A report on the artificial intelligence (AI) landscape in New Zealand has been released by the AI Forum, a body which brings together individuals, enterprises and organisations across business, academia and government.
Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand concludes that New Zealand needs to engage substantially with AI now "to shape a prosperous, inclusing and thriving future".
"New Zealand's AI journey is approaching a crossroad, where we either choose to proactively help shape its impact on our economy and society, or we passively let AI shape our future lives. To shape, or be shaped?"
The report says that by 2035, AI has the potential to increase New Zealand GDP by up to $54 billion. Analysis by Sapere and Schiff estimated the range of economic benefits of labour efficiencies in the professional, scientific and technical services sector (which includes legal services) as between $2.2 and $5 billion.
The report includes the results of an online survey targeted at firms considering or using AI, plus interviews with 46 active participants from six sectors, one of which was law.
The survey found that 44% of respondents considered education to be a key barrier to AI adoption, while 52% said that AI will be, or already is, a game changer in their organisation - but just over one-third (36%) said their company's board was discussing AI.
The report says international research has found that AI applications, which are used to solve specific problems, will dominate AI uses in the next 10 years, and account for 99.5% of AI spend.
"The narrow application of AI is also apparent in New Zealand, with 68% of respondents considering AI to improve customer relationship management and 61% planning to deploy intelligent assistants, or chatbots, to support inquiries. The next highest planned use of AI is for the deployment of embedded intelligence into business processes, with 62% planning to deploy AI to support financial analytics and management reporting."