Artificial Intelligence: The most disruptive tech of our time
At the beginning of the 19th century, the industrial revolution transformed manufacturing processes. Now we are witnessing the beginning another revolution thanks to emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, which has been forecast to be one of the most transformative technologies of our time.
Our focus for this week of the Master's programme was AI and Machine Learning, as well as the building blocks of starting a business, and the candidate's personal projects.
Understanding AI and Machine Learning
Guiding us through the core topic of the week were a range of experts with backgrounds in machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.
With Alyona Medelyan, a specialist in natural language processing and co-founder and CEO of Thematic, we took a closer look at how technological advancements are enabling us to extract meaning from text, the power of chatbots, and how this technology can be used to understand customers in a whole new way.
John Ferguson, customer manager at NZTE, took a hands-on session with IBM Watson, highlighting what's available today and how such a tool can be applied in various contexts, helping businesses to better understand employees, customers and trends.
Starting (and sustaining) a business
This week Frances Valintine, founder of Tech Futures Lab, and Dorenda Britten, an expert in design thinking and collaborative innovation, helped our candidates understand how they can take their ideas to reality.
Frances identified fundamental building blocks that are key to creating and maintaining a successful business, while Dorenda brought activities and ideas to the group that encouraged them to tap into their imagination.
Exploring different ideas and industries
Lillian Grace, founder and CEO of Figure.nz, opened our eyes to the power of data and how it can help tell our story in New Zealand. Bill Kermode, the CEO of the NEXT Foundation, talked about funding, partnerships and investing in local environmental and educational projects. And Alan Kan, the NZ Technical Leader for IBM Cloud Software and Digital Innovation, took us through his personal journey, including the many twists and turns and led him to becoming the leader of Bluemix, IBM's cloud platform as a service, in NZ.
Finishing off the week was Dale Clareburt, one of the four founders of Weirdly, a company focused on shaking up the traditional recruitment methods. She shared her insights on investing in culture and how the way we hire and work is changing.
Bringing ideas together
Every morning this week we heard from our candidates about their project idea, which has taken on new life (and in some cases changed tact entirely) following further research into an area of interest.
The pool of ideas remains as diverse as ever, with candidates focused on everything from cybersecurity and the boating community, to NZ's ageing population and the NGOs of the world.