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AI Forum

AIFNZ News, Events & AGM

E tūtaki ana ngā kapua o te rangi, kei runga te Mangōroa e kōpae pū ana || The clouds in the sky gather but above them extends the Milky Way.

This Māori proverb speaks to the wonder of what lies beyond. Similarly, our ability to harness the true problem-solving power of AI lies in our imagination. Breakthroughs in technology are achieved on the back of diverse schools of thought, perseverance and determination. I know many of our members are using AI to solve complex problems, whether that be within big business, SMEs or start-ups.

One of our key objectives is to support those that have taken up the challenge of applying this powerful technology. To that end, AIFNZ has partnered with the Women in AI Awards 2022 (WAI), a trans-Tasman affair that honours Australian and New Zealand women in AI. I have agreed to become the co-chair, through which I want to bring a Māori and Aotearoa perspective. We are encouraging the Aotearoa AI community to nominate deserving females that showcase our local talent. For more information about this fantastic event head to the WAI website; remember, looking beyond the clouds is something we want to celebrate!

As we approach our annual meeting, AIFNZ is calling for nominations for our Executive Council. Specifically, we are seeking committed individuals to help expand our growing AI economy. Every member of the Executive Council plays an incredibly important and valuable role as we focus on delivering the strategy set by our team – whether that be providing AI insights, leadership or your specific skill sets. The following categories are open for election as seat terms expire:

  • Corporate – Major (four positions)
  • Corporate – Other (one position)
  • SMEs & Start-ups (one position)
  • Education (one position)

Nominees must be from an AIFNZ member organisation and drawn from the sector they intend to represent. All nominations must be entered into the online form by 5pm, Tuesday 12 October 2021.

Congratulations to our own Christopher Laing on being selected to join the NZTech Board, we know from experience he will bring a lot to the team. Chris joins Mahsa Mohaghegh who we are also fortunate to have on our team.

An update on our pending Environmental AI Report: early stages are progressing well thanks to the support and expertise from Matt Lythe who has stepped up to help manage the project. Matt brings a wealth of expertise in this sector and we’re very fortunate he is helping to steer such an important project to both the AI Forum, but also to our future Aotearoa.

In this month’s round-up of AI news:

United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has called for an urgent moratorium on the sale and use of AI systems that pose a serious risk to human rights. “Artificial intelligence can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the great challenges of our times. But AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights,” Bachelet said.

The UN also published areport analysing the impacts of AI on the right to privacy, health and education.

Scientists have had an AI breakthrough that could mark a new era of cancer treatment. A team of computer scientists, doctors and data analysts at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, used AI to create a new drug regime for children with a deadly form of brain cancer that has not seen survival rates improve for more than half a century.

Greek authorities have employed AI to curb COVID. Between August and November 2020, front line workers used an algorithmic system dubbed ‘Eva’  to determine which travellers entering the country should be tested for COVID-19. Results showed machine learning was two to four times more effective at identifying asymptomatic people than random testing.

The UK has launched its first AI Strategy with the aim of  “signal[ing] to the world our intention to build the most pro-innovation regulatory environment in the world; to drive prosperity across the UK and ensure everyone can benefit from AI, and to apply AI to help solve global challenges like climate change.”

As we get closer to producing our own National AI Strategy, it is vital the AIFNZ network lead conversation around national goals for data-driven innovation. As a key partner to MBIE in the development of the strategy, we will be seeking your input and tapping your knowledge.

Kia mau te tūmanako me te whakapono. In these uncertain times let’s hold fast to hope and belief.

Nāku noa

Megan Tapsell

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