ChatGPT News: China’s Cyberspace Administration has proposed strict regulations for companies that use artificial intelligence (AI) tools similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The proposed rules require companies to undergo a government security review before providing AI services and hold them accountable for any content that the services generate.
The content should not contain elements that subvert state power, incite secession, or disrupt social order, according to the draft of the rules. China’s regulators want to maintain a strong grip on regulating new technology while it eases up on its crackdown on internet companies.
Governments around the world are also grappling with how to govern the new wave of generative AI tools. The Biden administration in the US is examining whether checks need to be placed on these tools. Italy has temporarily banned ChatGPT, citing improper collection and storage of information.
The Chinese regulator’s announcement coincided with the launch of Tongyi Qianwen by Alibaba, a large language model that it plans to integrate across its products, including its search engine and voice assistant, entertainment, and e-commerce. SenseTime Group Inc., known for surveillance products such as facial recognition systems, also launched a ChatGPT-like service called SenseChat and a cluster of apps based on its AI model system SenseNova.
Huawei Technologies Co. has rolled out services based on Pangu, a collection of large AI models it has been developing since 2019, to enterprise clients in industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and meteorology.
Chinese tech companies are pushing to develop their own versions of the technology, even though their AI products still lag behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is unavailable in China.
Generative AI could open new revenue opportunities for them after the internet sector was battered in recent years by tighter regulatory oversight and a sluggish economy. However, Chinese companies have to navigate constraints such as US curbs on their purchase of advanced chips required for training AI models, as well as China’s rigid censorship policies.
According to the draft rules, companies would be responsible for protecting users’ personal information, while data that developers use to train their AI products should comply with Chinese laws.
China’s censorship rules not only restrict the content that AI can produce but limit the materials that Chinese developers can use to train their products to a much smaller pool than their foreign rivals, according to industry observers.
The proposed rules are more detailed than general guidelines being discussed in other jurisdictions, said You Chuanman of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, who specializes in tech regulation and global governance. He said that China’s rules would prohibit profiling users and impose strict controls on AI-generated content, potentially hindering innovation as China competes with the US in developing advanced technologies. He suggested that governments from different countries should work together to deliver a global standard for AI regulation. The proposed rules are open for public consultation until May 10, and the regulator has not stated when they would be rolled out.
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