Adams unveils first-of-its-kind plan for responsible AI use

Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams.
Associated Press/John Minchillo/File

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser on Monday unveiled the Adams administration’s comprehensive “New York City Artificial Intelligence Action Plan,” taking a major step to cement New York City’s position as a leader in the responsible use of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Adams said he broad plan — the first of its kind for a major US city — will develop a framework for city agencies to carefully evaluate AI tools and associated risks, help city government employees build AI knowledge and skills, and support the responsible implementation of these technologies to improve quality of life for New Yorkers.

Integrating the administration’s efforts to embrace responsible AI tools that can streamline and improve government services within the groundbreaking MyCity portal, Mayor Adams and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim launched the new MyCity Business site, which features a pilot for New York City’s first citywide AI chatbot.

Building on the first phase of MyCity, launched in March to help New York City families access child care, MyCity Business will connect business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to content to help them start, operate, and grow businesses in New York City.

With the AI chatbot, Adams said business owners will more easily be able to access trusted information from more than 2,000 NYC Business web pages.

“While artificial intelligence presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to more effectively deliver for New Yorkers, we must be clear-eyed about the potential pitfalls and associated risks these technologies present,” he said. “I am proud to introduce a plan that will 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.”

“The AI Action Plan exemplifies how the Adams administration is using the technology of tomorrow to better serve New Yorkers today,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “This framework will help city agencies take advantage of AI’s potential to better deliver vital services while protecting New Yorker’s privacy and concerns about bias. I look forward to seeing how the MyCity AI chatbot unlocks the potential of small-business owners across our city, allowing them to focus on what they do best — growing their businesses — while government does its part in making it easier to ‘Get Stuff Done.’”

“The addition of the business site to the MyCity portal is an important milestone in making city government accessible to everyone,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “Through the creation of this simple, easy-to-use tool, we are removing barriers to city resources that have the potential to positively impact small businesses across New York. I’m thrilled to see how the business site on the MyCity portal can help business owners and excited to see what else MyCity has in store.”

“With the creation of the Office of Technology and Innovation, Mayor Adams has set a new standard for how to enable smarter tech adoption across city government,” said Chief Technology Officer Fraser. “I am proud of my colleagues at OTI who have put forward a thoughtful approach that will guide how the City of New York supports its agencies through responsible adoption and shape the way cities around the world approach AI.”

“The business site on the MyCity portal is a game-changer for small businesses across the city,” said SBS Commissioner Kim. “Small business owners will not only save time and avoid frustrations with the streamlined site, but also connect more easily with the resources that can help take their business to the next level. By putting all of our services in one location and using the innovative new chatbot as a guide, we are taking another step towards making New York into the true ‘City of Yes.’”

Adams said AI captures a wide variety of technologies that use data to make predictions, inferences, recommendations, rankings, or other decisions.

He said while AI offers substantial potential benefits, the emerging technology also comes with risks, such as providing inaccurate or unintended results and, in some cases, exhibiting patterns of bias and discrimination.

The New York City Artificial Intelligence Action Plan introduces a set of phased actions the city will undertake to help agencies evaluate risks and determine whether or not a tool is the right technology to deliver better positive outcomes for New Yorkers.

The action plan represents the knowledge, expertise, and contributions of 50 city employees from 18 agencies, as well as the insights of industry, academia, and civil society.

The plan outlines 37 key actions — 29 of which are set to be started or completed within the next year.

Under this plan, the city will, among other things: Establish a framework for AI governance that acknowledges the risks of AI, including bias and disparate impact; create an external advisory network to consult with stakeholders across sectors around the opportunities and challenges posed by AI; build AI knowledge and skills in city government to prepare city employees to effectively and responsibly work with and on AI; enable responsible AI acquisition with AI-specific procurement standards or guidance to support agency-level contracting; and publish an annual AI progress report to communicate about the city’s progress and implementation.

The newest phase of Mayor Adams’ MyCity portal, the MyCity Business site will serve as an easily accessible, all-in-one resource for applications, permits, licenses, and related information needed to open and operate a business in New York City.

Adams said the new AI chatbot will save business owners and entrepreneurs time and money by instantly providing them with actionable and trusted information from more than 2,000 NYC Business web pages and articles on topics such as compliance with codes and regulations, available business incentives, and best practices to avoid violations and fines.

The MyCity Business site also features the city’s first online capital marketplace for small business owners called NYC Funds Finder, which can connect entrepreneurs with financing assistance through community development financial institution partners and other lenders.

The mayor said the MyCity Business site is the result of a cross-agency collaboration between the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation and SBS, advancing priorities outlined in his “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery” and delivering on recommendations in both the inaugural report of the city’s Small Business Advisory Commission and New York City Councilmember Julie Menin’s “Creation of a One-Stop Shop Small Business Portal” bill, which was signed into law by Adams in 2022.

Still in its beta phase, Adams said the MyCity Business site and the chatbot will expand in offerings and functionality in the coming months.

“New York City hosts the largest school district in the nation, producing hundreds of thousands of future leaders, innovators, and changemakers. It is essential that our youngest New Yorkers have access to the latest advancements technology has to offer, learning how to use tools like AI responsibly and for the betterment of their communities,” said New York City Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks.

“I’m thrilled to see our city begin taking advantage of AI in a conscientious way and am looking forward to collaborating with agencies across the city as we continue to develop new and innovative ways to set our kids on pathways to success using every tool at our disposal,” he added.

“The Department of Health works with thousands of businesses from child care centers to food service establishments in an effort to ensure we’re working both efficiently and responsibly to connect entrepreneurs with the tools they need to support a healthy community that is crucial,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “These efforts from OTI are key to the future. The earlier government engages with new technology, the sooner we can safely maximize use of that technology for the people we serve.”

“As a world leader in using technology to creatively address transportation problems, we thank Mayor Adams’ for his leadership as well as Chief Technology Officer Matt Fraser for his guidance on how to best embrace a future that will use more artificial intelligence to get our work done,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “It is also critical that we use AI in a responsible way that can maximize efficiency while protecting New York City, its residents, and employees. Providing the MyCity chatbot as a resource for local businesses is a great place to start to not only support economic growth but also illustrate the incredible power of this new and exciting technology.”