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AI Forum

Let’s keep connecting

This week during Techweek2021, we are hosting a lively discussion about ML Ops with two Titans of data science and machine learning on TechWeek TV, tomorrow at 2.30pm. Watch it here

Christopher Laing of Qrious and Chris Herrmann of Sportsflare talk ML Ops: What is it? Should everyone do it? How? Which ancient Roman statesman would have done it the best? 

To kick off our season of regular Connect Events across New Zealand we are hosting two events in June:

  1. Women in AI for Social Good – Tuesday 8 June  in Auckland. 
  2. AI in the Classroom – how can we work together to achieve the best outcomes for students? Tuesday 15 June in Wellington.

Naturally, I am thrilled to see an all-female panel at the Women In AI event and we hope this will be the first of many collaborations with She#to raise the profile of women in AI to inspire more into the field. Why? Because women account for less than 25 percent of the AI workforce!

Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh and I will be joined by a special panel of women:

Kirrily Denny is Head of Conversation and Persona Design at Soul Machines. She plays a pivotal role in shaping compelling digital interactions, by crafting engaging conversational experiences for our state of the art Digital People. 

Heather Gadonniex is passionate about bringing world changing technologies to market and scaling social impact, serving as the VP of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Sama, a leading San Francisco based machine learning company focused on producing high quality training data for the world’s leading AI teams. Heather is an active member of Partnership on AI, including spearheading work to create guidelines for ethical data sourcing and enrichment. 

Nicola McLay is the co-founder of, an award-winning company that has pioneered thinking around the need for machine learning systems to be culturally intelligent and inclusive. 

Jacqueline Comer is co-founder and chief product officer of Areto Labs, a social enterprise that uses machine learning to build more positive and inclusive online communities. Areto Labs have created a Twitter probot called ParityBOT_NZ, which uses NLP to combat toxicity directed at women election candidates.

Jean Yang is the VP and co-founder of the Onit AI Center of Excellence. Jean worked as a lawyer before becoming the COO and VP of Legal at McCarthyFinch, a legal AI venture that was acquired by Onit.  While there, she helped build the business from infancy to acquisition and lead product and technology development. Jean was named Emerging ICT Leader of the Year 2019 and is a founding executive of LegalTechNZ.

It is going to be a fantastic event and a great opportunity to create some new connections. 

I am sure many of you will have seen the news of Australia’s recent budget announcements, including AUD$124.1 million investment in AI including the creation of four AI and Digital Capability Centres, and a National AI Centre, and grants to businesses to help the Government with AI solutions. It’s a telling investment that the Australian Government is serious about AI!

Meanwhile, Researchers at Stanford University have used AI and a brain-computer interface (BCI) device (which detects brain signals for intended movement and translates them into commands) to enable a man with full-body paralysis to communicate via text. The researchers placed BCI chips on the man’s head, which detect the neural signals for hand movement, and used AI to convert these signals into typing motions on a screen keyboard. The researchers were able to generate 18 words per minute, which is only five words fewer than the average person typing on a smartphone.

Earlier this month, we hosted theAotearoa AI Summitin Auckland, bringing together academia, Government and industry. In case you missed our epic event, we’ve put together some key points here. A highlight was the industry engagement and I look forward to keeping you updated in the weeks and months to come. A huge thank you to all of you who contributed. We are in the process of collating all your feedback and planning more opportunities to engage. We would like to hold additional sessions, both virtually and in person across Aotearoa, so we can continue the co-design process.

Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua.


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