Only 10 percent of jobs will be lost to AI - report

A new report from the AI Forum of New Zealand has said the actual number of job losses from AI may be far less than imagined.

We all like to be greeted by a smiling face, but soon it probably won't be human. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an industry crucial to New Zealand's future.

FaceMe is riding that AI wave - building digital humans for telecommunications companies, governments and banks.

"When we first started there was a lot of curiosity and as people interacted, we started seeing that this experience started creating things like happy emotions and excitement and fun," said the company's CEO, Danny Tomsett.

It is one of 140 companies identified as New Zealand's young AI eco-system,

"We think that artifical intelligence is going to be a transformational technology in the same way that the internet or electricity has been," AI Forum executive director Ben Reid said.

But is New Zealand ready?

The latest report from the AI Forum says only 36 percent of businesses are discussing AI and education is a big barrier to AI being adopted.

Yet on a positive note, it believes AI will only disrupt 10 percent of future jobs.

"As with any major technology, for example the internet, it does take tens of years for these changes to really filter through to all of society," Mr Reid said.

Others say the impact will be larger, faster and out of our control.

"We won't determine ourselves the adoption of that AI technology coming through - it will be determined by the larger countries who are already doing it," said Callaghan Innovation CEO Vic Crone.

But there is agreement that New Zealand needs a national strategy on AI.

"We are lagging behind much of the rest of the world in terms of our strategic oversight, our skills development and importantly our ethical framework," said Minister of Digital Media Clare Curran.

And that's why the Government announced on Wednesday it will be developing a national strategy in conjunction with Otago University and the Law Foundation.

However it still has to appoint its new Chief Technology Officer - the person responsible for overseeing New Zealand's digital future.

A future that should bring humans and technology together.