Mayor Defends Faulty AI Chatbot, Interview on Breakfast Club

By Shenal Tissera

New York City Mayor Eric Adams defended the use of a chatbot that is currently spilling incorrect information about city regulations, as well as his policy decisions on crime and police misconduct, after he was recently grilled on a local radio show.

Adams, during his weekly Tuesday media briefing, said he would not discontinue the use of the MyCity Business Services Chatbot, designed to provide information to current or future business owners, even after an investigation conducted by The Markup news site revealed that the AI chatbot repeatedly gave out false information.

He noted the “kinks” present in the system was a necessary step for technological evolution and was exactly what was needed to improve the Microsoft powered AI.

“You can’t stay in the lab forever,” he said. “We’re identifying what the problems are, we’re going to fix them, and we’re going to have the best chatbot system on the globe.”

The site used to have a note saying that the chatbot, “may occasionally produce incorrect, harmful or biased content.” However, it was recently updated to reflect the investigation and now states the chatbot is a “beta product” with responses that “may sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete.”

Meanwhile, the mayor addressed his contentious interview on the radio show the Breakfast Club on March 29, when Olayemi Olurin, a lawyer and political commentator, held Adams’ feet to the fire on his rhetoric on crimemigrants, policy decisions regarding Rikers Island, and police misconduct, including the shooting death of a 19-year-old boy in Queens by police on March 27.

The mayor defended his record and touted his authenticity as a New Yorker with working class roots. He did not address the specific points Olurin made about his policies and mayoral record on the radio show, which he said he wanted to reappear on, but did say: “I am not a punk.”

Adams was also questioned about the New York City Rent Guidelines Board’s 2024 Income and Expense Study that revealed the net operating income for building owners of rent stabilized units grew by 10.4% citywide from 2021-2022.

The mayor was quick to point out the scope of the study failed to take into account small property landlords who get lumped in with luxury properties in Manhattan.

“When you do reports like that of citywide averages, you’re taking Manhattan and expensive luxury buildings into account,” said Adams. “When you speak to those 10-family houses, 13-family houses, immigrants who came to this city or have come from the South and they put everything they have into their buildings, they’re hurting.”

Borough wide, the net operating income for building owners increased in Manhattan (30.6%), Brooklyn (8.3%) and Queens (0.6%) and dropped in Staten Island (-9.3%) and the Bronx (-14%).

In the same time period, a 2023 Income and Affordability Study conducted by the same board reported average real wages dropped in every single borough. Manhattan had the largest decrease at 2.7% while accounting for three-quarters of the wages earned in NYC.

“You hear both from landlords and from tenants about the strain they are facing,” said Maria Torres-Springer, the deputy mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce. “We are reminded every year through the Rent Guidelines Board process about constraints on both sides.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *