Some lucky Summer of Tech students attended New Zealand’s premier Artificial Intelligence Event in Auckland on 28 March. Here’s a guest post from Michelle Tan from AI Day 2018:
Thanks to Summer of Tech and AI Day, I had the opportunity to attend the first ever AI Day in New Zealand, which was held at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre. The day was incredibly busy, packed with lots of speakers from different areas with the common interest of artificial intelligence. The conference was hosted by Dr Michelle Dickinson and featured many fascinating speakers such as Steve Guggenheimer from Microsoft, Alayna Van Dervort from Amazon as well as plenty more entrepreneurs and academics, all with a passion to better the world through technology.
It was fascinating to hear about how AI, machine learning and data analytics is used in a variety of companies, whether in New Zealand or overseas. Presentations ranged from New Zealand’s Cacophony Project which uses AI to lure predators such as rats and possums to protect New Zealand’s wildlife; to IBM’s Adam Cutler discussing the meaningful relationships we make with technology; as well as seeing a demonstration of Baby X by Soul Machines, a virtual simulation of a baby that is capable of learning and acting autonomously.
I really enjoyed hearing panel discussions from various leaders in the field and hearing their thoughts surrounding ethics/morals concerning AI and their views on the positive impacts AI can make on our society. Topics discussed included regulations surrounding self-driving cars, concerns surrounding data and privacy as well as the use of AI to fight worldwide issues such as online scamming and sex trafficking. It was also fascinating hearing about recent developments in machine learning and their relevance to our everyday lives – for example, most people are unaware that by doing “are you human tests” or “click the pictures that contain traffic signs”, we are helping machines learn and in the case of the stop signs, specifically helping autonomous vehicle AI systems learn.
After AI day, I believe that AI is a way to not only better our lives by removing the mundane and making our lives easier, but also a way we can utilise our voice as a global community and move humanity further by fighting economic inequality, environmental issues and raising our voice about social issues around the world. I left the conference inspired and motivated to one day make a change and I am excited for what the future holds for AI and more importantly, how AI can be used for good.
Thank you once again to Summer of Tech and AI day for this incredible opportunity!