May 9, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Steps to Advance Artificial Intelligence Capability at SUNY and Make New York National Leader in AI

Governor Hochul Announces Steps to Advance Artificial Intelligence Capability at SUNY and Make New York National Leader in AI

Will Lay Groundwork to Bring the Power of AI to SUNY Campuses and Promote Responsible Research

SUNY INSPIRE Center Will Scale AI Research and Scholarship to Advance Public Good

New Departments of AI and Society at Select SUNY Campuses to Spur Innovation and Improve Lives

New Chatbot Program Will Enable Every SUNY Student, Faculty, and Staff to Use Responsible AI for Courses, Projects, and Research

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced further steps to secure New York’s place at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. The new SUNY INSPIRE Center will scale AI research and scholarship to advance public good. In addition, select SUNY campuses will create Departments of AI and Society to spur innovation and improve lives. SUNY will also create a new generative AI chatbot program that can be tailored for coursework, research, and student projects. Just weeks after securing $275 million in the FY 2025 budget for Empire AI, these programs will be among the first steps to bring the power of AI to SUNY students, promote responsible research and development, and advance AI for the public good.

“We are not waiting to start bringing the power of AI to our students,” Governor Hochul said. “Empire AI will position New York at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, with SUNY students pioneering the research that will transform the way that New Yorkers live their lives for the better.”

In partnership with the State University of New York and building on the work of SUNY’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force, Governor Hochul announced:

  • Launch of SUNY INSPIRE Center. The Innovative Network for SUNY’s Pioneering AI Research and Excellence Center will allow SUNY to scale AI research and scholarship that advances the public good, attract federal research funding for students and faculty, and leverage Empire AI across SUNY’s four University Centers: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, and Stony Brook University.
  • Creation of Departments and Centers of AI and Society across select SUNY campuses. The Departments and Centers will increase community involvement in AI, address the ethical considerations of the development and evolution of the use of AI in society, and advance research and innovation to harness the power of data responsibly.
  • AI research internships for SUNY students. SUNY is dedicating 45 paid summer research internships to projects focused on the use of AI for the public good through the Chancellor’s Summer Research Excellence Fund.
  • New chatbot program will make SUNY the largest AI Large Language Model-enabled education system in the world. Chatbots will enable students to develop projects, learn from faculty and their peers and interact with customized AI-based tutors tailored to provide anytime/anywhere assistance. By training these models entirely on SUNY-specific data, issues of privacy, security, and educational integrity can be maintained. SUNY will also continue to implement strong rules and standards to prevent plagiarism and ensure academic excellence.

CUNY is also working to develop similar programs at its campuses, building on the $75 million commitment from the Simons Foundation, which included $50 million to establish CUNY as a hub for computational science and $25 million to support CUNY’s partnership in Empire AI.

Empire AI will position New York at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, with SUNY students pioneering the research that will transform the way that New Yorkers live their lives for the better.”

Governor Hochul

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “Governor Hochul is setting the stage for New York State to capitalize on artificial intelligence, bringing forth innovation in education, driving research, and empowering economic leadership in this global space. SUNY researchers and faculty are poised to support this work—with significant New York State investment and resources in the Empire AI consortium and the SUNY INSPIRE Center—and SUNY system and our campuses are eager to proceed with this technology, ethically and strategically.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “CUNY applauds Governor Hochul’s far-sighted initiative to quickly expand access to artificial intelligence technology in New York State. We thank the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International for their historic investment in CUNY, which will support the University as a center for computational science and its partnership in Empire AI. This initiative will help to ensure equity in tech and expand access to the fastest developing innovations for CUNY’s diverse students and faculty, and enable them to harness AI’s potential to serve the public good.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "AI is proving to be one of the most revolutionary technologies of our lifetime. New York is making investments to ensure the state is a leader in these innovations, all with a focus on ethical applications. Today's announcement complements Governor Hochul's Empire AI initiative by further empowering the state's world-class university system to pursue responsible advancements in AI to create the jobs of tomorrow, and attract investments to New York."

Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at the Association for a Better New York Power Breakfast

Governor Hochul’s Innovation Agenda

Governor Hochul’s commitment to advancing New York’s leadership in artificial intelligence builds on her broader agenda to expand cutting-edge technology development in the Empire State. Governor Hochul recently announced that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and Girls Who Code CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett will co-chair the new Emerging Technology Advisory Board – an independent group of industry leaders tasked with informing and accelerating New York’s transformation into a hub for growth and innovation. The Governor previously signed New York’s historic Green CHIPS legislation to drive semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing in New York State and announced a $10 billion partnership to bring next-generation chips research to NY CREATES’ Albany NanoTech Complex. The Governor has continued to advance a $620 million Life Science Initiative to support innovation in biomedical research. And through strategic investments like the $113.7 million Battery-NY initiative, Governor Hochul has fueled the growth of the sustainability, green technology, and energy storage economies in New York State.

The Governor’s innovation agenda has catalyzed major public and private investments, transforming New York’s economy and creating good-paying jobs of the future. GlobalFoundries recently announced an $11.6 billion investment to expand its chip manufacturing campus in New York’s Capitol Region, creating 1,500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs. In 2022, Micron announced a 20-year, $100 billion investment to create a megafab campus in Central New York, creating 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs and unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars in community benefits. The Governor’s Life Sciences Initiative helped to solidify New York’s selection for the $300 million Chan Zuckerberg Biohub New York, a biomedical research hub in New York City, and significant investments from Schrödinger, Inc., Deerfield Discovery and Development, and other life sciences businesses. Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation also announced a $160 million investment in Binghamton University’s New Energy New York Storage Engine to establish a hub for innovation, technology translation, and workforce development to grow the capacity of the domestic battery industry.

Access to the computing resources that power AI systems is prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain. These resources are increasingly concentrated in the hands of large technology companies, who maintain outsized control of the AI development ecosystem. As a result, researchers, public interest organizations, and small companies are being left behind, which has enormous implications for AI safety and society at large. Empire AI will bridge this gap and accelerate the development of AI centered in public interest for New York State. Enabling this pioneering AI research and development will also help educational institutions incubate the AI-focused technology startups of the future, driving job growth.

The Empire AI consortium will include seven New York-based founding institutions: Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, the City University of New York, and the Flatiron Institute. By increasing collaboration between New York State’s world-class research institutions, Empire AI will allow for efficiencies of scale not able to be achieved by any single university, empower and attract top notch faculty and expand educational opportunity, and give rise to a wave of responsible innovation that will significantly strengthen our state’s economy and our national security. Empire AI will be hosted at the University at Buffalo.

The initiative will be funded by over $400 million in public and private investment, including a $250 million State capital grant investment, and $25 million over ten years in SUNY funding. The project will also receive more than $125 million from the founding institutions and other private partners, including the Simons Foundation, whose Flatiron Institute works to advance research through computational methods, and Tom Secunda, co-founder of Bloomberg LP and the Secunda Family Foundation, which provides millions of dollars a year in grants to conservation, health care, scientific advancement and other causes.

In addition, as part of the Budget, Governor Hochul signed legislation to prioritize safe, ethical uses of AI as the state continues to build its AI footprint. The legislation includes a requirement that all forms of political communication – including image, video, audio, text or any technological representation of speech or conduct – disclose the use of materially deceptive media.

About The State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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