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AI Forum

Two weeks to go!

I can’t be more excited that we are just two weeks away from the Aotearoa AI Summit and with no current community cases of COVID-19 so we can meet in person!  Check out the programme and the impressive speaker line-up here.                             

On Wednesday 12 May, Minister Clark will open the Summit by discussing the importance of a national digital and AI strategy which will impact everyone in our community.  

Why is a national AI strategy important?  Because “it will allow New Zealand to agree what is most important to us, provide a coordinated approach to the adoption and use of AI in our country, and showcase our own New Zealand brand on the international AI landscape”.

As previously mentioned, we are also hosting industry engagement roundtables for the national AI strategy during the Summit.  This is the first opportunity for industry to engage and help steer our national strategy, so I encourage you to be actively involved.  

In preparation for providing feedback and sharing your views, you will be able to pre-register for roundtables on the proposed cornerstones you are most interested in.  Soon, you will be invited to register in the event app.  Please register promptly, because the roundtables will be booked out on a first come, first served basis. 

In preparation for your feedback MBIE have provided this summary, outlining the need for a strategy and the proposed cornerstones; please take the time to read it so we can optimise our industry engagement on the day. 

Last week, we hosted two Connect Events and it was great to come together in person to learn more from experts and practitioners applying AI to real problems.  We have many events like this planned for the coming months, so we can look forward to creating more connections.  

We are also wanting to hear from women in AI, especially if you are working in and around social good.  If this is you, or you know of someone, please email me at

Big news from the European Union (EU) in the last week, as the EU Commission has proposed the first ever legal framework for AI and demonstrated their ambition to take a leading role on the global stage. 

“Faced with the rapid technological development of AI and a global policy context where more and more countries are investing heavily in AI, the EU must act as one to harness the many opportunities and address challenges of AI in a future-proof manner. To promote the development of AI and address the potential high risks it poses to safety and fundamental rights equally, the Commission is presenting both a proposal for a regulatory framework on AI and a revised coordinated plan on AI,” says the Commission.

The release of this proposal further demonstrates the need for our own national strategy and the importance of our Academia, Industry and Government co-designing our strategy.

Meanwhile, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new technique to rapidly predict materials properties such as stress and strain using machine vision and learning.  The team used Generative Adversarial Neural Networks trained on paired images, one depicting a material’s internal microstructure subject to mechanical forces, the other depicting the same material’s color-coded stress and strain values.  Using game theory principles it could evaluate relationships between the geometry of a material and its resulting stresses.  Imagine the time saving across many areas or design and inspection this could save?

Congratulations to NZTech for being named a finalist in the New Zealand 2021 Hi-Tech Awards for the best contribution to the New Zealand Tech sector, alongside Microsoft.  Check out the other finalists here.

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.