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Ben Reid

More kiwis buying into AI!


As our research project progresses, emerging international data is providing key comparative insights into rates of AI adoption in New Zealand. For example, the recent report Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence highlighted that:

  • Almost 85% of executives believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
  • Only one in five companies has incorporated AI in some offerings or processes.
  • Only one in 20 companies has extensively incorporated AI in offerings or processes.
  • Less than 39% of all companies have an AI strategy in place.

It will be illuminating to see how New Zealand compares, especially given our smaller scale, so please take the opportunity to participate in our research by completing our short online survey.

The international AI conversation on developing public policy and national strategy continues. This article, How Governments Are Preparing For Artificial Intelligence outlines the policies and initiatives underway by Canada, China, Japan, UK and the USA.  Also worth reading are recent contributions to the debate in South Korea and Australia.

If you haven’t read it already, The 2017 Tech Manifesto – New Zealand’s Digital Future states a number of important goals for our incoming Government. In particular, ‘The establishment of a dedicated Ministry For The Future, focused on positioning New Zealand and all Government agencies and society to take advantage of a technologically enabled future’.  Watch this space…

Next week, I am attending the inaugural Partnership on AI workshops in Berlin, Germany. The international organisation, founded earlier this year by major tech companies was established to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society. Themes for next week’s working groups include:

  • Safety critical AI
  • Fair, Transparent and Accountable AI
  • Collaborations between people and AI systems
  • Social and societal influences of AI
  • AI, labour and the economy
  • AI and social good.

I am looking forward to engaging with the global AI community and international thought leadership on crucial AI related issues which affect New Zealand as much as any country in the world.

Meanwhile, check out local AI events happening around New Zealand, including a special event on AI in Health: Balancing the use of data with privacy, featuringvisiting Microsoft global Strategic Policy Advisor Dave Heiner.

Best regards

Ben Reid
Executive Director

Save the date for #AIDay2018
28 March 2018, Auckland

Attend AI in Health
17 November, Auckland


Please save the date for our Christmas drinks; 30 November in Wellington, 6 December in Auckland and 7 December in Christchurch. Connect, network and toast the year that was!

Chatbot Tuesday is 7 November in Auckland. The Christchurch AI meetup is 14 November. The final #AIHappyHour for the year 16 November in Auckland.

This week we hosted our Connect Event in Wellington with a panel discussion on ‘AI – what should New Zealand be doing about it?’ Read the highlights here

Wellington has joined the City.AI community, attend their first event on 15 November. If you missed the AI discussion at the Canterbury Tech Summit watch it online.

In local news, Air New Zealand introduced us to Sophie, a digital human created by Soul Machines. Meanwhile, at New Zealand company Wine-Searcher, Martin the chatbot will make personal wine recommendations.

Earlier this week, AI Forum’s Ben Reid said, more kiwis are buying into the benefits of AI and it will soon have a profound impact on our economy, society and institutions. Read what he had to say here.

Driverless cars have been in the news again, with a focus on reducing the road toll. Michael Cameron’s research on realising the potential of AV’s was also recently featured in The NZ Listener.

Are you keen to collaborate with tech innovators on R&D in Europe? EPIC is accepting applications for European travel funding. Applications close 15 November.

Want to know more?  Sign up for the AI Forum NZ update, it’s free and will take less than a minute!

Ben Reid I head up the AI Forum of New Zealand - working to harness the power of AI to help bring about a prosperous and inclusive future for New Zealand and the world. The AI Forum NZ brings together technology firms, businesses, universities and the government to connect, promote and advance the national AI ecosystem.