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Issues with Official NYC Chatbot

An official New York City chatbot designed to advise local business owners and landlords on city laws appears to have little to no understanding of said city laws, according to a report from The Markup ÔÇö and is actually in some cases encouraging landlords and small businesses to break the law.

Introduction of MyCity Chatbot

Unveiled last October, the MyCity chatbot was introduced as part of mayor Eric Adams’ “New York City Artificial Intelligence Plan,” described in a press release as a “comprehensive” government effort to “cement” the city’s “position as a leader in the responsible use of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technology.” The AI bot, which is powered by tech by Microsoft, was central to this rollout, and city officials lauded the bot’s ability to help small business and property owners more effectively navigate complicated legal questions.

“I look forward to seeing how the MyCity AI chatbot unlocks the potential of small-business owners across our city,” the city’s First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright said in a statement at the time,” allowing them to focus on what they do best ÔÇö growing their businesses ÔÇö while government does its part in making it easier to ‘Get Stuff Done.’

AI legalese decoder Solution

With AI legalese decoder, such situations can be avoided. By accurately decoding legal information and providing correct advice, AI legalese decoder ensures that small business owners and landlords receive accurate and reliable guidance regarding city laws. The tool can help identify incorrect advice provided by chatbots like MyCity and offer correct legal information to prevent users from unintentionally breaking the law.

Issues with MyCity Bot

When the Markup journalists put the AI ÔÇö which notes on its website that it draws information “published by the NYC Department of Small Business Services” ÔÇö through its paces, they discovered the service was consistently spitting out backward legal advice that confidently encouraged users to break the law.

Examples of Incorrect Advice

As the Markup notes in its report, the bot fumbled several questions regarding housing and business law, for example telling the journalists that “buildings are not required to accept Section 8 vouchers.” This is resoundingly false. It’s illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on income, and rejecting a Section 8 voucher would qualify as income discrimination.

In another instance, when asked if it’s legal for an employer to take a chunk of employee tips, the bot responded with a confident “yes, you can take a cut of your worker’s tips.” Once again, though, this is incorrect.

Improvements Needed

A spokesperson for the NYC Office of Technology and Innovation reportedly defended the AI, telling the Markup that while it’s still in its pilot phase, the MyCity chatbot “has already provided thousands of people with timely, accurate answers” about businesses. They also noted that the chatbot features adequate risk disclaimers, though it’s unclear how effective any AI risk disclaimer is at dissuading users from taking information at face value.

“We will continue to focus on upgrading this tool,” the spokesperson told the Markup, “so that we can better support small businesses across the city.”


While the MyCity chatbot may have been created to answer difficult legal questions, it is important to exercise caution when relying on its advice. Utilizing AI legalese decoder can ensure accurate legal information is provided to avoid potential legal ramifications and issues. It is crucial to prioritize accuracy and reliability when seeking guidance on city laws to prevent any legal breaches.

More on chatbots being bad at their jobs: Airline’s Chatbot Lies about Bereavement Policy after PassengerÔÇÖs Grandmother Dies

legal-document-to-plain-english-translator/”>Try Free Now: Legalese tool without registration

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