printer icon
AI Forum

Is New Zealand ready to trade in AI?

Kia ora,

It is important to help show how AI can be a friend, rather than foe. Storytelling is vital to share AI’s potential to change the way we care for fellow humans, reduce harm and increase success across many parameters. 

A recent example of AI’s power to provide previously impossible analysis is that of an NGO (working with local authorities) to rescue survivors from violence and oppression. They turned to AI, in an ambition to improve global recovery programmes and grow the people it helps twenty-fold, from 53,000 to one million by 2030. Data scientists accessed thousands of case worker reports, otherwise redundant when used at scale, to gain new insights into where change was needed. They discovered that timing of case workers’ intervention was even more important in a survivor’s recovery than previously realised. It found that the first 30 days are the most critical. According to the team’s model, if a survivor receives care within that time frame, they are 50 percent more likely to succeed in their recovery.

As we learn more of the significant advantages AI has to offer, we need to prepare New Zealand for its acceleration and safe, ethical use. The stars are aligning for 2020/21 to be the biggest years yet for New Zealand AI. Part of our ability to launch New Zealand AI onto the global market as a serious contender for economic and societal gains lies in how we safeguard and promote its use.

We are expanding crucial trading agreements such as the recently agreed Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) with Singapore and Chile. This is a significant opportunity for New Zealand to continue diversifying exports, especially as it has provisions for AI. Last week, negotiations for a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand were announced, with ambitions to tackle inequality, increase wealth and jobs through increased trade with a cutting edge focus to set a new global standard for digital trade. When it comes to AI, the UK is one of the most advanced countries and New Zealand is perfectly primed to advance trading in light of agreed frameworks and similar principles. The future is promising when we combine such trading agreements with our involvement with global collaborations like the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), which aims to realise the full potential of AI, benefitting all citizens. Canada and France are launching with New Zealand, Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, to support and guide the responsible development of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth. I will be joining the GPAI working group Innovation and Commercialisation, which in addition to my involvement with the OECD’s ONE.AI, I hope to channel important learnings and progress in both directions and am excited to be contributing to work focussed on inclusivity, wellbeing, sustainable, human-centred and fair development that is transparent and explainable.

Special thanks to those that joined us for our recent webinar Intelligent and Trustworthy Borders, we had a fantastic turnout and our panellists did an impressive job sharing valuable insights.

We are planning lots of events across Techweek2020 and TechweekTV, bringing experts from across New Zealand to discuss topics such as:

  • How can we build the New Zealand AI brand?
  • AI for Environment.
  • Māori and the Future of AI – in collaboration with Callaghan Innovation.
  • The role of AI for the future of Education – in collaboration with EdTechNZ.
  • Building Aotearoa’s Artificial Intelligence capability – in collaboration with AUT Ai Lab.

Please join us and if you would like to be involved please email me. If you would like to create your own event, please let the Techweek team know.

Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua.


To receive our full newsletter including additional industry updates and information, subscribe now

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.