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Building Ecological Intelligence with AI

The AI Forum are thrilled to host leading AI experts Dr Will Koning and Professor Stephen Marsland who will be sharing their experiences and latest developments around Building Ecological Intelligence with AI.

The power of AI is known to be impressive, but even more so when it is applied to helping our environment. There will be networking opportunities before and after the event allowing our AI community to connect, collaborate and be inspired.


 5:00pm – 5:30pm – Networking

 5.30pm – 6.00pm –  AviaNZ: Making Sure New Zealand’s Birds Are Heard

Summarising the AviaNZ project, which produces open-source machine learning tools for bioacoustics, explaining why this is a difficult problem, and highlighting future plans.

Stephen Marsland, Professor of Mathematics and Data Science, Victoria University of Wellington

6:00pm – 6:30pm – Remote Sensing of Important and Invasive Plant Species using Machine Learning and High-Resolution Photography

Presenting the findings of an InnovateUK funded pilot to detect Ash and invasive species along highway verges using remote sensing and machine learning and how this approach could be beneficial in Aotearoa.

Will Koning, Head of Research, Keen AI

 6:30pm – 7:00pm – Networking and Close



Dr Will Koning

Will is responsible for DScience APAC including business development, and research at Keen AI.

Alongside his work at DScience and Keen AI, Will leads the Data Science team at Kantar New Zealand where he is responsible for analytics and data-driven strategy consulting.

Will is on the NZ Government Data Ethics Advisory Board, the I-COM Global Chief Data and Chief Analytics Officer Council and the I-Com Artificial Intelligence Sub-Committee.

Will gave the keynote presentation at last year’s Government Data Summit and led the workshop at the Government Digital Transformation Conference.

Will has a PhD and an MRes in Mathematical Modelling of Biological Complexity from UCL and an MSc and first class Honours degree in Zoology from University of Otago.

His scientific research has made the cover of Nature, the World’s leading scientific journal.


Stephen Marsland

Professor of Mathematics and Data Science in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, where he leads the AviaNZ research group that develops theory and practice bioacoustic analysis(www.avianz.net<https://www.avianz.net>).

Prior to that he was Professor of Scientific Computing at Massey University, where he started in 2004 following postdoc positions in the US and Europe. Stephen is a theme leader (for the Complexity, Risk, and Uncertainty theme) in Te Punaha Matatini, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence in Complex Systems, a Fellow of the New Zealand Mathematical Society, and a Director of the New Zealand Mathematics Research Institute. He has a degree in mathematics from Oxford University and a PhD from Manchester University.

Stephen’s research interests are interdisciplinary, lying primarily in the theory and applications of differential geometry. His pure mathematics work is particularly focused on generalised Euler equations as geodesics on diffeomorphisms and information geometry, while the applications of interest lie in the uses of geometry in ecology (particularly bioacoustics) and the theory of machine learning.

Stephen is a 2021 National Geographic Explorer. He has also been funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, the National Science Challenges on Biology Heritage and Science for Technology Innovation, and the Department of Conservation. He has been a Visiting Fellow at many international research centres.



Apr 20
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Grant Thornton
Level 13, 215 Lambton Quay
Wellington, Select a State: 6021 New Zealand