China's Regulations on Generative AI Services: An Overview
In recent years, China has emerged as a global leader in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). With the rapid advancements in generative AI technology, the Chinese government has taken a proactive approach to regulate and manage this burgeoning industry. In this article, we provide a comprehensive first-look at China's new regulations on generative AI services, exploring their implications for the industry and the country's ambition to compete on the global stage.
Introduction: China's Pioneering Move in AI Regulation
China has become one of the first countries worldwide to introduce comprehensive regulations specifically targeting generative AI services. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country's top internet watchdog, recently unveiled a set of updated guidelines aimed at managing and overseeing this rapidly evolving technology.
The United States: Wut Doing?
The country that leads AI regulation will be the ones that creates the regulations and as a interconnected global network regulations will have far reaching consequences. If made poorly or in a Whack-a-mole fashion it could spell future calamity. So far, generative AI is and has been rocketing forward since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022. The AI industry has boomed since them and has grown in the US with no regulatory leadership.
The Biden Administration supports both AI critics and supporters so it's unlikely any meaningful regulation will come from the White House. The vice-president, Kamala Harris, who was discharged with the duty of U.S AI Czar, harmed the initiative instantly by trying to explain what AI is to her.
Harris, who has the lowest approval rating of any modern vice president, will lead the initiative as AI czar, with a $140 million budget, the White House said.
The White House believes solving the problem of runaway AI is to launch seven new AI research institutes. This will bring the total number of such institutes to 25 across the United States. From there, the entities will ask companies like Google, Microsoft, and ChatGPT’s creator OpenAI, to “participate in a public evaluation of AI systems.” The treason for building of this many institutions is not clear, but common sense says it's not about transparency or regulation.
The White House's response strongly suggests not little will be done publicly and there will be more agencies doing jobs they weren't created to do.
The creation of an office of the AI Czar is so reminiscent of other governmental failures dressed up as crusades. It can't succeed and isn't meant to.
At a meeting of civil rights leaders and consumer protection advocates the VP made it abundantly made clear nothing will be done:
"But ultimately, what it is, is it's about machine learning — and so the machine is taught," Harris continued with her stating-the-obvious monologue. "And part of the issue here is what information is going into the machine that will then determine, and we can predict then- if we think about what machine- what information is going in, what then will be produced in terms of decisions and opinions that may be made through that process," continued Harris.
A conflict of interest?
These meetings run by tech corporations just have no value when other countries are making strides, the US is giving the foxes the run of the hen house. The people making it, should never regulate it.
The White House believes in local meetings and acting with a hands-off or Laissez-faire policy and is making the fatal and permanent error of trusting companies to behave ethically. The tragedy of the Commons and countless other situations say people will abuse every means they have to get ahead.
“Importantly, this means that companies have a fundamental responsibility to make sure their products are safe before they are deployed or made public,” the Biden administration added.
The creation of that office does not mean anyone will actually behave in a fundamentally responsible way. That's why regulation is needed. This is too little, too late.
The EU AI Act is a risk-based model and is similar to the one in place already for telecommunications regulation which is hardly enough for a new technology. It was heavily influenced by lobbying of big tech to keep restrictions off of Deepmind and OpenAI. It also does nothing in terms of explaining how the technology be developed. The EU is marginally ahead of the US but also behind China now.
The draft regulation incorporates principles advocated by AI critics in the West.
Here are some of the key tenants of the proposal. See if these examples from the plan sound reasonable to you:
- Fake news is prohibited
- Providers must verify the real identity information of their users;
- Providers must monitor for illegal or negative information;
- Providers must have convenient portals for user appeals, public complaints, and
reports and published processes, including time limits, for resolution;
- App stores and other distribution platforms must review deep synthesis services for
safety and address legal violations with warnings, suspensions, or blocking or
removal from their platforms;
- Services that enable "editing of biometric information such as faces or voices" must
prompt users of those features to notify and obtain consent from their subjects
- Security assessments are required for services that generate or edit biometric
information or "special items, scenarios, or other non-biometric information that
might involve national security, the nation's image, national interests, and the
societal public interest"
- Generated content must have a technical, but nonobtrusive, indication that it is
generated, and users must be able to add prominent labels
This started an important draft written in April. It did not mention any industry in particular but it was clear it was concerned about the unfettered appearance of chatbots like ChapGPT.
