Biomimicry is the strategy of modeling designs and structures in technology after nature writes Isaac Maw for engineering.com Building a two-armed assembly robot to have wrist, elbow and shoulder joints, like a human, is a good example of biomimicry.
Worldwide, the value of the horticultural industry will increase with better pollination systems, robust quality control, better traceability systems, more cost-competitive practice and solutions for the difficulty of finding seasonal orchard crews.
The ethics of artificial intelligence will be critical to the success of AI going forward, a Microsoft leader and a keynote speaker at the AI Day event in Auckland next week says.
Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s AI Business, says that given AI has the potential to reshape not just industries and governments, but society as a whole.
“Working on the ethics of the use of AI, from the beginning, in key areas like transparency, accountability, privacy and bias will be crucial to the success of AI going forward.
“There is a strong focus on the ethical implications of the AI systems that are being built and deployed.”
The European Commission’s group on ethics in science and new technologies recently warned that existing efforts to develop solutions to the ethical, societal and legal challenges AI presents are a ‘patchwork of disparate initiatives’.
It added that uncoordinated, unbalanced approaches in the regulation of AI risked ethics shopping, resulting in the relocation of AI development and use to regions with lower ethical standards.
AI Day on March 28 is being organised by NewZealand.AI and the AI Forum NZ, which is part of the NZTech Alliance, bringing together 14 national tech communities, more than 500 organisations and more than 100,000 employees to help create a more prosperous New Zealand underpinned by technology.
Guggenheimer says one important element around the adoption of AI is the focus on having AI help to amplify human capabilities and allow them to do more versus simply replacing people and functions.
“As AI is adopted by various organisations we are starting to see a few trends occurring. We are starting to see a series of patterns emerge that cut across industries and geographies. These include:
“1. Business agents – that represents your organisation in interactions with your customers, employees and other businesses.
“2. AI assisting professionals – by helping them get the information that they need so they can focus on more value-added tasks. For example, a chief financial officer who gets AI generated forecasts so that they can focus on driving the business forward instead of number crunching.
“3. Tracking people and objects in space – so we can improve the safety, security and productivity of spaces that we work in. Proactively advising a worker that a box they are going to lift is too heavy based on accidentally putting too many items in the box is an example.
“4. Autonomous systems – that proactively improve resulting in increasingly stable systems. An interesting application of this pattern is self-healing networks that stop threats and re-route packets when a part of the network becomes slow.
“The beauty of these patterns is they can be applied to commercial entities and public-sector institutions, across the globe and across economies. We are seeing examples in agriculture, manufacturing, government, healthcare and many other areas.
“There are many areas where AI capabilities are working to copy human abilities, but in general these are done at an individual cognitive level today. Today there are standardised tests used to look at areas like speech recognition, image recognition, translation, machine reading comprehension and more.
The first real-world tests of 5G mobile technology in New Zealand have begun on the streets of Wellington. However, there are still a number of hurdles, both technological and bureaucratic, to overcome before consumer access becomes a reality.
Sometimes, to move forward, you have to go back to the basics—sometimes way back. SpinLaunch, a startup spaceflight development company, raised $30 million to fund a catapult system—not a flaming ball to capture the castle catapult system, but rather technology to launch cargo into space more cost-effectively.
The announcement of the world’s first self-driving electric air taxi being piloted in Christchurch is just one of the examples of New Zealand becoming a living tech laboratory, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller said today.
The Zephyr Airworks aircraft, financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, is a great testimony to responding to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, Muller says.
“New Zealand is a living laboratory and we see many other examples of Kiwi ingenuity being attractive to the global tech market, such as the Incredible Skies autonomous drone testing space in Northland where they are testing the delivery of medicine to isolated areas.
“Look at Rocketlab and its launches from Mahia Peninsula turning New Zealand into one of just a handful of nations to successfully put satellites into orbit.
“New Zealand is filled with innovative problem solvers who are growing in numbers and playing significant roles in the development of world-class technology. It’s in our DNA.
“Some of the world’s largest tech firms see New Zealand literally as a living laboratory.
“Facebook often carry out tests in New Zealand first before introducing new features.
“Fairly recently we have seen Apple purchase Kiwi company Power by Proxi for a seven-figure sum and continue to retain their research and development facilities here due to the depth of New Zealand has developed in wireless power.
