Please note, this is a script from Episode One of our video series, the digital download: 2023 - Tech year in review, which you can access here.
In this series, we're recapping some of the most significant technology trends and developments of 2023, as well as discussing some of the implications of these developments for New Zealand businesses.
Cyber threat landscape
This week is Cyber Smart Week – part of CERT NZ's annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of cyber security. Cybercrime remains a Boardroom level risk for New Zealand organisations. In Q2 of this year, CERT NZ responded to nearly 2,000 cyber incidents, with reported direct financial loss totalling $4.2 million.
One of the biggest cyber-attacks to hit New Zealand and Australia this year was on financial services provider Latitude and Gem Finance. Latitude estimated that 14 million New Zealand and Australian customer records were breached as a result of the attack, making it New Zealand's biggest data breach in terms of the number of individuals affected, according to New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner.
CyberSmart Week is a timely reminder of the criticality of security awareness, including from a legal perspective. For more information, check out our Cybersecurity series here.
AI ... everywhere!
This year has seen the unprecedented growth in the development and use of AI by businesses and individuals around the world. Businesses are already reflecting on how best to leverage this technology within their own organisations, how it might impact their operating models, and are working on rolling out organisation-wide AI acceptable use policies and protocols.
A key development in this space is the development of regulation of AI globally. For example, the European Union is in the final stages of negotiating the Eu's AI Act, and China has passed laws regulating the development and use of AI tools to provide services in China. Locally, New Zealand regulators and legislators have also shown an increased interest in this topic. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has recently released guidance for New Zealand organisations using, or considering using, AI tools in their business.
Progress in quantum computing
Another key trend of 2023 is quantum computing, which looks set to have a transformative effect globally. Experts are increasingly talking about quantum computing in the context of AI because, when combined, it's predicted they'll provide even more powerful computing which will help us solve some of the most complex issues facing society.
Countries are already giving thought to their national quantum computing strategies, with Australia releasing its National Quantum Strategy earlier this year. Key themes coming out of the Australian strategy include investment in research and development, building a skilled workforce, supporting national interests, and developing a trusted, ethical and inclusive ecosystem. It'll be interesting to see whether New Zealand follow suit over the next 12 months.
Progress in metaverse and Web3
Enthusiasm for virtual reality worlds (more commonly known as the metaverse) exploded during the pandemic. Whilst investment in this space has softened post-Covid, Apple's announcement of Apple Vision Pro has renewed industry interest in the metaverse in the second part of 2023.
Growing interest in the metaverse has also had a flow-on effect on the development of Web3 technologies, such as decentralised finance platforms and NFTs. These technologies are being integrated in virtual worlds that enable users to interact with digital assets.
New Zealand continues to enjoy a robust and collaborative green tech ecosystem and is considered a world leader in this space. Over 80% of our electricity is renewable and the Government is targeting 100% by 2030. This presents real opportunities for New Zealand to lead the way in facilitating a low-carbon energy intensive industry, and we've seen a proliferation of investment in green data centres in New Zealand in 2023 as a result.
As part of the 2022 Budget, the New Zealand Government committed $339 million to establish the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions. The Centre is a public-private partnership and its funding is allocated to help strengthen the role of research and development into tools and technologies to reduce on-farm emissions.
Proliferation of regulation
The technology regulatory landscape has also seen a lot of development this year – both in New Zealand and overseas. Locally, the Government has released the Consumer and Product Data Bill, New Zealand's Consumer Data Right Framework, and passed into law the Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Act, creating a legal framework for the provision of secure and trusted digital identity services for individuals and organisations.
Coming up in this series
We will be discussing some of these key trends in more detail over the upcoming weeks, starting with green tech next week. We look forward to you joining us.
This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.