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AI Forum

Exploring AI Adoption in Aotearoa

At our recent event Exploring AI Adoption in Aotearoa New Zealand, we brought together a panel of distinguished speakers to discuss the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in New Zealand. The session provided a comprehensive look at how AI can be effectively and safely implemented in various sectors. This included addressing both the opportunities and challenges faced by organisations. 

“It was a very balanced discussion featuring insights from government, industry perspectives, and governance,” says AI Forum’s Executive Director, Madeline Newman.

“Together, they provided valuable insights into effective and safe AI implementation strategies for businesses and governments. They also shared key lessons from global organisations’ AI adoption.”

Microsoft’s Dee Templeton, Vice President of Partnerships and Operations in the Technology and Research division, played a pivotal role in the discussion. Known for her work in developing the OpenAI partnership, Dee shared her journey from being the first female technical employee at Microsoft New Zealand, to her current role as a strategic advisor to the CTO in the United States. She emphasised the importance of fostering a supportive, open and inclusive team culture, which has been integral to her leadership. She discussed the importance of collaboration between different sectors to leverage AI’s full potential and ensure its benefits are widely distributed.

New Zealand Government’s Deputy Chief Digital Officer Ann-Marie Cavanagh shared a crucial government perspective. She underscored the high level of cross-agency interest in AI within the Government. Ann-Marie emphasised the need for robust governance frameworks to ensure AI technologies are deployed ethically and responsibly.

Auckland University’s Michael Witbrock is optimistic about the rapid advancement of AI , driven by significant demand for better problem-solving capabilities. He highlighted New Zealand’s potential to effectively integrate AI, leveraging its adaptive culture and addressing the country’s productivity crisis. He envisions an intelligent ecosystem where AI complements human intelligence, significantly boosting productivity. He also says New Zealand has the opportunity to lead in using AI for the betterment of humanity, including achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Dee and Ann-Marie were joined by Aware Group’s Brandon Hutcheson, demonstrating the practical impact of AI technologies in real-world scenarios. He discussed the latest advancements and opportunities for Aotearoa, including live implementations with measurable benefits. Brandon also showcased how New Zealand can harness AI to drive innovation and improve productivity in various sectors, including healthcare and agriculture.

Exploring AI Adoption in Aotearoa’s key takeaways include:

  • Collaboration is crucial
    Effective AI implementation requires collaboration between government, industry and other stakeholders. This ensures an approach addressing technical, ethical and societal considerations.
  • Ethical deployment
    Governance frameworks are essential to ensure AI technologies are used responsibly. This includes addressing data privacy, bias and transparency.
  • Measurable benefits
    Case studies of AI implementations with measurable benefits can help build trust and demonstrate the value of AI. 
  • Supportive culture
    Fostering an inclusive and supportive team culture is vital for the successful deployment of AI. Diverse teams bring different perspectives which can help drive innovation and improve outcomes.

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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.