NYC council member shares AI responses

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Susan Zhuang, a Democrat who will soon represent the 43rd Council District in Brooklyn, New York, admitted she used artificial intelligence to answer questions from global news. The New York Post submitted her response to the popular AI detector Copyleaks, which yielded a 99% likelihood of AI generation.

Artificial intelligence is already becoming everyone’s tool, especially for lawmakers. You might think this incident is only for Americans until you realize everyone worldwide can use ChatGPT.  In response, you should understand how your lawmakers may use or misuse AI programs. It all starts by exploring Zhuang’s recent incident.

This article will discuss how this NYC council member used AI to answer a questionnaire. Later,  I will show you how other governments use ChatGPT for positive purposes. 

Why did this NYC council member use AI?

Photo Credit: cityandstateny.com

Susan Zhuang initially blamed her staff for sending AI-generated answers to the City & State. However, The Post shared her text message to a reporter:

“As an immigrant and Brooklyn’s first Chinese-American Councilwoman. I, like many of my fellow immigrants, use AI as a tool to help foster deeper understanding as well as for personal growth, particularly when English is not my primary language.

However, City & State New York left the AI-generated response in its “Meet the new City Council members” article. “After publication, Zhuang admitted this response was written using artificial intelligence,” the publication stated in its Editor’s note.

“City & State expects respondents to answer questions in their own words. While this falls short of that standard, we are leaving this response in place for the sake of transparency to our readers,” it added. You may read the full answer above. 

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Several lawmakers chimed in on the recent AI debacle. Hank Sheinkopf, a NY-based Democratic political consultant, said he has heard of elected officials using AI for campaigns but not for answering general questions.

Sheinkopf told NYP it “could be the wave of the future.” He added, “It is very troubling. We’d be better off with robots in public office. At least we would know what we got.” 

Ying Tan, a Republican community activist, said she’s “not surprised” her rival used AI. “If she can’t answer questions on her own, how can we expect her to represent the district? Is she going to use the Internet and computer programs to write her bills, too?” 

How do other governments use AI?

Artificial intelligence can potentially improve government services, not just tarnish public trust. Let’s start with the first country to adopt AI for government: the United Arab Emirates. 

Its Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) uses it to recommend business names. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can open the UAE website’s “Name Ideas” section for appropriate website domain names for startups. 

They can submit a “description of the commercial activity for which they want to find a local domain name.” Then, the AI bot analyzes the information and recommends a list of domain names according to availability and suitability. Moreover, they have English and Arabic translations.

In February 2023, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said it would use ChatGPT to enhance its services. Specifically, it will provide “integrated and advanced services that enhance productivity and meet current and future needs.”

Besides Dubai, Singapore has also been developing ChatGPT government services. Specifically, it is building a proprietary AI chatbot that uses OpenAI’s large language model, GPT-3.

The Pair bot is a joint project between Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and Open Government Products. Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary said it would summarize long reference material, explore related ideas, and improve writing clarity.

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In April, Japan tested ChatGPT in its Yokosuka city government and discovered it improves operations and shortens business hours. Consequently, it will launch a “siloed” ChatGPT for government ministries and corporations.

The AI adoption is part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s goal of using artificial intelligence to drive economic growth. The bot will reduce officials’ workloads by preparing questions for Diet sessions and recording minutes of meetings.

More importantly, the “siloed” version enables the Japanese government to use it safely. It has a dedicated data center to handle and secure sensitive data.

Conclusion

NYC council member Susan Zhuang admitted to using AI to answer questions from a local news publication. Consequently, she received negative public feedback.

On the other hand, other countries have been using artificial intelligence to serve people better. For example, it reduces workloads for Japanese government officials so that they can focus on more important tasks. 



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Your politicians may soon use similar methods, so watch out! Get more details about the AI-generated response at the City & State webpage. Learn more about the latest digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech. 

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