China’s Cyberspace Administration to regulate AI services

In the months after its launch, ChatGPT has spawned multiple imitations and sparked debate worldwide about the role of AI in society. Now, the Chinese government is keen to bring the sector under regulation.

In this vein, a new proposal has been put forward by the Cyberspace Administration, China’s internet regulatory body. The administration is under direct party control and has stakes in ByteDance and other major domestic tech companies.

The proposal, entitled “Approaches to the management of AI generative services”, is aimed at ensuring the “healthy development” and “standardized application” of any “technologies that generate text, pictures, sounds, videos, codes, and other content based on algorithms, models, and rules”. Among the detailed suggestions put forward, key stipulations include introducing measures to prevent unfair business competition, generation of false information, and mental and physical harm being done to others as a result of the technology.

AI generative services will also be expected to uphold CCP ideology, much like other internet services, with the document stating that content generated by AI should “reflect the core values ​​of socialism” and must not “subvert state power” or “undermine national unity”. The proposal also states that AI generative services that do not comply will be suspended or terminated.

The move comes hot on the heels of announcements of new ChatGPT-style platforms from several of China’s tech giants. Most recently, Alibaba announced its version of the technology, called Tongyi Qianwen, will be available in beta form this month.  The creators of China’s search engine Baidu unveiled their own AI chat bot on March 16, but reactions were subdued and Baidu’s stocks took a hit as a result. A metaverse social app develop called Tagging has harnessed AI chatbot technology to take digital social interaction to the next level, allowing users to finetune the actions of their personal digital characters. 

On April 11, the Cyberspace administration announced that the draft proposal is now open to public comment. According to the announcement, citizens can submit their comment via email, letter, or the Ministry of Justice website until May 10. The draft proposal has become a trending topic on the microblogging site Weibo, with the hashtagApproaches to the management of AI generative services” gaining over 10 million views so far.


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