Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to include proposals and give shape to plans for the future of artificial intelligence in New York in January's State of the State, including ideas to regulate the developing technology and expected impacts on the workforce.

Hochul and her staff are meeting with experts to develop proposals related to AI in the coming months.

"Executive Chamber staff and the governor herself are engaged in ongoing discussions with experts inside and outside of government to develop proposals on the big issues facing New Yorkers, including artificial intelligence," a spokesperson with Hochul's office said in a statement Thursday. "The governor will, as always, release a bold comprehensive policy agenda in January as part of the State of the State."

Hochul announced $20 million to advance AI research in the state at SUNY's first-ever AI Symposium at UAlbany earlier this week. When speaking to reporters at the event, Hochul floated forming a state task force to research the best ways to use AI and safeguard against possible consequences. Officials expect her to release more details about proposals for that task force in her executive budget proposal to be released in early 2024.

Artificial intelligence does not have its own line item in the state budget, and state Budget Division officials say it's difficult to calculate the state's total annual expenses related to the industry.

Assembly members on Thursday held a public hearing in Albany to examine the impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce. Lawmakers said they want to work with business owners and union leaders as artificial intelligence expands in society, and is expected to transform the workplace.

"AI is on the rise and it's here to stay, and it's going to change the world as we know it," Assembly Labor Committee chair Latoya Joyner said.

The technology can allow for faster decision-making, but it's not always accurate, or ethical, with potential copyright infringements, privacy concerns and inevitable bias in its algorithms.

"It's accelerating at a pace where it may be used in ways that we don't want as a society and we need to get the checks and balances in place for it," said Christopher Ford, council leader and executive board member of state workers' union Public Employees Federation.

State workforce union leaders testified to lawmakers Thursday that workers must be trained for new skills or other positions to avoid job cuts or displacement of employees.

On Monday, Hochul said she's confident the development of AI will not impact the state workforce, citing thousands of open positions.

"No one in our workforce needs to worry about losing a job, I'm trying to find more workers," the governor said. "I just stopped a hiring freeze that had been in place for many years that eviscerated our agencies. I'm trying to hire people."

But PEF leaders say AI will pose a risk to employees, as managers will eye potential cost savings. 

Union leaders say artificial intelligence was discussed in the latest collective bargaining agreement ratified earlier this year, and that a human must remain accountable for decisions made on the job. 

They warned lawmakers AI should not be used for public assistance, substance use treatment, mental health referrals and other human services.

"There is no price tag you can put on humans, right? That's truly what makes our society move forward," Joyner said.

She said the Legislature wants to be cautious with AI and avoid its hazards without suppressing the potential benefits of the unfolding technology.

Proposals regulating artificial intelligence could become a higher priority next session, but lawmakers say they're committed to putting humans first.

Assemblyman Alex Bores says he expects it will be part of upcoming difficult budget conversations as AI can streamline processes and cut costs.

"Where we can save money using AI, we should definitely be looking at it, but where we have to spend to reduce the risks, that will be a top priorioty," said Bores, a Manhattan Democrat. "This is a field that's moving so quickly, we can't just kick it off to future budget cycles."

Panelists also suggested lawmakers explore imposing a tax on employers that choose to replace staff with AI technology.