Act today to determine tomorrow’s AI future, says Royal Society Te Apārangi

Decisions taken today will determine the future impact of AI

Royal Society Te Apārangi is urging New Zealanders to reflect on what kind of AI-enabled future the nation wants, saying decisions taken today will determine the future impact of artificial intelligence on New Zealand society.

It has raised a number of questions around AI in a new report The Age of Artificial Intelligence in Aotearoa. According to Royal Society Te Apārangi the report “outlines what artificial intelligence is, how it is or could be used in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the risks that need to be managed to ensure all can benefit.”

The 20 page document has come from a project led by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) with input from Royal Society Te Apārangi and New Zealand experts that produced a 250 page report The Effective and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence: An Opportunity to Improve Our Wellbeing.

Professor James Maclaurin, a co-author on the ACOLA report and co-director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Public Policy at the University of Otago, said few jobs would be unaffected by AI and New Zealand would need safety nets and AI-aware labour laws.

“It is important that artificial intelligence can benefit everyone, not just a small number of companies or a small proportion of New Zealand’s population.

“At the moment, almost all of New Zealand's focus is on research into the development of AI, rather than on research into its impacts. That has to change.”

He said New Zealand needed to ensure safe and just use of artificial intelligence. “We can show international leadership, developing a mix of regulation, education, new business practices, even new institutions.

“The decisions we make now will determine our future, which is where human intelligence comes in. We have the opportunity to set a global example for responsible adoption of AI. With proper oversight, AI has the potential to enhance wellbeing and provide a range of benefits to all New Zealanders.”

The report identifies several sectors where AI is already being applied in New Zealand including an application to predict vineyard harvests, an AI tutor for high school students and the introduction of automated assistants in the banking sector.

It says applications under development include those for better health diagnoses, smarter management of resources such as water and fertilizer on farms or in the energy sector, faster identification of biosecurity threats and tracking of endangered species.

AI app to improve your state of mind…

New Zealand’s Resilience Institute says it has developed an AI app that can recognise and respond to a person’s state of mind and help them become mentally stronger.

The Resilience App is billed as a readily-accessible digital toolkit that guides users along a journey of self-development.

Read more: Westpac NZ to offer SME customers Aider AI assistance app

Resilience Institute CEO Brad Hook says he spent four years designing and building the app to complement the institute’s evidence-based resilience training programmes.

It features an AI chat assistant Hook said could connect with wearable trackers to provide personalised real-time resilience support.

“App users learn to build resilience through regular - and confidential - resilience assessments that measure 11 categories and 60 factors of resilience,” it said.

“The app then provides immediate access to relevant resources, including more than 70 micro-learning videos created by the Resilience Institute, which cover the science and practice of resilience and mental fitness.

 

“There are also weekly focus themes and a goal tracking tool that uses a simple emoji interface to help users track their progress.”

The app was launched earlier this year and the Institute says it has become a global platform for resilience assessments, training, and tracking with 7000 registered users across eight countries.

…And help with your make-up

Read more: Radiologists aim to be AI leaders

An Auckland ‘beautytech’ startup, Shook, says it is using IBM’s Watson AI to help people choose cosmetics by “look[ing] at factors such as skin type and concerns to match users to products based on real reviews.”

The app, also named Shook, is designed to replicate the assistance provide by in-store sales staff. Its developer claims it can help people figure out their skin type and undertones and factor in aspects such as the situation in which they will be wearing a product to determine whether the wearer will need certain factors, such as SPF protection.

Shook has the ability to match users to foundation, concealer, highlighter and mascara, and the developer says more products will be added.

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