China publishes interim guidelines on AI

July 13, 2023
China AI

China has announced interim guidelines for regulating its AI industry.

These guidelines will only apply to services intended for public use as the government seeks to pave the way for the rollout of AI products.

Set to come into effect on August 15, the guidelines indicate China’s appetite for boosting its AI industry while controlling the risks of generative AI. 

The guidelines follow the draft regulations released in April that require companies to undergo security assessments before launching their products for public use.

“The current version is very much in line with market expectations,” said Kai Wang, an analyst with Morningstar. “It sends the positive signal that the regulators are paving the way for companies in China to launch their products on a large scale.”

Chinese AI companies have refrained from releasing chatbots to the public until Beijing finalized rules for the technology and approved their products. 

On Thursday, the regulatory body, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), stressed again that the content generated by generative AI must conform to China’s fundamental socialist values. Xi Jinping had previously warned of AI undermining the country’s sociopolitical status quo. 

Additionally, Chinese regulation says AI companies must protect intellectual property rights and ensure the use of legitimate data sources. Another key point is that China is imposing far fewer restrictions on AIs that aren’t intended to be released to the public. 

“Relevant national authorities shall … improve their supervisory methods so that they are scientific and compatible with innovation and development,” said the regulator.

China is interested in international collaboration on AI

On Wednesday, Elon Musk said he thought China was open to a collaborative international framework for AI. He was visiting China a few weeks ago, where he discussed AI. 

“China is definitely interested in working in a cooperative international framework for AI regulation,” Musk told Reuters

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, stated that China is focused on promoting sound AI governance and “advocates adhering to the principle of human-centered intelligence and creating artificial intelligence for good.”

“China is willing to enhance communication and exchanges with the international community on AI security governance, promote the establishment of an international mechanism with universal participation, and form a governance framework and standards that share broad consensus,” Wang responded about Musk’s comments.

China’s proactive approach to regulation contrasts with the US, which was somewhat dithering on the topic until Senator Chuck Schumer recently unveiled plans to organize “AI insight forums” to fast-track regulation.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.

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