BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing New York's public universities and some of its top private institutions team up to stay relevant in the rapidly advancing world of artificial intelligence, or AI technology.

"The companies like Amazon and Microsoft and Google, the big tech giants, they are able to invest in these resources and make those artificial intelligence advances and the universities are being left behind," Venu Govindaraju, University at Buffalo vice president for Research and Economic Development, said.

The governor calls the proposed consortium Empire AI with plans for the state to pitch in $275 million with another $125 million from private partners to get it off the ground. Govindaraju said academia has built-in advantages, including a vast amount of data and student and faculty talent.

"It's going to attract the top researchers from the world to come here. It will attract the best students to come here. It will attract all the companies to come and locate near New York, the universities," he said.

Phillips Lytle Partner Rick Marinaccio, who advises clients on emerging technology including AI, believes the state would be making a smart investment in better understanding both positive and negative impacts rather than simply leave research and development to the private sector.

"AI is not going away, right? This isn't a fad that's going to pass and it will be something else in 2025. It's going to continue to grow and continue to evolve and so I think it's good to be informed and involved from an early stage," he said.

Govindaraju believes much of the investment will go into the tremendous amount of necessary computing power — which will likely be centralized to one hub. Buffalo is making the case it is best positioned to be that hub due to already established and robust AI and supercomputing programs, and access to hydroelectric power among other things.

"If you look around New York, we definitely lead as the place where AI's happening," he said.

He said it ultimately should spur economic development too as startups that don't have access to the resources of the tech giants, will come to New York to develop their ideas.