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AI Day 2019 adds panel debate on how AI technology can help

AI Day 2019 is adding an important panel debate to its two day programme to discuss how AI and other technology can help make our world safer, in light of the devastating events in Christchurch.

The panel of leading AI experts will discuss how new technology raises fresh data, privacy and security challenges - but also promises new opportunities for public safety.

Scheduled in the closing session on Thursday 28th March the debate will be moderated by technology commentator and journalist Russell Brown.

Panelists include US based Kiwi entrepreneur Sean Gourley, founder of machine intelligence company Primer, Microsoft Strategic Policy Advisor Dave Heiner, Nobel Prize winning disarmament leader Thomas Nash, AI-DAY MC Cassie Roma and other invited guests.

Ben Reid, Executive Director of the AI Forum for New Zealand, says like all New Zealanders, the AI Day team is devastated about the tragic events in Ōtautahi Christchurch last week.

“Our hearts go out to all the victims, their families, friends and everyone affected.

“Understandably technology is playing a role in the current public debate, from the part played by social media in disseminating violent content, to how we balance the right to privacy with the requirement for surveillance driven by a need for public safety and security.

“People are asking whether new technologies are part of the solution or part of the problem, which is why we’ve included a new panel to bring expert minds from New Zealand and around the world to discuss this with the full involvement of the audience. We wanted to use AI DAY as an opportunity for constructive, reasoned debate and bring some big ideas as to how New Zealand and the world uses technology to build safer societies in the future.

Sean Gourley’s globally recognized expertise in the mathematics of conflict situations, large dataset analysis and complex systems puts him in a unique position to comment about technology’s role in light of recent events.

Dave Heiner is Microsoft’s Strategic Policy Adviser, based in Seattle. He focuses on working to leverage AI and other technologies to help bring about equal access to justice and promote global human rights.

Thomas Nash is a leader in disarmament who previously led the global campaign to ban cluster bombs, co-founded London-based disarmament group Article 36 and served on the board of the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. He is an expert on the current debate surrounding banning lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS - “killer robots”).

The new panel will be in addition to an earlier one on the same day discussing Privacy and Data in the Age of AI, a debate which itself will have changed after last week.

AI Day 2019 is a two day conference held at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland and NZ’s premier event about Artificial Intelligence.

It starts at 4.30pm on Wednesday 27th March with a showcase day/night programme of international speakers from the US and China, as well as New Zealand. Thursday 28th March will be a full day of back-to-back presentations about the impact of AI on people, business and society, running through to the finale networking at 5.30pm.

The conference will be followed by eight workshops at AUT on 3-4 April, giving attendees the chance to dive deep into demonstrations, case studies and detailed discussion, and a hackfest on 6-7 April where more than 100 people will develop and pitch “AI for Good” applications.

For a full schedule and tickets to attend AI Day 2019 go to

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