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AI Forum

Aotearoa, a trusted place to use, create and innovate with human-centred AI

It’s wonderful news that the National AI Strategy has been approved to move into the next phase of development. This is an important milestone for all of us in the AI community. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the AI Forum will be conducting industry engagement during the round table sessions at the Aotearoa AI Summit in March.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to contribute early on in the development of New Zealand’s first AI strategy. Please have your say, share your expertise, experience and help guide this significant opportunity to shape and define our AI future.

Artificial Intelligence and associated emerging technologies are playing an increasingly significant role in modern life, offering extraordinary opportunities for human development and innovation. AI is projected to underpin $US15.7 trillion of global economic growth by 2030.

The potential economic and social contributions of AI are significant, but New Zealand is behind its peers in building the ecosystem necessary for AI to be harnessed in a beneficial and equitable way. If the right cornerstones are not put in place to help businesses develop or adopt AI, New Zealand will miss out on opportunities to increase productivity, develop new products, meet customer needs and solve societal problems.

It is vital that industry help prioritise and steer focus areas, so we will be asking for your help during the Aotearoa AI Summit. Engagement will take place in five round tables, designed in alignment with the five proposed cornerstones of the strategy:

  1. Preparing the Workforce

Artificial Intelligence will have an impact on New Zealand’s workforce and productivity.  We need to understand its implications on New Zealanders, and equip our workers, present and future, with the necessary digital skills to be a part of the AI economy.  Our aim is to see an AI-capable population and workforce who are prepared for and welcoming of technological change.

  1. Investment in the AI Economy

Investment in New Zealand’s AI economy will help grow capability, stimulate entrepreneurship, boost competitiveness and attract global AI investment and talent.  This will raise our productivity and position New Zealand’s economy and society for the future.  Our aim is to support our AI sector to grow and become a strong contributor to our future prosperity and wellbeing.

  1. Human-centred and trusted AI

Artificial Intelligence must be a trusted technology! The willingness to use AI must come from a clear understanding of the benefits and implications of the technology. It is essential to gain confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place to mitigate risks. We will develop/adopt appropriate ethical and regulatory frameworks and standards for the use of AI and make sure we clearly address any ethical or social challenges. AI development will be centred on our people, serving their needs and upholding values that matter to them. Our aim is that all AI innovation and adoption across New Zealand is done safely and ethically, with the full support and trust of New Zealanders.

  1. Enabling Foundations

A flourishing AI ecosystem requires a set of solid foundations to support it. These foundations will also include supporting a collaborative, open and creative environment that prioritises innovative working. It is also essential to ensure Treaty principles underpin all aspects of AI work. Our aim is for businesses to be supported to grow and use AI in a flexible operating environment with strong foundations.

  1. Uniquely New Zealand

A country’s domestic context influences the AI that it develops and exports.  New Zealand will build on its brand of innovation, ethics and inclusiveness to develop and market a strong, globally recognised brand for our AI products. We will ensure different worldviews and a sound ethical base in the development and implementation of AI. We will leverage our relative small size and collaborative nature to transform conceptual ideas into commercial opportunities ready for implementation. Our aim is for New Zealand’s businesses to be internationally recognised as developers of safe, innovative and creative AI that recognises the value of inclusion and diverse voices.

We invite all our startup members to participate in the virtual Startup Alley at the Aotearoa AI Summit, where you can showcase your business and engage with delegates. We are launching Startup Alley both virtually and at the in-person event, so stay tuned for more information. This is possible, with thanks to our sponsors Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP). Established by the Government in 2002, the NZGCP invests in early stage Kiwi tech companies with high-growth potential. NZGCP plays a role in market development to further develop the breadth of the skill base in New Zealand and hope to help showcase and foster the talent of Kiwi innovation at Aotearoa AI Summit.

Partnership and collaboration are key to Aotearoa realising the vast potential of AI and associated technologies, so I was very pleased to read about PlantTech Research Institute and New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) partnership to accelerate innovative research.

Myself and the AI Forum Executive Council are looking forward to meeting you in person at our Summit, so don’t miss out and please be sure to register before we sell out!

Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua.


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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.