Story image

Microsoft demonstrates the real-life applications of AI in NZ

30 Oct 18

At Microsoft’s inaugural AI event, Future Now, real-life applications of how AI will help shape New Zealand were brought to life demonstrating that AI is an important driver of new solutions to address some of our biggest societal challenges.

Damon Kelly, Enlighten Designs CEO and Microsoft Partner showcased a new initiative with Sustainable Coastlines aiming to make citizen scientists of us all by arming us with right data and insights to help keep our country clean, green and beautiful.

Kelly said, “We have partnered with Sustainable Coastlines and Microsoft’s Azure platform to develop an AI-powered tool that empowers Kiwis in cleaning up New Zealand’s beaches. The tool is the first of its kind in New Zealand and uses Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, alongside a United Nations Environment Programme methodology, to help communities around the country capture and categorise what litter is on our beaches.”

Working alongside the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand, data collected from Sustainable Coastlines’ new tool will be used to help establish a New Zealand-first national litter database.

“This will provide valuable insight to communities, right up to the government, on the effectiveness of different litter interventions, including educational approaches, so we can collectively work together to best change litter behaviours,” noted Kelly.

Discussing the practical implications of AI, Russell Craig, Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft said, “The tool is a fantastic example of how AI is being used for good – in this case, delivering large-scale, grassroots solutions to our growing litter problem in New Zealand. What’s fantastic is that through AI the initiative is also being harnessed as a powerful education instrument for schools.

Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt explained that through Microsoft’s data visualisation tool, Power BI, data collected from the tool will be presented in an engaging and easy to understand format.  “This will help schools, community groups and businesses to view and make sense of the data and trends from a local perspective, empowering them to undertake their own litter-reduction projects in their communities,” said Howitt.

Howitt noted that the first official Citizen Science Monitoring Site for this project has been established, at Waikanae Beach, Gisborne. “With assistance from our new technology tool, this site will be monitored for litter long-term by local community group Plastic Bag Free Tairāwhiti, who will gain a strong local understanding of the litter problem while contributing to the national database,” said Howitt.

With the backing of the Ministry of Education, educators nationwide will be trained to deliver a new curriculum-aligned behaviour change programme that aims to curb single-plastic consumption and reduce litter. Iwi, local and business groups across the country will also be trained on how to use the AI tool in their unique communities.

Human assets the key to a successful digital transformation
Y Soft's Martin de Martini says it's vital that organisations continue to train and motivate their employees.
New blockchain solution aims to keep our food ethical
OpenSC enables anyone to scan product QR codes which automatically takes them to information about where a specific product’s journey.
Cofense launches MSSP program to provide phishing defence for SMBs
SMBs are highly susceptible to phishing attacks, and often lack the resources necessary to stop advanced threats
Kiwis make waves in IoT World Cup
A New Zealand company, KotahiNet, has been named as a finalist in the IoT World Cup for its River Pollution Monitoring solution.
Can it be trusted? Huawei’s founder speaks out
Ren Zhengfei spoke candidly in a recent media roundtable about security, 5G, his daughter’s detainment, the USA, and the West’s perception of Huawei.
Office workers frustrated by poor information management systems
82% of workers believe poor information management is damaging their productivity in the workplace.
Jobs 'aplenty' for freelance writers, devs & ecommerce specialists?
Jobs tagged with the keyword ‘writing’ took the top spot as the fastest moving job in 2018.
Updated: Chch crypto-exchange Cryptopia suffers breach
Cryptopia has reportedly experienced a security breach that has taken the entire platform offline – and resulted in ‘significant losses’.