2nd April 2019
AI Day 2019 panel sees end of social and the need to reboot journalism
The final panel of AI Day 2019 ended with calls for more regulation of social media giants and increased investment back
The strong messages signaled a U-turn on media and advertising trends in recent years and came at the end of two days of
debate about AI’s role and its impact on people, business and society.
The panel of seven experts confronted how AI and other technology can help make our world safer, in light of the
devastating events in Christchurch.
They included US based Kiwi entrepreneur Sean Gourley, founder of machine intelligence company Primer, Microsoft
Strategic Policy Advisor Dave Heiner, Nobel Prize winning disarmament leader Thomas Nash, AI-DAY MC Cassie Roma, Melissa
Firth of H3 Consulting and Louise Taylor of Simpson Grierson. It was moderated by technology commentator and journalist
The biggest audience reaction from the 500+ delegates came when Sean Gourley responded to a question about whether peak
social has been reached, by saying we are experiencing the end of social and the need to return to trusted journalism.
He highlighted the broken nature of media, with online giants taking our attention, which has sucked away the
advertising revenue previously used to fund journalism. The view was, if this situation isn’t reassessed, it will impact
the very foundation of democratic society.
“The social media giants need to be taxed with the dollars invested back into journalism,” Sean Gourley opined.
“You can’t have democracy without a trusted media. We’ve become used to easy access to information through social media
but this has led to misinformation.”
Other proposals and ideas arising from the discussion included a New Zealand Trust Mark for authentic content and more
regulation for social media to control and slow the spread of harmful content.
Ben Reid, Executive Director of the AI Forum for New Zealand, said AI Day 2019 has been an enormous success with a huge
depth of discussion showing there is momentum in New Zealand’s AI sector.
But he also highlighted the need for a coordinated AI strategy to ensure New Zealand is not left behind in a rapidly
developing AI world.
“We’ve made great strides over the last year and the debate is evolving rapidly. We’ve seen an exponential increase in
the number of New Zealand organisations involved in AI in the last 12 months and there’s no sign of this abating. Along
with this growing level of expertise here, we also have a high level of involvement from other countries. Just last week
the White House published more details on the US national AI strategy.
“AI has the potential to embellish all our lives but to make sure this happens it needs to be managed very carefully
with full involvement from Government and all aspects of our society.”
This week AI Day 2019 continues and moves into eight workshops at AUT on 3rd and 4th April, that will give attendees the
chance to dive deep into demonstrations, case studies and detailed discussion.
The final event is a hackfest on 6-7th April where 25 teams will develop and pitch “AI for Earth” concepts.
The full presentations and panel discussions will be available for download at AI-Day2019.