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Ben Reid

Infrastructure of the Future


I’ve had a busy few weeks taking part in diverse AI related meetings around the country.  A highlight was the workshop hosted by Victoria University of Wellington with the UK’s Dr Gavin Starks, founder of the Open Data Institute: Data is the Infrastructure of our Future – How Do We Design For It?   Gavin talked about examples of open data initiatives he has helped to lead in the UK including the Open Transport API and the Open Banking Standard.  The phrase ‘Infrastructure of the Future’ really resonated with me.  How do we frame up investments in Data and AI capability in the same way as we talk about roads, ports and electricity networks?

We have had an amazing response to our request in the previous newsletter for Expressions of Interest to join the AI Forum’s new working groups:

Theme 1:  Forging a Coordinated AI Strategy for New Zealand

Theme 2:  Creating Awareness and Discussion of AI

Theme 3:  Assisting AI Adoption

Theme 4:  Increasing Trusted Data Accessibility

Theme 5:  Growing the AI Talent Pool

Theme 6:  Adapting to AI effects on Law, Ethics and Society

If you haven’t already, please complete this short online form to register your interest by 30 June.

We’re now working to ensure that these groups are up and running quickly and efficiently with AI Forum Chair Stu Christie leading the working group establishment process.  Further details on next steps will be shared shortly.

Finally congratulations to NZTech Chair, Mitchell Pham, Rocketlabs’ Peter Beck and New Zealand AI Innovator Soul Machines’ Mike Sagar who last week received a  Kea World Class New Zealand Award  at a gala dinner in Auckland.  It was a privilege to attend the awards event along with the Executive Directors of the New Zealand Tech Alliance communities – once again more evidence of how rapidly the New Zealand tech ecosystem is reaching the entire economy and becoming fundamental to our future.  Congratulations also to Soul Machines for their selection in the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers Cohort 2018.

Best Regards
Ben Reid
Executive Director

Registrations now open for 12 September summit!

Discover our Tech and Innovation Story


Join the AI Forum’s Connect events in Wellington on 24 July, Auckland on 7 August (new date) and Christchurch on 8 August.Attend The Future of Work: Human/AI Potential with Dr Vivienne Ming on 4 July.  Her keynote is followed by a Masterclass on 5 July, bookable separately.Hear AI Forum’s Ben Reid at the IoT Waikato Future Tech meetup on 26 June in Hamilton.  Join another #AIHappyHour on 26 July in Auckland for the AI Showcase event.   Register for one of NZTE’s forthcoming Export Essentials Workshops, hosted throughout New Zealand.

In local news, radiology centres are trialling AI diagnosis.  New Zealand’s HMI Technologies/Ohmio has signed a $20 million investment deal with Chinese city, Heshan.The Copyright Act is currently under review and any future changes will have an impact on emerging technologies and how we respond to them.  The AI Forum team has been in contact with the review team and once their Issues Paper paper is released in July, we will discuss options for wider conversation with members. You can find out more about the review here.

Read University of Waikato’s Dr Reuben Steff latest post on the implications of emerging technologies.  Watch this space for details of the New Zealand symposium: Implications of Emerging Disruptive Technologies for International Security. In other news, AI is being used in China to help ensure pigs are active, produce lean bacon, and deliver more offspring.  Meanwhile, AI is set to disrupt the pesticides industry with autonomous weeding robots. 

Read this overview from the Economist on AI improving medical treatments and check out Singapore’s AI plans here.Google has published its new AI Principles; be socially beneficial, avoid bias, be built for safety, be accountable to people, incorporate privacy, uphold scientific excellence.  Meanwhile, the  UK’s Alan Turing Institute has defined eight research challenges to drive its data science and AI research.

Unsure where or how AI applies to your company? The McKinsey Global Institute found more than 400 real life examples where AI can improve long standing business challenges.  Also watch videos from Techweek’18 on how AI can impact government service delivery.

To support New Zealand business and Government commit to digital transformation, the TechLeaders Executive has published Digital Principles.  The principles help organisations embrace a digital future and evolve digitally.The Partnership on AI has launched a new website. The PAI’s first three working groups were also recently launched: AI, Labour and the EconomyFair, Transparent and Accountable AI, and Safety Critical AI.

Check out FaceMe’s Victor Yuen’s guest blog post on the AILE working group launch in New York.Save the date for AI-DAY 2019 on 28 March.  Register here for event announcements.   The 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence  is 11-14 December in Wellington.The AI Forum’s New Zealand AI ecosystem map now includes 142 organisations.  If you’re not on the map, please email us.Read Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand here

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.