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China updates draft rules governing generative AI platforms

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Chinese authorities are tightening the screws on the artificial intelligence (AI) industry in a valiant attempt to ensure safe usage for consumers.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) suggested including an additional requirement for firms to seek licensing before launching generative AI systems. If passed into law, a new licensing regime for AI firms could be floated before the end of the month, with the CAC poised to be the regulatory watchdog.

The licensing requirement follows a previous plan by the Chinese government to create a 10-day window for firms to register their AI products with relevant authorities. Pundits have pointed out that the new proposal is designed to rein in AI products that are inconsistent with the government’s blueprint.

Per the draft rules, all AI-generated content is expected to portray the socialist ideals of the Chinese state and should not “subvert state power, advocate the overthrow of the socialist system, incite splitting the country or undermine national unity.”

The draft rules urge AI developers to provide clear labeling of AI-generated content to avoid the spread of misinformation. Developers are expected to take extra precautions to ensure that the use of generative AI platforms does not violate existing laws against discrimination and comply with copyright regulations.

Another clause in China’s incoming AI legislation is the provision of a mandatory security review requiring developers to submit relevant information to authorities, including data used for training AI models.

The Chinese government has been resolute in its attempt at policing AI as it imposed certain restrictions on OpenAI ChatGPT “for violating relevant laws and regulations.” In May, Chinese authorities arrested a man for using ChatGPT to spread fake news on the internet, which could see the suspect bag up to ten years in prison.

After Big Tech firm Baidu (NASDAQ: BAIDF) launched a new AI chatbot dubbed Ernie in March, the Chinese government formally announced its intentions to float a regulatory regime for the technology.

Local firms Alibaba (NASDAQ: BABAF) and SenseTime (NASDAQ: SNTMF) are keeping a close eye on the incoming regulations as they nurse the intention of building their generative AI platforms to compete with OpenAI and Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGLBard.

China wary of innovative technologies

China’s blanket ban on digital currencies in the summer of 2021 has fueled speculation that the country may adopt the same route with AI if the incoming legislation fails to standardize the industry.

Around the world, regulators are scrambling to issue guidelines for AI developers, with the European Union (EU) taking the lead. Under the proposed EU AI Act, authorities are leaning toward banning AI-based predictive policing and emotion recognition systems while bringing products in line with the region’s privacy laws.

At the start of July, a vanguard of CEOs dabbling in AI penned a strongly worded letter to EU regulators, warning that harsh regulations may lead to a mass exit to friendlier jurisdictions.

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Lise Li: BSV Blockchain in China

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