The Artificial Intelligence Forum of New Zealand (AI Forum) announces the appointment of Emma Naji as its new executive director. Emma is a computer scientist and brings a 20 year entrepreneurial career spanning tech, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. She created one of the earliest, and still thriving commercial drone companies in the United Kingdom (UK). Emma arrived in New Zealand a few years ago to build a Wellington based AI startup which led to her founding the AI Advisory.
Emma takes over from outgoing executive director Ben Reid who is moving on to pursue a new challenge in the New Zealand technology sector.
“I am absolutely delighted that the AI Forum has managed to appoint someone with Emma’s capability and experience. It is no easy task to find someone like Emma, when the pool for such talent is so much in demand. But more importantly, I am confident that Emma’s fresh insights and vision, coupled with her empathy and appreciation of the needs of not only our members, but also the nation at large, are just what we need to navigate the country through this next phase of AI adoption,” says AI Forum Chairman Stu Christie.
“It is an honour to pick up the AI Forum leadership baton and continue to empower our diverse and innovative membership to realise New Zealand’s tangible opportunity to become a world leader in collaborative, inclusive, transparent and creative AI for humanity,” says Emma.
The AI Forum is a purpose-driven, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is funded by members. The association was founded in 2017 and is part of the NZ Tech Alliance working to help make New Zealand more prosperous underpinned by technology.
“We will continue to connect, facilitate and promote at a very high standard of quality, but I feel a new season of doing is vital and I would like to help take the AI Forum on a journey from think-tank to do-tank with our collective mind and experiences,” she says.
The AI Forum has cultured a balanced and inclusive community of innovators, end users, investor groups, regulators, researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and the interested public to work together to find ways to further enable a flourishing AI future for our nation.
“Across the AI Forum ecosystem there isn’t much we don’t collectively know, or are willing to find out about AI. We are well positioned to assist New Zealand in strategising, implementing and increasing safe, beneficial and mindful AI.”
“Intelligent Futures 2020 is going to represent some exciting new directions based on our extensive research over the last 3 years and I am very proud to be part of the teams delivering a new approach to events focussed on ‘doing’ – I can’t wait to announce more!” says Emma, ahead of the AI Forums next major event.
“Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua”
(I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past)