Official NYC Chatbot Encouraging Small Businesses to Break the Law

An official New York City chatbot designed to advise local business owners and landlords on city laws appears to have little to no understanding of said city laws, according to a report from The Markup — and is actually in some cases encouraging landlords and small businesses to break the law. Unveiled last October, the MyCity chatbot was introduced as part of mayor Eric Adams’ “New York City Artificial Intelligence Plan,” described in a press release as a “comprehensive” government effort to “cement” the city’s “position as a leader in the responsible use of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technology.” The AI bot, which is powered by tech by Microsoft, was central to this rollout, and city officials lauded the bot’s ability to help small business and property owners more effectively navigate complicated legal questions. “I look forward to seeing how the MyCity AI chatbot unlocks the potential of small-business owners across our city,” the city’s First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright said in a statement at the time,” 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.'” But as it turns out, the MyCity bot appears to be offering absolutely terrible advice. When the Markup journalists put the AI — which notes on its website that it draws information “published by the NYC Department of Small Business Services” — through its paces, they discovered the service was consistently spitting out backward legal advice…Official NYC Chatbot Encouraging Small Businesses to Break the Law

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