NYC councilwoman-elect Susan Zhuang admits to quietly using AI to communicate with the public, answer media questions

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



A Brooklyn Democrat who will be sworn into the City Council in January has been quietly using artificial intelligence to communicate with the public – including the media, The Post has learned.

Susan Zhuang, who was elected to represent a newly created Asian-majority district in southern Brooklyn, admitted she uses popular AI tools like ChatGBT after being confronted by The Post about AI-generated answers she submitted for a recent Q and A interview with the media outlet City & State.

When asked, “What makes someone a New Yorker?” Zhaung sent back a 101-word response that began with, “New York City, the concrete jungle where dreams come true. It’s not just a place, it’s a state of mind. Being a New Yorker means having an unstoppable hustle, unbreakable resilience and unrivaled independence. …”

Councilwoman-elect Susan Zhuang speaking at a Brooklyn rally in June in which she called for the city to create more academic-screened school seats. Helayne Seidman
Zhuang admits using an AI tool to submit answers to questions posed by City & State, saying it is partly because “English is not my primary language.”

Believing the response sounded nothing like Zhuang, a top Democratic operative suggested to The Post that it be tested for authenticity. The newspaper ran her answers through Copyleaks.com, whose AI content-detection tool boasts a 99% accuracy rate, and found it was written by artificial intelligence.

Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime New York-based Democratic political consultant, said he’s heard of elected officials using AI for campaigning — but never to respond to general questions from reporters or other members of the public. He fears it “could be the wave of the future.”

“It is very troubling,” he said.  “We’d be better off with robots in public office – at least we would know what we got.”

Zhuang has been using artificial intelligence to answer media questions and communicate with her future constituents. Friends of Susan Zhuang

Ying Tan, a Republican community activist who lost November’s general election to Zhuang, said she’s “not surprised” to learn her rival is using AI. The pol said she noticed that many of Zhuang’s posts on social media read nothing like how she speaks to the public during live events.

“If she can’t answer questions on her own, how can we expect her to represent the district?” said Tan, who is mulling a rematch in the 2025 election. “Is she going to use the Internet and computer programs to write her bills, too?”

During a brief phone call, Zhuang initially blamed her staff for sending the AI-generated answers to City & State.

However, Zhuang, who speaks fluent Mandarin, later texted a reporter a prepared statement saying “as an immigrant and Brooklyn’s first Chinese-American Councilwoman, I, like many of my fellow immigrants, use AI as a tool to help foster deeper understanding as well as for personal growth, particularly when English is not my primary language.”

Councilwoman Julie Menin (D-Manhatan) has authored a resolution calling on the FEC to ban “deceptive artificial intelligence” in political campaigns. Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire/Shutterstock

The revelation that Zhuang is relying on AI to get her message out to the public comes as Councilwoman Julie Menin (D-Manhattan) is pushing a non-binding resolution demanding the Federal Election Commission prohibit political candidates from “using deceptive artificial intelligence” in campaigns. 

Political ads using AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E have already been deployed on campaign trails — producing fake images of Donald Trump resisting arrest and of his wife Melania yelling at police.

Trump has also been depicted hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic in a campaign ad using AI by GOP presidential nominee rival Ron DeSantis in June.



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