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AI wrap Friday June 9th

Victoria MacLennan. 09 June 2023, 11:28 am

A quick AI wrap this week as I am on holiday! So haven’t had the same time to read this week while trying to get everything done before heading off. 

The fabulous Claire Amos wrote a post on assessment in the age of AI from her perspective as a High School principal. Thanks Claire for sharing this insight. 

The Institute of Directors - who I have in the past criticised before ceasing my membership because they were barely paying a lip service to the issues Directors need to understand from a digital technology perspective (and I got sick of being mansplained to at events) - posted this guest post on the implications of generative AI on business, hopefully this means things are changing there too.

Bernard Hickey's podcast this week “Is AI enhancing efficiency or encroaching on humanity”  - is an interesting discussion and quite technical too worth a listen.

Something that really tickled my data science brain from Deepmind, their new faster sorting algorithm solution AlphaDev. Looks really interesting.

Sam Altman’s latest suggestion is for the UN’s nuclear watchdog could also oversee AI. He seems very keen to have regulation so finding homes for oversight makes sense. 

This Infotech resource - create an architecture for AI (link to the PDF directly) is surprisingly useful, starts with the basics then moves on to talk about really interesting topics like technical debt of AI, obstacles, where it sits in the overall data architecture space before going into detail on a reference architecture. I was impressed.

Summary of Tech Chat Tuesday - ITP member views 

During the Tech Chat on Tuesday, June 6th, a significant discussion revolved around the integration of AI into the ITP Code of Ethics. Educators on the call faced the challenge of incorporating AI into their teaching while ensuring students truly grasp the concepts they are learning. It was also recognised that AI is not a new concept for the industry, with examples from over 20 years ago cited but the group noted until this year the primarily focusing has been on addressing biases in models. 
Our discussion concluded the importance of revising ITP’s Code of ethics with an AI lens, how we need to ensure issues of attribution, ownership of intellectual property, and unbiased algorithms are all considered, our obligations here in Aotearoa NZ to Te Triti o Waitangi are also of significant importance. There was a suggestion we look to the work the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) is doing in this space for alignment. 

The meeting also introduced several interconnected topics for further discussion. Data governance, data quality, and data stewardship as critical considerations that organisations must address holistically. It was observed that midsized organisations including NZ Government departments, in particular, may not be taking data seriously enough. We drifted into discussion on the need for any software companies who are exporting to build for international compliance from the outset, adopting EU and US legislation and guides in this space so they can move into those markets more easily. 

We looped back to education with members expressing concern the system is fragmented and the uncertainty with universities ceasing digital technology degrees at the same time Te Pūkenga seems to be in chaos.

The final topic of the session was on the dominance of Microsoft in the market, especially in New Zealand, where open-source solutions are more prevalent overseas, strongly highlighted by those who are offshore or have been working in other jurisdictions recently. The government's strong reliance on Microsoft's capabilities was seen as influencing the private sector with government “stacking” the workforce with Microsoft trained workers. As you can imagine the issue of vendor lock-in was raised, emphasising the need to provide companies with guidance on avoiding dependency on a single vendor. 

We looped back to the Code of Ethics before closing the meeting, recognising - it’s all interconnected, so lets update our Code of Ethics to guide professional practice and introduce a code of conduct to sit alongside it. 

Until next week. Kia pai tō rā (have a great day) Vic


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