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AI Forum

Two new AI Forum reports released / Human Compatible AI / Changing of the guard


Two new AI Forum reports – AI for Health and AI for Agriculture in Aotearoa

The AI Forum continues to publish the outputs of our research programme. Two new reports AI for Health in New Zealand / Haoura i te Atamai Iahiko and AI for Agriculture in New Zealand / Ahuwhenua i te Atamai Iahiko explore in depth the AI opportunities for New Zealand’s crucial health and agriculture sectors.  Continued thanks to the AI Forum’s research programme partners for their foundational support to enable this work.

AI Forum radio and podcast interviews

AI Forum Executive Council members Christopher Laing (Xero) and Michael Witbrock (University of Auckland) were recently interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on RNZ’s Nine To Noon show, listen to  AI: two years for NZ to get it right.

Meanwhile, I was interviewed at length by the Spinoff’s Russell Brown in the latest episode of the Microsoft ‘Artificial Intelligence – Actually Interesting’ podcast series: The cancer-fighting, wildlife-protecting, life-saving power of artificial intelligence. The conversation covers many of the AI for Wellbeing bases from the AI Forum’s Towards Our Intelligent Future report.

Human Compatible AI

Eminent AI professor and researcher Stuart Russell has published his long-awaited new book Human Compatible.  In this groundbreaking book he argues that deep concerns about future conflict between humans and machines can be avoided, but only by rethinking AI from the ground up. He lays out a new approach to AI that will enable humans to coexist successfully with increasingly intelligent machines. One for the Xmas gift list!

Changing of the guard

On a personal note, it is now exactly three years since I was first involved in conversations about growing New Zealand’s embryonic AI sector. Time has flown by since then, but looking back, I’m incredibly proud of the AI Forum’s achievements since we formally established the association in 2017.  In particular, advocating for strategic AI investment and growth in New Zealand, hosting two major AI-DAY conferences to bring our diverse community together and delivering on our ambitious research programme. 

However, it’s now time for me to begin a new career chapter.  From this month, I will be stepping down from my responsibilities with the AI Forum. It has been a privilege to hold such a varied and interesting role and to engage with so many intelligent and impactful individuals from all around Aotearoa and around the world. I would like to thank all AI Forum members and in particular Chair Stu Christie, NZTech CEO Graeme Muller and all Executive Council members past and present, for your supportive engagement, expertise and advice during my time with the Forum.

I am absolutely delighted to be able to congratulate Emma Naji who has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the AI Forum. Emma has been strongly involved with the AI Forum’s activities and working groups over the last year and brings a deep career background in technology, data science and AI to the role. We have been working together behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition and I am incredibly excited by Emma’s fresh new insights and vision to take the Forum forward into its next phase of development and growth.

Thank you once again and I look forward to crossing paths again in the future.

Ngā mihi nui


Member Spotlight

Congratulations to Iris Data Science for receiving a Callaghan Innovation grant to help prototype its sheep facial recognition tech.

It’s only a matter of time until deep fake scams hit New Zealand, says Louise Taylor of Simpson Grierson. Read more.

News and Events

Save the date for the Artificial Intelligence in Insurance report launch on Thursday 21 November in Auckland, registrations open soon.

Be part of the movement using AI in health. Register to attend the AI Symposium on 20 November in Hamilton. 

Meet Flying Kiwis and young achievers.  Attend the NZ Hi-Tech Awards alumni event and launch event on 27 November in Auckland.  Also, 3 December in Wellington and 4 December in Christchurch.

In local news, New Zealand’s first Bachelor Degree course in Artificial Intelligence is now accepting enrolments for 2020. Following a local pilot, IMAGR’s first international rollout is scheduled for May 2020. Meanwhile, Waikato data scientists have been awarded $13 million for new research and Artificial intelligence helps to identify South Island kōkako calls.

Meet the Chasm Institute’s Mark Cavender at NZSA on 11-12 November in Auckland. Meet Ginni Rometty at the IBM Cloud Innovation Exchange on 12 November in Sydney.

Attend SWITCH Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology 11-13 November. Watch the new #TechWomenNZ online series here.

The AI Forum’s new Executive Council will be announced at our Annual Meeting on 14 November.  Please register to attend this members only event.

Save the date for Artificial Intelligence in Banking and Financial Services report launch on Wednesday 27 November in Wellington, registrations open soon.

Registrations for Hack Aotearoa: New Zealand’s Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Conference and Datathon, are now open.

Access your 10 percent member discount for Advancing Digital IT and Law, 25-26 November and  Advancing Women in Technical Industries and  Roles, 25 November, both in Auckland.

In other news, Xero launched the 2019 Small Business Wellbeing in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. As a result, Xero is extending their employee assistance programme to all of their customers, their customer’s employees and their families.

Register to attend evening sessions on the Xero Small Business Roadshow touring now until 5 December. No registration required for daytime drop-in sessions. Find your location here.

Empower our next generation of environmental innovators.  Applications for #cprize2019 close on 8 December. Have you joined the free online platform Scale-Up New Zealand?

2020 dates: The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems is 9-13 May. The AI for Good Global Summit is also scheduled for May.

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.