ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York government news, state officials are examining the opportunities — and risks — posed by artificial intelligence.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed legislation this month that creates a 13-member commission tasked with reviewing the emerging technology and what it will mean for New Yorkers.
Meanwhile, the ongoing scourge of opioid abuse is getting some attention with lawmakers announcing a series of public hearings to identify ways the state could do a better job of addressing the problem.
Here's a look at stories making news:
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, GENUINE FEARS
While no one is predicting a robot uprising any time soon, state officials say they are concerned by how the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics could affect jobs, the delivery of government services and personal privacy.
The New York State Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation Commission, approved by lawmakers earlier this year, will also look at how A.I. could be used "in unlawful or unsafe ways."
The governor, legislative leaders and leaders of the state's public colleges and universities will pick the members of the panel.
"Artificial intelligence and automation are already having a profound impact across many industries and their influence keeps growing, so it's critical that we do everything in our power to understand their capabilities and potential pitfalls," Cuomo said in a statement.
With more industries embracing A.I. and automation, officials say they want to make sure the state competes for technology jobs while at the same time regulating the use of the technology to protect businesses and consumers. The commission will report its findings back to the governor and Legislature.
"Artificial intelligence is an essential part of the workforce now," said state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island. "We cannot fear a future in which machines evolve beyond humans, so let's get ahead of the curve and study the issue."
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is planning several hearings beginning Aug. 9 in the Bronx focusing on the state's response to the opioid addiction crisis.
Lawmakers say they want to hear from families, medical experts, recovery professionals and law enforcement officials who have dealt with opioid abuse. The state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to prevent abuse and help New Yorkers struggling with addiction to get help. Lawmakers say they want to know what's working, and what's not.
Additional hearings are planned for central New York, Buffalo, Staten Island, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and Albany.
In the Albany area, Democrat Michelle Hinchey, the daughter of the late Rep. Maurice Hinchey, has formed a campaign committee to explore a run for a state Senate seat currently held by Republican George Amedore.
The 46th state Senate district covers all or parts of Albany, Schenectady, Ulster Montgomery and Greene counties — including areas once represented by Maurice Hinchey.
Michelle Hinchey, 31, said this week that she is starting a district-wide "listening tour."
Amedore has represented the district since 2015 and was previously a state Assemblyman.
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