Nothing artificial about the intelligence of kiwi students

Three University of Auckland students have had their advice for the New Zealand Government on artificial intelligence (AI) published in The New York Times international edition.

Tomu Ozawa, Jaffar Al-Shammery Bui and Marcus Wong.

The team of students beat entries from 23 other universities to win The New York Times and Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) 2018 Case Competition. The prize - an excerpt from their essay on AI published in the October 9 global print edition, reaching hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

The winning students were from different disciplines across the University. They were Marcus Wong (Commerce, Engineering), Jaffar Al-Shammery Bui (Economics, Public Health, Chinese Language), and Tomu Ozawa (Computer Science).

Learning of the win, the students said: “As historical leaders in the social and environmental fields, we believe New Zealand is in a strong position to influence the conversation around AI.”

The competition asked teams to respond to the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence by writing a policy brief ensuring social goals are built into AI research and development, that the benefits of AI are shared equitably, and mitigating risk.

As historical leaders in the social and environmental fields, we believe New Zealand is in a strong position to
influence the conversation around AI

Winners of the APRU/New York Times Case Competition 2018

The students' winning essay makes direct policy recommendations to the New Zealand Government on measures such as an AI-Score metric to guide enterprise taxation; a universal basic income system; and to facilitate communication streams between regulators, researchers, and business.

“A big thanks to The New York Times, the judging panel and APRU – we’re stoked to have won this,” the team added.

The results were announced today by Helena Phua, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, The New York Times, and Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General, at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong. The winners also received a trophy, a profiled article in a booklet of winning entries, and The New York Times gifts.

Accepting the trophy on behalf of the students, Professor Jenny Dixon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) at the University of Auckland commented: “We are incredibly proud of the students who faced intense competition from their peers across the Asia Pacific region – their policy brief is forward thinking and we are delighted with their success.”

Chris Tremewan, APRU Secretary General, said: “At APRU we believe it is our responsibility to engage our societies in understanding and addressing the ways AI will impact social equity in its many forms (e.g. race, gender, class, religion), environmental sustainability, and public accountability for effective forms of governance. We are most grateful to The New York Times for its partnership and for elevating the platform for discussion and leadership on this topic that affects us all.”

Watch the 2018 APRU - The New York Times Student Case winners talk about their win.

The APRU New York Times Challenge

Media contact

Danelle Clayton | Media adviser
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