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Horizon 2020-Funded EPIC Project Releases Policy Recommendations for Europe and New Zealand’s AI Collaboration Future

Policy brief provides guidance for EU and New Zealand-based policymakers on how these regions can collaborate to successfully deploy AI technologies in fields such as Agritech.

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES

FOOD AND NATURAL RESOURCES

DIGITAL ECONOMY

Policy making and guidelines

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The Horizon 2020-funded EPIC project has released its sixth in a series of policy briefs providing policymakers in the European Commission (EC), as well as in the project partner countries of Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, with an update on the state-of-play of ICT cooperation as relates to the EC’s actions. This publication, entitled ‘Europe-New Zealand AI Collaboration Future: Europe, Aotearoa, Agritech and AI’, has been drafted to inform both EU and New Zealand-based policy stakeholders in the AI field.

AI is one of the most talked about technologies as it promises to enable massive productivity gains, achieve competitive advantages and generally create novel products and services at an unprecedented scale. Both New Zealand and EU-based policymakers have been deliberating over the best way to harvest the benefits of AI while avoiding its potentially harmful and dangerous side. In successfully deploying AI technologies, both regions can benefit from expanding their good level of collaboration by exchanging best practices, bringing their relative strengths in research to the table, and fostering a shared approach to AI technology governance and applications.

The brief starts by describing the challenges faced by the EU and New Zealand in developing and implementing AI technologies, with particular emphasis on those faced by New Zealand both as a small Pacific state and as a nation with an economic focus on agricultural production. Next it looks at where potential lies for EU-New Zealand collaboration and to topical research programmes at New Zealand universities. This is followed by a short case study on advanced agritech robotics developed by the University of Auckland as part of the Multipurpose Orchard Robotics Project. Finally, a series of recommendations concerning future AI collaboration between the two regions are presented. The full document has been made publicly available and can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2GNlr3C

Authors and contributors include Ben Reid, Executive Director of the AI Forum of New Zealand and Austria-based technology consultant Erich Prem. While the policy briefs are prepared as part of the EPIC project, the views expressed therein are solely those of the authors and not of the EC or its services.

“Europe and New Zealand face many similar challenges with AI: Policy makers need to know how to harness the many productivity and decision-making benefits offered by AI technologies, while also being mindful that our societies are able to adapt to the rapid changes that AI may bring about. Despite the obvious differences in size, complexity of governance, global position, and characteristics of domestic markets between the two regions, Europe and New Zealand share common values and a shared approach to ensuring that new innovations improve the well-being of citizens,” said contributor Reid.

In addition to providing future oriented recommendations for policymakers, the EPIC policy brief series will provide insights into the main challenges and previous successes in the selected topic areas based on input from the EPIC consortium members, interviews with researchers and previous results and findings. Target audiences include research policy advisers and research counselors in Brussels, R&D policymakers in the corresponding ministries and departments in the partner countries, top researchers and research managers from leading research organizations, and ICT industry associations.

EPIC is aimed at improving cooperation in the area of information and communication technologies between Europe and the three partner countries Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (ICT) under Grant Agreement No. 687794. To learn more about the EPIC project, or to view upcoming events, visit www.epicproject.eu. Currently, EPIC is the only EU support action targeting ICT research cooperation with AU, NZ and SG.

Keywords

Artificial Intelligence, New Zealand, Agritech, AI technologies, Robotics

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