The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in NZ Elections: Ignored Threats and Wider Implications

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The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in NZ Elections: Ignored Threats and Wider Implications

As the 2023 election campaign in New Zealand enters its final days, there is a topic that politicians seem to be ignoring: the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications for the country’s economy, politics, and society. Despite concerns raised by AI experts about the consequences of these digital tools, there has been little discussion on the subject from those seeking election this year. This relative silence should raise concerns for all New Zealanders.

A recent survey by Ipsos, a global market research firm, found that 63% of New Zealanders are nervous about AI, although only 35% understand where it is being used. As a society, we rely on the government to lead on important issues like this, but there has been little attention given to AI in the political discourse.

During a recent election debate, the leaders of the major political parties were asked about the threat of AI to humanity. The leaders had varying responses, with Labour’s Chris Hipkins acknowledging its potential threat and National’s Christopher Luxon highlighting both the positive and negative aspects. The leaders were also asked about a potential tax on AI to support workers who may lose their jobs to this technology. Their responses indicated a lack of understanding and urgency regarding the implications of AI on employment.

However, the impact of AI extends beyond job loss. Over the past decades, social media has contributed to the rise of misinformation, disinformation, and political polarization. The development of more human-like AI bots will only exacerbate these threats, making them more pervasive and harder to combat. Furthermore, the use of AI in various sectors such as health, government, and employment has the potential to reinforce existing biases and prejudices, leading to inequitable outcomes. In the case of Aotearoa, AI models trained on Westernized data are unaware of Māori tikanga (customs) and data sovereignty, and defaulting to English is risking minority languages.

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While New Zealand has embraced the use of AI in the public service, local lawmakers have fallen behind the rest of the world in terms of regulating this technology. The European Union, for instance, is expected to pass the AI Act into law by the end of 2023, which will classify AI tools according to different risk levels and impose legislative requirements for their deployment and monitoring. Canada has also introduced a voluntary code of conduct for the development of safe and responsible generative AI systems, while individual states in the US have passed laws addressing the perceived threats of AI. Even the federal level has seen hearings on the regulation of AI.

In New Zealand, progress on policy development regarding AI has been limited. While the major political parties mention AI in their election manifestos, the details regarding regulation and safety measures are lacking. There is a need for stronger data privacy laws that recognize data as a treasure and require informed consent for its use in AI training and processing. In addition, there should be regulation on what can and cannot be automated with AI, and how the profits from AI applications using local data can be kept within the country.

Without active government regulation, New Zealanders and their political system could be vulnerable to manipulation by malign foreign interests. It is crucial for the country to invest in its workforce to adapt to the changes brought about by AI and embrace Māori-driven AI research that prioritizes the well-being of the people. By doing so, New Zealand can become a creator of technologies that benefit everyone.

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In conclusion, as New Zealand approaches its 2023 elections, it is imperative that politicians address the rise of AI and its wide-ranging implications for the country. There is a need for proactive government regulation, stronger data privacy laws, and investment in the workforce to ensure that AI is harnessed for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Failure to address these issues could leave the country vulnerable to the negative consequences of AI.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

Why is the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in New Zealand elections a cause for concern?

The rise of AI in New Zealand elections is a cause for concern because it has wide-ranging implications for the country's economy, politics, and society. AI has the potential to impact job loss, exacerbate misinformation and political polarization, reinforce biases and prejudices, and even pose threats to data sovereignty and minority languages. Ignoring these implications can leave New Zealand vulnerable to manipulation and negative consequences.

Have politicians in New Zealand addressed the rise of AI in their election campaigns?

Despite concerns raised by AI experts, there has been little discussion on the rise of AI in the political discourse leading up to the 2023 elections in New Zealand. The silence from politicians on this issue is concerning, considering the significant impact AI can have on society.

How do New Zealanders feel about AI?

A recent survey by Ipsos found that 63% of New Zealanders are nervous about AI. However, only 35% of the respondents understood where AI is currently being used. This indicates that there is a lack of public understanding and awareness about AI and its impact.

What are the responses of major political party leaders to the threat of AI?

The leaders of the major political parties in New Zealand have had varying responses to the threat of AI. While some leaders, like Chris Hipkins from the Labour Party, acknowledge its potential threat, others, like Christopher Luxon from the National Party, highlight both the positive and negative aspects of AI. However, their responses indicate a lack of understanding and urgency regarding the implications of AI on employment.

Has New Zealand kept up with international regulations on AI?

New Zealand has fallen behind other countries in terms of regulating AI. While countries like the European Union, Canada, and the United States have introduced or are in the process of passing regulations for AI, New Zealand has made limited progress on policy development regarding AI. This lack of active regulation leaves New Zealand vulnerable to manipulation by malign foreign interests.

What are the recommendations for addressing the rise of AI in New Zealand?

To address the rise of AI in New Zealand, it is recommended to have proactive government regulation, stronger data privacy laws, and investment in the workforce to adapt to the changes brought about by AI. Additionally, there should be a focus on Māori-driven AI research that prioritizes the well-being of the people and recognition of data as a treasure. These measures can ensure that AI is harnessed for the benefit of all New Zealanders and protect the country from the negative consequences of AI.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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