zealand at Fieldays 12–15 June and at the Primary Industries New Zealand Summit and Awards, 1–2 July in Wellington. Register for updates.

Registrations for the Aotearoa New Zealand Data Science fund close 30 May.

Entries for the 2019 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards close 31 May. Applications for the Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience Grants close 31 August.

Entries for the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards (NZSEA) close 30 June.

Missed Techweek19? 

Watch the highlights on Techweek TV.

AI Forum The AI Forum brings together New Zealand’s artificial intelligence community, working together to harness the power of AI technologies to enable a prosperous, inclusive and thriving future New Zealand.