Definition of AI under the NYC AI Action Plan
Here, AI is defined as
“an umbrella term without precise boundaries, that encompasses a range of technologies and techniques of varying sophistication that are used to, among other tasks, make predictions, inferences, recommendations, rankings, or other decisions with data, and that includes topics such as machine learning, deep learning, supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, statistical inference, statistical regression, statistical classification, ranking, clustering, and expert systems.”
This includes tools such as machine learning algorithms, computer vision technologies, and natural language processing.
Seven key initiatives
Developed by the Office of Technology and Innovation in consultation with over 50 city employees as well as external industry and academic stakeholders, the AI Action Plan sets out seven key initiatives to govern the use of AI:
- Design a robust governance framework that is holistic and flexible to uphold the values of reliability, transparency, accountability, fairness and non-discrimination, privacy, cybersecurity, and sustainability
- Build external relationships through feedback and consultation with stakeholders that represent a variety of sectors to identify opportunities and challenges posed by AI
- Educate and empower the public by fostering public engagement and open communication about the city’s progress towards responsible AI use in government
- Build AI literacy in city workers across the board to ensure all employees interacting with AI can do so effectively and responsibly
- Support AI implementation within city agencies through comprehensive assistance and building a knowledge base
- Enable Streamlined and Responsible AI Acquisition through AI-specific procurement standards and guidance to ensure due diligence in the procurement process
- Ensure up-to-datedness of the Action Plan through regular maintenance and updates along with an annual report on the city’s progress
Within each of these initiatives are phased actions that the city can take to balance innovation with the prevention of harm, with both immediate and medium-term actions outlined along with timelines from Q4 of 2023 to Q4 of 2025.
New York City is cracking down on AI
The publication of the Action Plan is the latest move in a series of efforts by New York City to manage the risks of AI. Previously, the city worked with stakeholders to develop a framework for the identification of algorithmic tools as part of Local Law 35, which requires state agencies to report their use of these tools, as well as to define what AI is. NYC Local Law 144 was also enforced from 5 July 2023, requiring independent bias audits of automated employment decision tools, including AI-driven HR tools.
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