Joint research by The Markup and The City revealed the chatbot’s shortcomings. Promoted as a time-saving tool with “actionable and reliable information,” MyCity misled users about the basic rules. For example, the bot argued that landlords could reject Section 8 housing vouchers; this contradicted the city’s official knowledge of fair housing practices. Similar discrepancies were found in industry-specific details such as workers’ compensation rules and funeral home prices.

The problem lies in MyCity technology. The chatbot, powered by Microsoft Azure, relies on guessing the next word in a sequence without understanding the basics. This method fails when there are no definitive answers in the training data. Markup even documented receiving both correct and incorrect answers to the same question from MyCity.

Although MyCity calls itself a “beta version” and warns users of possible inaccuracies, the official MyCity brand promotes it as the source of “official business information of New York City.” Experts say this incompatibility creates a risky situation for business owners who rely on the bot to make important decisions.

New York’s Office of Technology and Innovation defends the program, saying it has already helped many people get “timely and accurate answers.” They claim that they aim to improve the tool.

Source: Ferra

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I am a professional journalist and content creator with extensive experience writing for news websites. I currently work as an author at Gadget Onus, where I specialize in covering hot news topics. My written pieces have been published on some of the biggest media outlets around the world, including The Guardian and BBC News.


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