New Zealand govt sees urgent need to upskill in AI

Tuesday, 08 May, 2018

New Zealand govt sees urgent need to upskill in AI

An action plan and ethical framework are critical to ensuring that people are educated and upskilled on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

This is according to New Zealand Minister for Government Digital Services and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Clare Curran.

Curran spoke about the issue at the launch of the Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand report, which outlines the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand in adopting AI.

“An ethical framework will give people the tools to participate in conversations about AI and its implications in our society and economy,” Curran said.

“As a first step and because of the importance of ethics and governance issues around AI, I will be formalising the government’s relationship with Otago University’s NZ Law Foundation Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies.

“There are economic opportunities but also some pressing risks and ethical challenges with AI, and New Zealand is lagging behind comparable countries in its work in these areas.

“With many other countries already focusing on the strategic development of AI, New Zealand must be at the forefront of AI adoption as we strive to compete in the global marketplace.”

The report, commissioned by the AI Forum of New Zealand, provides the first current-state snapshot of New Zealand’s AI landscape, touching on the emerging uses of AI.

“This report shows that New Zealand has a small but flourishing AI sector, with innovative systems rapidly evolving at all levels,” said Curran.

“We must prepare for the ethical challenges AI poses to our legal and political systems. As well as the impact AI will have on workforce planning, the wider issues of digital rights, data bias, transparency and accountability are also important for this government to consider.

“This report creates an opportunity for business, government, academia and all Kiwis to join the AI conversation. Coming together to develop the right support and frameworks to grow our AI expertise will be critical to shaping our future.

“I look forward to these conversations and their contribution to a strategic approach to AI implementation in New Zealand.”

Image credit: © Bednarek

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