New York City’s AI plan: These are the key takeaways

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New York City wants to be a global leader in artificial intelligence. Mayor Eric Adams and the city’s Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser have unveiled an official AI action plan, setting a framework for the city and its stakeholders to evaluate and implement AI tools.

But what exactly is in this plan? What does it mean for New Yorkers?

At a press conference on Monday, Adams said that AI presents “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” but, concurrently, that the city “must be clear-eyed about the potential pitfalls and associated risks these technologies present.”

“We know that New York’s best days are ahead,” wrote Adams in a statement, “and it is with that sense of optimism about our city’s future that we present this report.”

What’s in New York’s AI plan?

The report outlines seven new initiatives, with several accompanying steps that the city has mapped out a timeline for over the next couple of years. Each initiative consists of a set of actions that the government says will make New Yorkers’ lives “better” through AI.

Here are some highlights from the plan, so you don’t have to read the whole, dry thing. So far, the city has pledged to:

Create an external advisory network to examine both the opportunities and risks of AIHold public introductory listening sessions to understand residents’ concerns and prioritiesPublish annual AI progress reportsDesign and build a public website with AI resources Build in-house knowledge to support the city government and employees on how to work with and on AI

Most of these initiatives will roll out within the next 12 months, or at most, two years, the city says.

Already, New York is piloting an AI Chatbot within MyCity Business, as part of a city-wide online portal. The chatbot uses Microsoft’s Azure AI services and will specifically answer questions and provide support to business owners and entrepreneurs. The bot was trained on information from over 2,000 business websites based in the city, per CNN.

“Thanks to the chatbot, your new executive assistant, you will never have to waste time going from page to page looking for the information you need,” said Kevin Kim, Small Business Services Commissioner, on Monday.

Within the city’s industries themselves, AI is a major priority too. As reported by Axios, developing and integrating AI is being rendered crucial by the city’s tech and finance firms. In fact, the city’s tech jobs outrank its finance jobs – which historically reigned – as found in a 2022 study from Tech:NYC and Google.

How much the city government’s AI plan will affect residents is hard to tell at this point. Adams said the city’s goal is to “strike a critical balance in the global AI conversation – one that will empower city agencies to deploy technologies that can improve lives while protecting against those that can do harm.”

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