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NYC Reveals Progress, Guidance on Generative AI

New York City leaders on Thursday announced milestones met in the city’s Artificial Intelligence Action Plan. These include the establishment of an AI Steering Committee and the publication of guiding principles.

New York City panorama skyline at sunrise.
New York City’s plans to advance on AI are underway in earnest, officials said Thursday, announcing several major milestones in the Artificial Intelligence Action Plan have been met.

The city has spent recent years honing in on tech advancement, from the launch of its Smart City Testbed Program to the prioritization of data work. Mayor Eric Adams announced the AI Action Plan in October 2023 as a way to guide responsible implementation and governance for AI technologies. More specifically, the plan laid out 37 action items with the expectation that at least 27 would be completed by October 2024.

Thursday’s announcement highlighted several targets outlined in the plan that have been met. First, the Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) has published a list of guiding principles for AI use and has provided agencies with guidance on AI tools. Second, OTI has published key terms and definitions in this area. And third, the city has established the AI Steering Committee and the AI Advisory Network.

OTI Senior Director of Communications Ray Legendre told Government Technology in an email that there may be periodic opportunities to bring together the AI Steering Committee and the Advisory Network for information sharing. Looking ahead, Legendre said OTI will continue building out policy and guidance to shape how NYC agencies approach AI implementation.

New York City’s ability to balance risks and rewards related to AI is critical to the city’s success as “the AI revolution” moves forward, Adams said in the announcement.

The city’s generative AI guidance outlines recommendations and policy requirements for city employees related to the use of these technologies. OTI issued this preliminary guidance to support agencies as they explore these tools. Among other things, the guidance offers considerations on cybersecurity, privacy, trust and transparency.

OTI has also published an evolving list of guiding principles and key terms and definitions to guide AI use. The purpose is to establish core principles to support agency use and to make definitions of commonly used terms standardized and accessible.

The AI Steering Committee will be chaired by Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser and comprise 23 representatives from 16 city agencies. The committee will support OTI as it implements the AI Action Plan, offering use cases, risks and more.

“New York City staked its claim among global leaders on artificial intelligence governance with the release of its landmark AI Action Plan — and we remain ahead of the curve thanks to these updates,” Fraser said in the announcement.

Committee members will act as AI governance leaders within the city. Through collaboration, the committee will help outline best practices for the research, development, implementation and procurement of AI tools. It will also create a risk management framework.

The Advisory Network convenes insight from sectors including private industry, academia, labor and civic organizations. Members include Humane Intelligence CEO Rumman Chowdhury; Tech: NYC Vice President of Policy Marjorie Velázquez; Intel Labs Research Scientist Elizabeth Watkins; Columbia University’s Data Science Institute Interim Director Clifford Stein; Stefaan Verhulst, founder of The GovLab and The Data Tank; and Columbia University Executive Vice President for Research Jeannette M. Wing.

Their varied expertise is intended to help OTI ensure urgent challenges are being addressed via technically sound solutions.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.