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Creative and tech studio, Daylight creates AI-powered marine search tool

The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge partners up with creative and technology studio, Daylight to create the first AI-powered innovative search tool for New Zealand’s science sector.

The AI-powered search tool, dubbed Tohorā, is connecting the science industry with easy access to their decade-old marine research.

Sustainable Seas created Tohorā as a legacy project to not only give access to their research, but to also support long-term strategies that are working towards the improved health of the sea.

“Over the past decade, Sustainable Seas has facilitated crucial research conducted by 450 ecologists, community researchers, kaupapa Māori researchers, experts in mātauranga Māori, economists, lawyers, social scientists and other marine practitioners,” says Dr Julie Hall, Director of Sustainable Seas.

“The aim of Tohorā is for this decade of extensive research to remain accessible to researchers, policymakers, councils, iwi, communities and businesses alike. By doing so, we can ensure the knowledge created during the Challenge continues to inform decision-making, enhance ecologic health and shape marine management practices and policies in Aotearoa, particularly within the blue economy.”

With Tohorā, the search engine can process and analyse Sustainable Seas’ extensive body of research and distils key findings into short summaries using straightforward language.

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Managing Partner of Daylight, Lizzie Robson says they jumped on the project to make it easily and centrally available to anyone engaging with the marine environment.

“Tohorā is designed to be conversational and approachable, helping people discover more about our oceas and marine ecosystems. This is achieved through the Tohorā natural language search functionality, document summarisation and key insights features,” adds Robson.

Sustainable Seas Manahautū/Deputy Director Māori, Linda Faulkner says the project is sacred to the Māori culture as it can support reclaiming, revitalising and restoring the iwi connection to the moana.

“Through Tohorā, we continue to showcase how a transdisciplinary approach to marine management that is guided through a te ao Māori lens can be remarkably successful in managing and restoring environments, communities and livelihoods across Aotearoa,” says Faulkner.

The search engine will continue to be updated till June 2024, when the challenge ends.

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