New Zealand

Preserving our heritage, conserving our planet – exciting news from Envision New Zealand - New Zealand News Centre


When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited New Zealand three years ago, it was an event on the tech calendar. Friday's Translator announcement made his latest visit a cultural milestone. More than 1000 industry leaders and media filled the room at Auckland's Eden Park where Satya announced the addition of te reo Māori to Microsoft Translator, alongside the 60 languages already supported by the free application. The move will enable anyone around the world to translate text to and from te reo Māori. At a time when just 3 per cent of Kiwis speak te reo Māori, yet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is calling for 1 million additional speakers by 2040, it's crucial that people have the tools to engage with each other in te reo Māori in their everyday lives.

Sky shepherds: the farmers using drones to watch their flocks by flight

The Guardian

A shepherd is out tending a flock when a presence appears above. It descends from the sky and communicates vital information. It may sound like a nativity scene, but for an increasing number of farmers it's a daily occurrence – and that celestial being is a drone. Corey Lambeth, a New Zealand farmer, originally purchased a drone for photography, but he quickly realised the device had more practical applications. "I thought'I'll just give it a nudge on the sheep and see what that goes like' and it actually worked out quite well," he says.

YouTube's new documentary demystifying artificial intelligence features Robert Downey Jr. and an AI baby


YouTube has launched a new free-to-watch documentary series about artificial intelligence fronted by "Iron Man" star Robert Downey Jr. The YouTube Original series debuted on the platform on Wednesday, and is called "The Age of AI." Its stated aim is to demystify misconceptions around AI. One of the main focuses of the first episode is a New Zealand-based company called Soul Machines, which specialises in making digital avatars. Its founder Mark Sagar is an award-winning visual effects artist who's worked on films like "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Avatar."

NZ's financial sector primed for AI, research finds


New Zealand's financial sector is primed for artificial intelligence, according to new national research. The AI Forum of New Zealand (part of the NZTech ecosystem) research study says the country's financial and insurance sectors are better prepared to incorporate and reap rewards from AI implementation than other industries. According to Emma Naji, AI Forum executor director, the report identifies New Zealand urgently needs to increase its focus on the core foundations needed to operate in an AI enabled future. This is especially important relating to investment, skills and talent, research, trusted data, ethics and regulation, she says. "The report shows how AI-driven solutions can be used to improve New Zealand's wellbeing, productivity and sustainability," says Naji. "Unsurprisingly, financial institutions have been quick to capitalise on the opportunities and new techniques that AI offers."

Future of Design: Artificial intelligence for when times are a-changin'


Like electricity or the internet, artificial intelligence (AI) is considered a general purpose technology with the potential to transform productivity, accelerate economic growth and improve wellbeing across the whole of society. It has started, and will continue to, drastically transform the way we work and live. At least, this is what the report'Towards Our Intelligent Future' published by New Zealand AI Forum earlier this year affirms. The report represents over nine months of collaborative work on parallel streams exploring AI adoption, policy and strategy in New Zealand and around the world. It highlights the value of AI for achieving New Zealand's wellbeing, sustainability and economic goals.

Latest Grants Management Intelligence, out now


As we wind up an eventful year for grantmakers in Australia and New Zealand, we think it's the perfect time to look ahead, with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of AI-assisted grants and other ways to do better in the latest edition, Also inside: Don't forget that you can tap into our knowledge base of past newsletters, grantmaking tools and resources by visiting Please note, SmartyGrants readers can become an AIGM member free, for all-areas access. Plus join the AIGM for exclusives, back issues and discounts. The quarterly publication is just one of the benefits of membership of the Australian Institute of Grants Management. Learn more about Grants Management Intelligence and become a member here.

Building an Ethical Framework for Artificial Intelligence - SAP Australia & New Zealand News Center


Recent research from SAP and Oxford Economics demonstrated CFOs' strategic initiatives are taking a more active role in the direction of their businesses, rather than operating within a siloed financial function. The report showed that 88% respondents said CFO's are increasingly involved in the strategic decisions of their organisations.

Scientists finally develop artificial neurons that mimic our brain cells


Neurons in a human brain have been somewhat of a mystery for scientists. Unlike the traditional electrical circuits, the inner workings of the biological circuitry in the brain have always been less than predictable, apart from the complex biology they exhibit. Scientists at the University of Bath now seem to have decoded the bizarre behavior of our brain cells and replicated it on tiny silicon chips. Researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Zurich & Auckland collaborated on this effort. Designing artificial neurons has been a challenge for medical researchers for decades.

UBank uses machine learning in new spending tracker


UBank is embracing the industry shift to open data banking through a partnership with Australian fintech, Basiq, leveraging machine learning (ML) to give customers a more complete picture of their finances. The partnership hopes to offer customers predictions of future spending behaviours just by using their UBank app by 2020. This follows UBank launching its third artificial intelligence-based customer assistance offering earlier in the year, and what it claimed was the first digital human home loan application assistant. Dubbed'Mia', short for my interactive agent, the offering is built on digital human technology created by New Zealand company, FaceMe. It taps into IBM's Watson AI engine and designed to help consumers answer real-time questions during the home loan application process.

New Zealand Global Information Society Watch


Algorithms and social media: A need for regulations to control harmful content? On 15 March 2019, a white supremacist committed a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, murdering 51 people as they were peacefully worshipping, injuring many others and live streaming the attack on Facebook. The attack was the worst of its kind in New Zealand's history and prompted an emotional nationwide outpouring of solidarity with Muslim communities. Our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, moved quickly, travelling immediately to the Muslim communities affected, framing the attack as one on all New Zealanders, vowing compassion, refusing to ever say the name of the attacker, issuing a pledge to ban semi-automatic weapons of the kind used in the attack, and steering her people through a difficult emotional time of grief, anger and shock. The global response led Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron to issue the #Christchurch Call,[1] calling for, among other things, an examination of the use of algorithms by social media platforms to identify and interfere with terrorist extremist online content. This country report critically examines the events, including discussion of technical measures to find and moderate the objectionable content.