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Legislation would require state agencies to reassess algorithms, artificial intelligence

Legislation would require state agencies to reassess algorithms, artificial intelligence
The LOADinG Act, which passed in the Senate and Assembly, targets algorithms, computer models, and artificial intelligence used by state agencies

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New York Legislature passes bill targeting automated decision making at state agencies

Albany, N.Y. - In a first-in-the-nation move, both houses of New York's legislature have passed a bill aimed at regulating "automated decision making" at state agencies. The bill, known as the LOADinG Act, would cover software that relies on algorithms, computer models, or artificial intelligence.

According to a spokesperson for Sen. Kristen Gonzalez, the bill's sponsor, state agencies use automated decision-making for a variety of tasks, including issuing driver's licenses, awarding public benefits, processing low-income housing applications, and reviewing state taxes. If signed by the governor, the act would require public notice when state agencies use these systems, direct human review and oversight, and a report to the governor every two years. It would also prohibit using the technology to replace workers.

The bill also calls for an impact assessment report to add transparency and justify the use of any automated system that affects individual rights, civil liberties, or safety. If a state agency's system is found to show bias, they would be required to stop using it.

Sen. Gonzalez, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Internet and Technology, emphasized the need for guardrails, transparency, and oversight to ensure that automated decision-making and artificial intelligence tools do not provide faulty, biased, or discriminatory outcomes. Her counterpart sponsor in the Assembly, Science and Technology Committee Chair Steven Otis, echoed these sentiments, stating that while these tools can improve services, they must be accompanied by proper controls and oversight.

The bill now awaits the governor's signature to become law.