NZ Can’t Afford to Fall Behind in the AI Revolution
The head of New Zealand’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, Soul Machines, has issued a plea to New Zealand corporate companies not to fall behind in the global development of AI, the latest tech industrial revolution.
Greg Cross, chief business officer for Soul Machines, says jumping on the AI bandwagon is a big challenge and a big opportunity for New Zealand companies.
“It will be fundamental to the competitiveness of our big industries going forward and currently there is not a lot of evidence that our corporates are experimenting and innovating at this point,” he says.
Cross was one of 20 top speakers at AI-Day, the biggest artificial intelligence (AI) event ever to be held in New Zealand, last March.
Auckland-based Soul Machines makes artificial intelligence human avatars that are emotionally responsive. They have built eight digital humans and are building about 20 more in the next 12 months. “These avatars are bringing a whole new level to online customer service,” he says.
“Kiwis are going to be spending more and more time interacting with these digital human-like creations. An enormous amount of detail goes into making all aspects of these avatars and we really focused on making a difference to the way we live our lives.
“We are going to spend more of our time interacting with AI systems, robots and machines such as self-driving cars. To be more like us these machines will need to be emotionally engaging in a way that we are capable of forming a relationship with them.
“The core theory behind our technology is our faces are the mirror image of our brain. You can’t create a realistic face without creating models of the human brain as well.”
Artificial intelligence had reached a tipping point and business leaders were not aware of the changes it would bring to the economy and society, he says.
“AI is the next industrial revolution and Kiwi businesses have to act quickly to survive it. Companies at the leading edge of artificial intelligence are few and far between in New Zealand,” Greg says.