NEW YORK — New York City will become the first major U.S. city with an innovative plan to use artificial intelligence to help residents access city services. 

It’s the latest initiative to put the Big Apple at the forefront of technology.

Mayor Eric Adams has already embraced “Digidogs” for helping the FDNY search for building collapse victims and robots to patrol the Times Square subway station.

Now he’s moving on to the next step in making the city the most technologically advanced government in the nation. 

“Our city had a real 8-track mindset in an iPhone age,” said Adams. 

The mayor’s artificial intelligence action plan will explore ways to help New Yorkers access city services faster and more efficiently. 

“Many people would rather lay on a bed of nails than have to call a government agency to just get basic questions. Everyone, they can tell you the sound that they hear when they’re on hold for half an hour waiting for someone to pick up. This is just not how you run a city,” said Adams. 

The plan includes 37 actions to make New York City the techo-city that never sleeps, with people able to access services 24/7.

The plan will:

  • Prepare city employees to work with AI
  • Establish an AI framework that acknowledges the risks and biases
  • Enable the city to responsibly acquire AI technology

“We know the term ‘AI’ can cause anxiety. You hear it all the time. People think all of the sudden you’re going to have a Terminator-type figure come in and take over government and displace human beings. That’s just not the reality. Take a deep breath, get a grip. It is going to help us function,” said Adams. 

The mayor also unveiled the My City Portal, an AI chatbot that will help small business owners get permits, apply for loans and grow their operations. 

“So let’s ask the AI chatbot,” said Small Business Commissioner Kevin Kim. “How do I start a restaurant in New York City? As you can see, it provides all the steps in just one place.” 

The AI chatbot will also allow business owners to access trusted information from more than 2,000 New York City business web pages. 

Not everyone is on board, however. 

S.T.O.P., the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said the mayor’s use of AI to simulate his voice in robocalls in dozens of languages he does not speak is “Orwellian.”

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