BY TRONE DOWD
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) is proposing yet another piece of legislation looking to put New York State at the forefront of regulating the future.
Vanel, who since being elected to the state Legislature in 2015 has seemed to carve out a niche for himself as a tech-focused politician, proposed the idea of studying and regulating artificial intelligence on a state level. The assemblyman made the announcement via his weekly Youtube series, “Clyde’s Corner.”
“I introduced Bill A8821 that creates a temporary state commission to study and investigate how to regulate artificial intelligence,” Clyde said.
As explained by Vanel in his video, artificial intelligence as many know it from science fiction movies and books, is not quite what Vanel is talking about. Instead, Vanel is referring to what is called “narrow artificial intelligence.” Examples of narrow artificial intelligence include less-advanced versions of the technology used in everyday items like Siri, Amazon’s Echo, Facebook’s suggested-friends software and other common products.
While scientists work to replicate human brain function has with the processing power of computers, Vanel argues that lawmakers should start research on such concepts now to get a leg up on the transformative technology.
“Regulators have to be proactive in making sure that we protect New Yorkers, America and mankind from those kinds of dangers,” Vanel said.
Over the last year, Vanel has tried to bring the attention of his peers in the Assembly and that of his constituents to universal internet access, crypto currencies like Bitcoin, and turning Southeast Queens into a cutting-edge neighborhood for businesses big and small to invest in.
In addition to his proposals on regulating AI for the near future, the assemblyman wrote a long form letter to his constituents about the Federal Communications Commision’s first step towards repealing Obama-era regulations on upholding net neutrality.
“In 2015, under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advanced rules that treated telecom companies and internet service providers (ISPs) like utilities, aiming to stop them from meddling with the internet,” Vanel said. “The rules also prohibited ISPs from charging tech companies or consumers for faster delivery of their music, movies or other content. In other words, content and data were to be treated equally with respect to transferability, delivery times, access and cost.”
But after the vote on Dec. 14, the FCC under President Donald Trump rolled back the rules.
“Currently, broadband companies are free to pursue so-called paid prioritization arrangements, if they choose to do so,” Vanel explained. “In place of the previous net neutrality protections, the FCC, under President Trump, is going to only require the internet service providers to be transparent about their network practices.”
Vanel revealed that he and his colleagues are already working towards making legislation to combat this controversial move by the president.
“Very shortly, the New York State Assembly will be advancing a bill to set up a commission to study how best to implement net neutrality rules in New York State,” Vanel said. “Look out for it.”