Innovative Gadgets

NYC’s enterprise chatbot is reportedly doling out ‘dangerously inaccurate’ data

An AI chatbot launched by the New York Metropolis authorities to assist enterprise homeowners entry pertinent data has been spouting falsehoods, at instances even misinforming customers about actions which are towards the regulation, in response to a report from . The report, which was co-published with the native nonprofit newsrooms Documented and The Metropolis, contains quite a few examples of inaccuracies within the chatbot’s responses to questions referring to housing insurance policies, staff’ rights and different subjects.

Mayor Adams’ administration in October as an addition to the MyCity portal, which as “a one-stop store for metropolis companies and advantages.” The chatbot, powered by Microsoft’s Azure AI, is geared toward present and aspiring enterprise homeowners, and was billed as a supply of “actionable and trusted data” that comes immediately from town authorities’s websites. However it’s a pilot program, and a disclaimer on the web site notes that it “might often produce incorrect, dangerous or biased content material.”

In The Markup’s checks, the chatbot repeatedly supplied incorrect data. In response to the query, “Can I make my retailer cashless?”, for instance, it replied, “Sure, you may make your retailer cashless in New York Metropolis” — even though New York Metropolis banned cashless shops in 2020. The report reveals the chatbot additionally responded incorrectly about whether or not employers can take their staff’ ideas, whether or not landlords have to just accept part 8 vouchers or tenants on rental help, and whether or not companies have to tell employees of scheduling adjustments. A housing coverage skilled that spoke to The Markup known as the chatbot “dangerously inaccurate” at its worst.

The town has indicated that the chatbot continues to be a piece in progress. In an announcement to The Markup, Leslie Brown, a spokesperson for the NYC Workplace of Know-how and Innovation, stated the chatbot “has already supplied 1000’s of individuals with well timed, correct solutions,” however added, “We’ll proceed to deal with upgrading this software in order that we are able to higher help small companies throughout town.”

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