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AI Forum

Groundbreaking research to measure AI’s impact on productivity

Everyone talks about the impact artificial intelligence is having in the workplace, but no one has been able to accurately measure this. That’s about to change, as AI Forum NZ partners with Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and Callaghan Innovation to launch the first of a series of quarterly surveys to measure AI’s impact.

AI Forum Executive Director Madeline Newman says the answers will give a good indication of how well AI can help address New Zealand’s dismal productivity record.

“As someone on the front line of AI I’m constantly asked for data to give meaningful context to the stories we all hear about Kiwis’ use of AI, particularly in the past 18 months when the technology has grown exponentially. But we don’t really know what impact AI is having in New Zealand workplaces, who’s using it and how.

“While there’s plenty of anecdotal information, no independent studies have been done. This isn’t an issue just in New Zealand – there’s also a scarcity internationally of academically-defensible, rigorous data.”

According to the Treasury, productivity growth averaged 1.4% annually in the 20 years to 2013, but only 0.2% in the past decade. In the year to March productivity went backwards, falling 0.9%. Several factors are likely to blame, including less innovation, weak investment and a slowdown in international trade.

The Productivity Commission reports Kiwi workers have been producing less for every hour worked than those in other OECD countries for half a century. The commission also notes the productivity challenge is not just about GDP numbers, it’s about having a better quality of life.

“We know AI is revolutionising most industries by automating tasks, optimising workflows and providing valuable data insights,” says Newman. “Used responsibly, AI can help create more time by taking over repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This allows workers to focus on more strategic and creative work.”

The results of the survey will help identify who’s using AI rather than just talking about it.

“Is it being used in the right way, is it working for our benefit, and is it helping to lift productivity?”

Businesses and organisations are being asked about their use of AI, in a short, easy-to-answer online questionnaire. Key questions can be answered anonymously and then, if respondents choose, they can share their stories about using AI. The first survey will provide baseline data which can be used by subsequent surveys to measure progress.

Newman says the research partners want to hear from as many businesses in as many sectors as possible.

“We also want to hear from those who aren’t using AI at all so we can identify these industries, explore the reasons why, and address potential concerns.”

The first, short survey is now open and participation from businesses across the motu is encouraged. Everyone is encouraged to share their experiences by 21 June. Anyone can access the survey through this link: ttps://

What does Newman expect to learn?

“Best case scenario, we may discover more people have adopted AI and are making productivity gains. If this is the case, it helps us show how Aotearoa New Zealand is taking advantage of AI and becoming more competitive.

“The worst-case scenario is slow AI adoption, apprehension and even blanket restrictions on its use. Given the AI genie is well and truly out of the bottle, this response would still help us gain a clearer understanding of what is needed to help people adapt.”Reports based on the survey findings will be freely available online. Learn more and take the survey here:

For more information:

Madeline Newman
Executive Director, AI Forum NZ
021 274 9778

AI Forum NZ is a not-for-profit organisation funded by members to harness the power of AI to enable a prosperous, inclusive and equitable future Aotearoa. The AI Forum unites the local AI community, including innovators, end-users, investors, regulators, researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and interested public.

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.