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AI Forum

Partnership on AI enters third year / AI Forum Talent Employer Survey / TikTok’s AI Strategy

Kia ora readers,

The AI Forum’s Working Group on Growing the AI Talent Pool has produced the recent findings of its New Zealand AI Talent Employer Survey.

Over the last few months, the working group team carried out interview surveys of firms working with AI in New Zealand, with four high level themes emerging:

  1. Growth in Demand for AI Talent
  2. Emerging Recruitment Challenges, Especially at the Top End
  3. Low Diversity of the Current AI Workforce
  4. Few Plans for Training and Educating Current Staff.

The survey clearly illustrates the issues that organisations using AI today face in attracting and nurturing AI talent – and developing diversity in the AI workforce. There are lots of detailed observations in the report and if you are responsible for AI hiring, I recommend you take a read. Kudos to the working group team Matt BoydMatt BartlettGerald MinneeLouise TaylorMike WattsBrendan McCane for pulling it all together.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see the Government’s Service Innovation Lab producing much needed technology foresight work to help inform future public policy and investment. Check out the recent Emerging Technologies Landscape poster.

Since our last newsletter, I have been to the other side of the world and back, (flight-guilt included), to attend the third Partnership on AI (PAI) all-partners meeting, this year held in Shoreditch, London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ district. At this gathering, 11 new partners were announced, bringing PAI’s multi stakeholder coalition to 100 organisations, representing some of the world’s leading academics, civil society organisations, technology companies, nonprofits and policy groups, active on five continents and in 12 countries (including New Zealand). It was educating to hear the results as PAI has doubled down on its research streams over the last year. The theme of how civil rights principles are now being applied to ensure beneficial AI came through in many presentations. One of the highlights was a fireside chat between PAI Executive Director Terah Lyons and Deepmind founder Demis Hassabis (as pictured above) during which a new research fellowship was announced to investigate Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in AI. I encourage any AI Forum members who are interested in participating in the PAI’s events and research during 2020 to please contact us so we can facilitate introductions to the PAI team.

Finally… as a dad of three teenagers, I have become very aware of the phenomenon that is TikTok (known as DouYin in China), the new social media platform of choice for under 25s. Owned by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok uses powerful AI algorithms to process videos which are uploaded and optimize its feed/advertising algorithms. Aside from the fact that TikTok is addictive (the average user spends 52 minutes per day on the app) there are concerns about its ability to control inappropriate content which is being uploaded and replayed to its many young users. Jason Davis of INSEAD provides more analysis in The TikTok Strategy: Using AI Platforms to Take Over the World. Definitely worth a read.

Ngā mihi nui



Welcome to new member Datamine, who use data in business decision making. View their AI and Analytics Technologies Spectrum 2019 here.

Ambit has partnered with Reobot to create a conversational chat experience to help Kiwis improve and practise te reo Māori.  Read more.


Discover how AI is transforming healthcare at the AI Forum’s launch of our AI for Health in New Zealand Report on 22 October in Auckland. Save the date for AI for Agriculture on 30 October in Christchurch.

This year’s TIN Report celebrates 20 years of tracking Kiwi companies.  Join us at the 2019 TIN Report Launch and Awards on 31 October in Auckland.

Meet Flying Kiwis and young achievers. Attend the NZ Hi-Tech Awards alumni event and launch event on 27 November in Auckland. Also, 3 December in Wellington and 4 December in Christchurch.

Access your 10 percent member discount for Advancing Digital IT and Law, 25-26 November and Advancing Women in Technical Industries and Roles, 25 November, both in Auckland.

Recruiters are using AI and facial analysis to help select the best job candidates. AI pioneered in Australia, can now help increase IVF success rates and remove human bias.

Register to attend evening sessions on the Xero Small Business Roadshow touring now until 5 December. No registration required for daytime drop-in sessions. Find your location here.

Are you secure online? Make sure of it. CERT’s Cyber Smart Week is 14-18 October. Also attend the 2019 NZ Cyber Security Summit and 2019 NZ Digital Identity Summit, next Wednesday in Wellington. 

Attend SWITCH Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology 11-13 November. Watch the new #TechWomenNZ online series here.

Empower our next generation of environmental innovators. Entries are now open for #cprize2019.  Applications close 8 December.

Nominations for the AI Forum Executive Council close on 17 October. Online elections will follow and the new Council will be announced at our Annual Meeting on 14 November. Please register to attend this members only event.

2020 dates: Register your interestMedCan 2020 on 19 March. The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems is 9-13 May. The AI for Good Global Summit is also scheduled for May.

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.