“Christchurch-based Trimble, an international company headquartered in the US, listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, with an annual revenue of about $US2.3 billion and they have around 8500 employees worldwide yet continue to maintain a large R&D presence in New Zealand due to our world leadership in GPS and location data systems.
“The top 200 New Zealand tech exporters are now selling more than $7 billion a year into offshore markets while employing thousands of Kiwis here in New Zealand.
“New Zealand’s global reputation for technology leadership in space, GPS, artificial intelligence, IoT, agritech and creative technologies like AR/VR is strong and growing.
“Such is the attraction of our living laboratory that some of the AI leaders from the world’s biggest tech companies - such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft - will be in Auckland on March 28 to talk about artificial intelligence at AI-Day,” Muller says.
This will be followed in May by Techweek, a showcase of New Zealand best technology, attracting hundreds of international delegates and investors as well as an expected 30,000 locals.
Techweek runs from May 19 to 27 and includes nearly 400 events in more than 30 centres all over New Zealand from Northland to Otago.
In Phoenix, Arizona, cars are self-navigating the streets. In many homes, people are speaking to digital assistants, with the machines responding.
Smartphones and apps can now recognise faces in photos and translate from one language to another, to name a few other examples of artificial intelligence (AI).
A leading New Zealand geo-AI company, Orbica, says AI is here and it’s bringing exciting new possibilities. But how quickly will they overhaul the way people live and change the way they do business?
Much of the work that’s going into AI is behind-the-scenes with applications for organisations and robotics in the health sector, Orbica chief executive Kurt Janssen says.
Janssen is one of the speakers at the big AI Day event in Auckland on March 28.
“There are a few notable AI trends in the public eye though. Take for example Air New Zealand’s chat-bot Oscar and Ohmio’s self-driving buses. We’re going to see more companies taking advantage of this technology now and in the future.
“We can take advantage of AI solutions that are creating efficiencies around the world. But it’s more than that. New Zealanders are good at innovation and we have an opportunity to lead the world in the development of AI solutions. That’s what Orbica is doing.
“Environment Canterbury has supported Orbica’s research and development. They’ve been a test-bed for us and supported our vision.
“As Kiwis, the environment is always at the forefront of our minds whether it’s the built environment or the natural environment. Our geo-AI solution takes imagery collected by planes, drones and satellites and detects and classifies features such as building outlines, water bodies, trees and roads.
“It can be trained to identify pretty much anything. That means it’s possible to measure water bodies over time, forestation, desertification, informal settlements, roads. Imagine if you could map out the nameless roads of Africa or identify how to get disaster relief supplies to remote areas. You can’t manage feature detection of that scale without AI.”
AI Forum NZ executive director Ben Reid says AI will continue to make incremental inroads into the daily lives of all New Zealanders, saving people time and effort.
“We’re seeing things like shopping and movie recommendations which will get faster and even more accurate.
“Doorbell cameras can now automatically let delivery drivers into homes based on facial recognition.
“Right now, New Zealand needs to continue to invest in our talent pool: not just technical AI skills but also a digital literate workforce with soft skills, empathy and critical thinking.”
“Machine learning is the most in-demand skillset in the workforce right now and commands a premium salary. New Zealanders may not be aware that they can take world-class online AI courses for free? For example, Google launched their Machine Learning Crash Course a few weeks ago.
AI Day is being organised by NewZealand.AI and the AI Forum NZ, which is part of the NZ Tech Alliance, bringing together 14 tech communities, over 500 organisations and more than 100,000 employees to help create a more prosperous New Zealand underpinned by technology.
A world-first self-fitting hearing aid with a rechargeable battery and the ability to be set via a smartphone has been developed with the help of Australian Swinburne’s ARC Training Centre in Biodevices.
The NZ Transport Agency is looking for new and creative hi-tech ideas to help save lives on the road. It’s hosting a Hackathon – a sort of technology-driven brainstorming speed date - to bring together people with diverse skills, interests and perspectives to solve problems.
A researcher described as a hopelessly addicted inventor who is using artificial intelligence (AI) to find native bird predators such as rats, stoats and possums, will be an interesting speaker at AI Day in Auckland on March 28.