Chinese Government Drafts New Rules for Generative AI Tech

As China’s tech giants begin releasing ChatGPT-style products, the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has issued a draft of what will become the country’s first set of restrictions for generative AI. Ground rules include limiting content created by AI to that which reflects the core values of socialism and does not subvert state power in text or image, according to the draft. Models should also be trained in a way that does not allow them to generate false information or exhibit bias as to race, ethnicity or gender. The news comes as three Chinese firms release generative AI platforms.

The draft rules are couched as a warning by Ars Technica, which says the Chinese government is concerned about AI’s “potential for ‘social mobilization.’” The CAC’s draft rules say providers “have to submit their products for security reviews before their public release,” indicating it is establishing a database for the registration of public-facing AI.

“The regulator also said platforms must verify users’ identities, allowing usage to be tracked,” Ars Technica writes. U.S. chatbots such as Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing have also been archiving user conversations, which they say is for product improvement; and while the companies may use the data for things like ad targeting, a firewall exists between them and the federal government.

China is lagging slightly behind the U.S., where OpenAI’s DALL-E text-to-image generator appeared in 2021, while chatbots — including OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard — took off with the public beginning in February.

In China, image generators from Tencent (Different Dimension Me) and Baidu (Ernie-ViLG) became available in Q4, while IDEA — the Shenzhen-based International Digital Economy Academy founded by former Microsoft computer scientist Harry Shum — introduced its open-source text-to-image model Taiyi in January.

As for Chinese chatbots, “on Tuesday, Alibaba unveiled Tongyi Qianwen, its generative AI product, that the e-commerce giant plans to integrate across various services,” writes CNBC. One day earlier, SenseTime, which Ars Technica calls the “Chinese AI software leader,” debuted its SenseChat bot. They followed Baidu, which on March 16 met its self-imposed deadline to unveil the highly anticipated Ernie Bot.

China’s AI rules are expected to take effect later this year, and “will work in tandem with China’s various other regulations around data protection and algorithm development,” CNBC says, adding that “China is not the only country concerned with the development of generative AI. In March, Italy banned ChatGPT citing privacy concerns.”

And The Wall Street Journal reports that the Biden administration is considering “possible rules for AI tools like ChatGPT” as “fears grow over the potential use of artificial intelligence to commit crimes and spread falsehoods.”

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