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WNY elected officials, UB leadership & tech leaders support Empire AI, putting New York at 'forefront of responsible AI innovation'


Fri, Mar 22nd 2024 03:40 pm

Says Empire AI will ‘position New York as national leader in AI research & technology development, ensuring access to world-class computing power’

By the University at Buffalo

Western New York elected officials joined University at Buffalo Provost A. Scott Weber, UB Vice President for Research and Economic Development Venu Govindaraju and members of the Empire AI consortium today in support of Empire AI, a bold and first-in-the-nation initiative that will position New York as the national frontrunner in responsible artificial intelligence innovation.

Empire AI will allow UB and New York’s other research institutions to pioneer safe, equitable and accessible AI research and development that will benefit every corner of New York’s economy and quality of life.

In January, Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled her proposal to create a consortium, named Empire AI, that will launch a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center at UB. The center will be used by New York’s leading public and private institutions to promote responsible research and development, create jobs and develop AI innovations focused on tackling societal challenges – from health care, climate change and crime prevention to education, poverty and world hunger.

The consortium comprises the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Flatiron Institute, as well as philanthropic backers such as Tom Secunda and the Simons Foundation.

“As a leader in AI for over four decades, we, at the University at Buffalo, are very excited to be named the home of Empire AI – the epicenter of AI research, innovation and education for New York state,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi said. “With Empire AI, we will be able to leverage this vast computing power to solve the most vexing issues facing our state, nation and world. Empire AI will spur transformative research and attract federal funding while expanding 21st-century business and industry in Western New York and across the state.”

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Technology can be an immensely powerful tool – being completely dependent on the minds and hands wielding it. With great power comes great responsibility. The Empire AI consortium presents an innovative opportunity to further solidify New York state as a national leader in artificial intelligence, while growing our tech ecosystem and talent pipeline. The ability to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life by way of addressing societal ills using AI is something that we owe to our residents to pursue. I applaud Gov. Hochul, Tech: NYC and the members of the Empire AI consortium on their collective vision. I look forward to learning more about this initiative in the weeks and months ahead.”

New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, “For years, New York has led progressive policy and innovative research on a national scale, and Empire AI is just another form of that commitment to forward-thinking development and exploration. I look forward to watching UB play a prominent role in advancing this initiative, and discovering new ways that AI can elevate access to opportunities for the greater good of our community.”

New York State Sen. Sean Ryan said, “Investing in the industries of the future is a time-tested strategy for effective economic development. It allows us to leverage groundbreaking research and technological innovation to bring good-paying, stable jobs to our region. The role of artificial intelligence in our society is growing exponentially, and AI will have a major role in the global economy for many years to come. Housing Empire AI at the University at Buffalo will make Buffalo a leader in AI research and development, and make UB an even more attractive destination for the next generation of tech leaders.”

Assembly member Karen McMahon said, “As the premier institution of higher education and research in Western New York, and a flagship university in the SUNY system, it is altogether fitting that the University at Buffalo be the home for Empire AI. This is an overwhelming vote of confidence in UB and its role on the cutting edge of science and technology. AI is an intriguing new frontier with seemingly limitless possibilities and applications in many aspects of our lives. This investment ensures that New York will be at the forefront of this new technology. I'm proud to represent UB in the State Assembly, and thrilled that UB will be the home of New York State's exploration in this field for years to come.”

Assembly member Pat Burke said, “Empire AI will spearhead New York’s pioneering efforts in artificial intelligence, making our state a hub of technological innovation with Buffalo at its epicenter. It’s an honor to stand with fellow legislators and academic leaders in tech to support this project – one that will not only leverage AI’s potential and safeguard against its risks, but also bridge the digital gap through research and training. With the promise of both economic and educational benefits across our state, now is the time for New York to pass this transformative initiative.”

Assembly member Jon D. Rivera said, “We know that artificial intelligence is already transforming industries, economies and societies at an unprecedented pace. Empire AI is our state’s solution to ensuring that New York remains at the forefront of AI development and research, and we will do that by providing our universities, students and faculty with access to unparalleled AI resources. Western New York’s abundance of low-cost, renewable hydroelectricity makes Buffalo the best location statewide to host the hardware needed for this consortium, which will ensure that our workforce is equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in an AI-driven economy.”

The Empire AI consortium will lead the development for responsible AI that is focused on serving the public good. In the majority of cases, projects like these are funded by private entities and serve private interests. Empire AI will be the first project of its kind geared toward the public and overseen by educational institutions, and it will place New York in the driver’s seat for future AI development.

Through its partnership with New York’s leading colleges and research universities, Empire AI will also help to prepare the workforce of the future by championing skills and talent that will future-proof the jobs New York’s economy will rely on, taking the national lead on building and attracting the next generation of tech talent in New York.

More About Empire AI

Empire AI is a proposed consortium that would create a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center at the University at Buffalo. The consortium is comprised of the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Flatiron Institute. Intended to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and unlock AI opportunities focused on public good in New York, this initiative will bridge the gap between private funding and public interest through investments in both sectors to accelerate the development of AI centered in public interest for the state.

Additional information can be found at this memo of support.

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