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Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed the launch of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum to help understand the opportunities and challenges relating to AI in New Zealand.

Supported by NZTech, the Forum brings together users of technology, tech firms, academia and government to help connect, promote and advance the AI ecosystem and drive positive social and economic outcomes for New Zealand.

Mr Bridges says the Forum is a good example of government and industry working together to share knowledge and build capability around AI.

“AI presents exciting opportunities for New Zealand and the world. I appreciate that some people may have some concerns about AI, which is why it’s critical that we collaborate with industry and across the sector to address the opportunities and challenges that AI brings.

“The Government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what AI has to offer, including giving Kiwi businesses the confidence to engage with AI technologies, while balancing the risks. The Forum will be critical for helping us better understand AI and for informing the development of government policy,” Mr Bridges says.

“The future of AI carries limitless possibilities and many unknowns. It has the potential to significantly change how we live our lives, run our businesses, and how the economy works. However, New Zealand’s small size allows us to be nimble and begin to harness the opportunity now,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“The Government is supporting the forum to undertake research on AI in New Zealand, which will form the base of future work. This collaboration between government and the private sector will drive our understanding of AI and the opportunities for New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“We want to encourage innovation in New Zealand. That’s why as part of Budget 2017 we’ve allocated $372.8 million to the second round of our Innovative New Zealand programme which invests in the skills and innovation that will keep our economy growing in the years ahead,” Mr Bridges says.

The AI Forum is one of several initiatives included in the Government’s Building a Digital Nation action plan that was released at the end of March, which sets out how the Government is partnering with New Zealand’s digital sector, other sectors of the economy and the wider digital community, to enable New Zealand to become a leading digital nation.

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