- New York will create a state commission to study and explore regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation under legislation signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- The 13-member commission will explore how new technology will impact employment, privacy and personal security. The commission is also tasked with seeing how the technology can be used by the state government to improve performance.
- The review will include meetings with stakeholders in the industry, nonprofit, academic and public sectors.
With technology advancing so rapidly that some governments fail to keep up, the panel is meant to help New York understand the “capabilities and potential pitfalls” of the changes, Cuomo said in a statement. While New York has been open to fostering the tech industry and adopting it in the government wherever possible (the state has been a leader on blockchain, for example), regulation and legislation can sometimes be too slow to keep up and ensure that technology does not run out of control.
State Assembly member Clyde Vanel, one of the original sponsors of the legislation creating the commission, said in an interview that a “deep dive” was necessary avoid pitfalls, and keep the government from overreacting to some technology. He pointed to recent bills banning government use of facial recognition technology as an example of “bad policy” that came from a kneejerk reaction.
"The questions we’re asking aren’t easy, this is hard stuff," Vanel said. "If we take time and think it through, we can have the right regulatory regime."
A particular focus of the panel will be on workforce issues. A report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government found that more than 4.8 million jobs in New York could be lost or changed because of automation by 2037, and experts have warned that governments need to be prepared to keep the labor sector stable. The White House has made AI preparation a priority, with a particular focus on job training; now New York will take a similar approach to determine how to best prepare industries from disruptive technology.
Vanel said the panel can also help ensure that New York stays ahead of the pack in adopting new technology and growing the industry at home. “We’re in a great position to lead on innovation, policy and having businesses and government work together,” Vanel said. “Our state and our country needs to lead on this.”