New Zealand Needs A National Strategy For AI

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New Zealand has an opportunity to create AI that not only
solves big problems at home, but that can also be seen as
technology that is good for the world, NZTech chief
executive Graeme Muller says.

Commerce and consumer
affairs minister David Clark will be opening
the Aotearoa AI Summit in Auckland on May 12. The major
event has attracted New Zealand’s leading AI scientists,
policy makers and tech entrepreneurs to review the rapidly
moving technology.

The minister will be sharing the
government’s thinking on a national AI strategy and other
speakers such as Jennifer Marsman, Microsoft’s
cognitive search principal engineer and Greg Cross, founder
of global leading AI company Soul Machines, will be
revealing insights on the pace of change driven by AI around
the world.

The summit is being used to feed into the
government’s work on developing an AI strategy for New
Zealand, something that countries leading in this field have
already established in recent years.

Canada has just
reinvigorated spending on AI in their latest budget with
$NZ489 million being invested over the next 10 years into AI
research and businesses.

Singapore’s AI strategy,
launched in November 2019, focuses AI development on
improving housing, transport, healthcare, education, safety
and security. Investing in research and businesses, which
can leverage AI technologies to rapidly improve the city,
environment and wellbeing for all Singaporeans, Muller
says.

Emma Naji, executive director of the AI
Forum NZ
says artificial intelligence and machine
learning technologies can be harnessed to help address some
of New Zealand’s biggest challenges and opportunities. The
AI forum is a not-for-profit, working with government on the
development of a national strategy.

“We can learn a
lot from other nations in how to leverage these technologies
such as AI, but with limited funding and resources New
Zealand has to be smarter and well aligned to get the best
impact, so a national strategy or plan is
critical.

“The AI summit will bring together the
largest collection of AI leaders and specialists the country
has seen. We will focus on identifying the best ways for AI
technology to help create a more socially and economically
prosperous New Zealand.

“An AI strategy is also
needed to help New Zealand consider how its AI will operate
within a global market.

“The European Union just
announced
proposed regulations that will require
companies providing AI in high-risk areas to provide
regulators with proof of its safety, including explaining
how the technology is making decisions.

“New Zealand
has an opportunity to create AI that not only solves big
problems at home, but that can also be seen as technology
that is good for the world,” Naji
says.

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