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.
GREENVILLE, S.C., March 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — ACL Airshop LLC of the US and CORE Transport Technologies, Inc. of New Zealand continue rolling out their innovative, field-proven Bluetooth® enabled logistics technology to the global air cargo industry.
This March and April, an international team of researchers will install monitoring equipment inside an active fault zone off the coast of New Zealand, in the Ring of Fire, in the first-ever scientific drilling mission specifically designed to study slow earthquakes.
How New Zealand can meet the challenge of feeding some of the predicted global population of 10 billion by 2050, will be a major focus at a Techweek event in Tauranga in May.
World-leading meat, dairy and horticultural industries have established New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of food.
But NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says the country’s collaborative agricultural ecosystem is shifting its efforts to developing sustainable ways to feed the world.
“Will the future of food production rely on robots and data, or a global consumer shift toward alternative proteins? These are just some of the agritech issues that are so important for New Zealand’s economy that will be discussed in Tauranga on May 23.”
Techweek, which is being run by NZTech, is a major nationwide festival of tech and innovation events held in many towns and cities around the country.
Muller says exploding populations, sustainability and increasingly unpredictable climates are some of the problems agriculture is facing globally which require urgent answers.
“Alternatives to traditional food sources and farming methods are revolutionising the way we think about feeding the world,” he says.
“New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of high-quality meat and dairy products affords us opportunities as the world’s boutique farmer, which New Zealand agritech companies are leveraging in all sorts of imaginative and inspiring ways.
“New Zealand’s agritech sector which adds billions of dollars annually to the gross domestic product will be showcased on May 23 as part of the massive national Techweek festival this year.”
He says New Zealand’s primary industries are the backbone of the country’s economy and integrating them with technology is the future for a prosperous nation.
“New Zealand agritech, such as herd improvement software, pasture mapping and management are being merged into on-farm practices, maximising increases in productivity and profitability for the benefit of all Kiwis.
“Technology has major potential to support higher productivity and more sustainable use of natural resources in farming. It’s great that government has a technical advisory group to advise the Ministry of Primary Industries on how to accelerate the use of smart agriculture technology.
“Reigniting primary productivity in the rural sector is critical for both farmer profitability and New Zealand’s global competitiveness. Digital agriculture, in the form of precision farming, big data, sensor technology, robotics and drones, delivers a new potential for productivity gains across rural New Zealand,” Muller says.
Techweek includes nearly 300 events in more than 30 centres all over New Zealand from Northland to Otago, including tech and innovation ecosystem events, conferences, school activities and business events. Techweek promotes New Zealand tech and innovation to the world and supports the growth of our fastest growing and third biggest industry in New Zealand.
Fonterra and Beca have partnered to develop a breakthrough virtual reality health and safety training technology. The cutting-edge solution lets employees navigate the Co-operative’s manufacturing and distribution sites without the need to set foot on site and will help substantially reduce onboarding times.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the next wave of technology and New Zealand must present a fresh window to help encourage women into tech roles. Big corporations across every industry, from retail to agriculture, are trying to integrate machine learning into their products and the global thirst for AI is fuelling a heated race to climb aboard the new revolution.