Bright future for NZ businesses embracing AI

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by Kip Brook - 11 May, 2017

 

The future is looking bright for New Zealand businesses when they begin integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and new technologies into products, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

A recent United States survey found 80 percent of consumers are excited about the way AI and machine learning will change their lives. US consumers are optimistic about technology developments in smart machines, AI, and robotics.

The report from global creative consultancy firm Lippincott surveyed 2000 leading edge US consumers to determine their emotional state around technology, and draw conclusions about what the customer of the future will be looking for from businesses.

Techweek discussing AI implications

A number of events are being held this week, as part of NZTech’s national Techweek, to discuss AI and its implications. Techweek includes nearly 260 events in 27 centres from Whangarei to Hokitika.

A series of lectures and discussions will be held at the University of Auckland Business School tonight discussing breakthroughs in AI that are transforming customer expectations and interactions. Another key event look at robotics, automation and technologies of tomorrow will be held at Auckland’s Tech Futures Lab tomorrow morning.

Muller says machines that mimic cognitive functions which humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem solving, are said to be exhibiting AI.

“New Zealand needs to seriously and swiftly embrace artificial intelligence (AI) as an extraordinary opportunity. AI already has a growing effect on Kiwis’ daily lives. Its potential impacts are profound. In the near future, it is likely to drive – at an unprecedented pace – highly disruptive change to the economy, society, and institutions.

“AI will raise major social, ethical and policy issues in almost every sector. It is critical for New Zealand’s sake that we actively consider, lift awareness of and prepare for the changes AI will bring.

NZTech supporting AI

“Following the release of the Chapman Tripp and Institute of Directors report last year and an initiative within the NZ Angel investor community a national working group into the impact of AI has formed with the underlying support of NZTech.

“Designed to be a centre of gravity for all things AI in New Zealand the group already includes key government agencies, universities and tech firms which are working together to ensure AI creates a better New Zealand.

“The future impacts on the economy and society will be significant and disruptive. Governments, businesses, investors and research institutes around the world are applying ever-greater time and effort into developing and deploying the next generation of AI systems and considering the implications for policy and regulation, he says.

“AI is globally-relevant and cutting edge. Nobody has a monopoly on the unique knowledge, impact and possibilities it presents; and nobody can predict with any certainty how AI will transform our future. But we can be sure the reach of AI will continue to grow and at an increasing pace.”