Artificial intelligence hub planned for Orange County

By Daniel Axelrod
Times Herald-Record

Posted Feb 24, 2020 at 6:53 PM
HIGHLAND FALLS – A local economic development agency has big ambitions to lure researchers and companies to the Village of Highland Falls to study artificial intelligence.

Last week, the leaders of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency’s Accelerator program, which incubates new businesses and speeds up the growth of fledgling firms, said they’ll soon pick a village property for an artificial intelligence-themed branch.

Accelerator leaders also have been pitching West Point’s AI researchers to collaborate with the incubator. And Accelerator leaders hope their AI cluster entices military contractors and AI firms not in the incubator to open in and around Highland Falls.

“I’ve been doing this (serving in municipal government) for 32 years, and this is the most exciting thing that’s happened for Highland Falls,” Village Mayor Joseph D’Onofrio said of the forthcoming Accelerator branch.

AI technology creates computer systems capable of tasks normally requiring human intelligence, including visual perception, speech recognition and decision-making. Robots, self-driving cars and missile systems are among countless applications.

The IDA is an independent, nonprofit public benefit corporation with an Orange County Legislature-appointed board that votes on tax breaks to attract and retain jobs.

The IDA uses applicants’ fees to fund three Accelerator-branded incubators, averaging $14,000 in economic incentive costs per job for the 145 jobs it’s created in local fashion, cannabis and medical device clusters.

By April, Accelerator leaders expect to pick a Highland Falls building for their fourth branch, Accelerator.AI, which could house six to eight initial businesses in 2020, with room for growth.

Read more here.