TUANZ: We need a national AI strategy
The Tech Users Association is urging whoever makes up the next Government to put users at the centre of its approach to artificial intelligence.
It is urging the next Government to:
- Develop a holistic national AI strategy.
- Encourage the adoption of ethical AI principles by the NZ technology sector.
- Develop comprehensive privacy and data protection regulations.
- Invest in AI education and workforce development.
The Government would argue that all of those things are in effect or in development. But the fact remains that an AI strategy for the country is on the drawing board but far from being developed. Ethical AI principles are in use across government agencies, and the AI Forum, has published its own set of principles.
But awareness of ethical AI principles and their application across the business sector is patchy, an issue that needs addressing as organisations large and small take up use of generative AI services.
Our privacy and data protection regulations are underpowered compared to other countries, with meager fines for noncompliance. While the Digital Industry Transformation Plan has a skills development aspect to it, we’ll need to ramp up efforts to upskill and reskill people for a world of work disrupted by AI.
If we get our approach to AI wrong, TUANZ argues, we could end up with “opaque AI systems, biased algorithms, intrusive data collection practices, systems that lack transparency, and ineffective mechanisms for feedback or redress”.
Trust in AI could be eroded further. A survey released last week by research company Ipsos found that New Zealanders are less trusting, less enthusiastic, and have a lower understanding of AI than the international average.
“We already know that there is a digital divide - both in the having of tech and the understanding of tech, so while we can attempt to educate everyone, we should also be mindful of any increases to inequity that AI or its proliferation may bring about,” TUANZ CEO Craig Young says.
“We already know that there is a digital divide - both in the having of tech and the understanding of tech, so while we can attempt to educate everyone, we should also be mindful of any increases to inequity that AI or its proliferation may bring about.”
TUANZ urged the codesign of a national AI strategy, involving the public, “to ensure that the national strategy aligns with our values and needs in Aotearoa”.
The recommendations on AI, outlined during the TUANZ Tech Users Summit in Auckland yesterday, is the third in a series of tech-related recommendations aimed at politicians ahead of the October Election. Others include:
- Committing to connectivity as a core utility - released 16 August
- Maintaining the momentum in improving digital adoption and capability in SMEs - released 23 August
- Ensuring users are at the centre of our use of AI - released 30
Still to come:
Addressing the increasing digital inequity - 6 September
Improving our security and safety online - 11 September Deal with our skill shortage by developing pathways to attract diverse talent - 19 September
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