Artificial intelligence working group needed
The risk of artificial intelligence to jobs should be considered by a Government working group, a law firm and a business organisation say.
In a call to action paper, the Institute of Directors and law firm Chapman Tripp have highlighted the risks, opportunities and challenges that artificial intelligence presents.
Institute chief executive Simon Arcus said artificial intelligence had the greatest potential to affect people's jobs.
"What we don't want to have is a whole lot of efficiencies created by artificial intelligence that displaces people and leaves people with no jobs and no future."
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Rather, he said there was the opportunity to create new types of jobs that never existed before.
Arcus said the working group should have both private and public sector members who can provide ideas on how the country can prepare for changes that artificial intelligence would bring.
Chapman Tripp partner Bruce McClintock said the impact of artificial intelligence would present "substantial" legal and regulatory challenges.
These included predicting and establishing responsibility for the actions of autonomous technologies and their creators.
"In the short to medium term artificial intelligence will shift more work away from people and towards technology. It will require new skills from those involved," he said.
"What does this mean for employment, education, social policy and investment? What does this mean for our laws and social justice?
"These are some of the questions we think should be asked."
University of Auckland computer science lecturer Dr Paul Ralph said setting up a working group was a good idea.
However, for it to be effective, it would need world-class experts and the Government needed to provide more funding to computer science departments in order to attract those experts.
Ralph said New Zealand universities had enormous problems attracting world-class talent because they paid far less than other institutes around the world.
There was also not enough being spent by the Government on research and development.
"Computer science, which includes artificial intelligence, needs its own funding panel. Right now we're lumped in with math and stats.
"New Zealand could have its own Silicon Valley if it would just commit to investing in its future."
Bryan Chapple, from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said the ministry was positive about the opportunities artificial intelligence brought economically.
He said it was an area that would continue to be considered as part of the ministry's strategic work.
"The Government is already thinking about how to deal with some of the issues that will arise, for example, the Ministry of Transport's work on driverless cars and what the future regulatory environment may need to look like."