Since 2022 Chinese AI users have had transparency rights — (Americans don't have such rights) such as the right to turn off an algorithmic recommendation service, or the right to know when they are being supplied with AI-generated content. This is not something American corporations have considered for consumers. Since China is a country that doesn't hide the fact that that the government censors and spies on its citizens they understand privacy from corporation buying private information is a danger.
They have a more realistic viewpoint than many Westerners have of their own governments mass surveillance programs, and Western governments try to hide or deny that's the business they are in.
However, the draft regulation also includes certain statements that may raise concerns in other countries.
For instance, the Chinese government is requesting users of generative AI tools to register using their real identities, similar to the requirement on social platforms in China. Additionally, the content generated by AI software is expected to align with the "core values of socialism." that particular ideological requirement may likely be viewed differently by other nations who believe they are democratic. Beijing thinks clear AI rules will help the public to trust AI.
Two Other Major New AI Companies Making Strides This Week
While American leaders talk about priorities in ensuring the US be competitive in AI, China might eventually overtake the U.S. in developing artificial intelligence.
JD.com, China's second-largest online shopping platform, has launched its large language model called ChatRhino, which boasts 100 billion parameters. ChatRhino has been customized to support various verticals, including logistics, retail, healthcare, and finance, and comprises 70% general data and 30% "native intelligent" supply chain data. The model offers over 100 training and inference optimization tools that enable clients to quickly build specialized models for their domains.
JD Health's own large language model, Jingyi Qianxun, is built on ChatRhino and has been trained on medical scenarios for services like telemedicine. E-commerce merchants can utilize ChatRhino to create visuals, marketing posters, and product images, significantly reducing production costs and time.
The interim regulations ensures the healthy development of the technology while safeguarding national security and public interests as the technology is set to grow as ChatGPT usage around the world retracts substantially.
After lagging behind the West through consecutive industrial revolutions, leaders in Beijing are driven by a determination not to be humiliated again in the AI era. Chinese authorities now have six years of experience building up AI regulatory knowhow since they launched a Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan in 2017. They're using regulation as a form of industrial policy, in addition to traditional subsidies.
Like the Olympics in WWII Berlin, World Cooperation is Needed Even with Geopolitical Disagreements
The regulations require generative AI developers to comply with the law in their pre-training and model optimization processes, use legitimate data sources, and improve the quality of training data. Generative AI service providers assume legal responsibility for the information generated and its security, and they must sign service-level agreements with users, take measures against illegal content, and report any illegal activities.
Violations of the new laws may result in penalties or a suspension of services, and existing legislation related to network security, data security, and personal information protection will be enforced. Chinese companies, including Tencent and Alibaba, are also actively pursuing generative AI technologies, with Alibaba Cloud launching its large language AI platform called Tongyi Qianwen.
These services have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their ability to generate human-like text and engage in natural conversations. Recognizing the potential of generative AI in transforming various industries, China aims to strike a delicate balance between development and security in its regulatory framework.
The other startups with potential are Inflection AI by Microsoft and xAI started by Elon Musk
Key Provisions of China's Regulations on Generative AI
The new regulations set forth by China cover various aspects of generative AI services. Here are some of the key provisions:
- Limited Scope: The regulations primarily apply to generative AI services that are available to the general public in China. Technology developed in research institutions or intended for overseas users is exempted from these regulations.
- Security Reviews and Registration: Generative AI service providers are required to conduct security reviews and register their algorithms with the government. This requirement applies to services that can potentially influence public opinion or mobilize the public.
- Emphasis on Development: The guidelines emphasize the innovative use of generative AI in all industries and fields. China encourages the development of secure and trustworthy chips, software, tools, computing power, and data sources.
- International Cooperation: China urges platforms to actively participate in the formulation of international rules and standards related to generative AI. This demonstrates China's commitment to engaging in global collaborations and shaping the future of AI technologies.
Implications for the AI Industry
China's new regulations have far-reaching implications for the AI industry, both domestically and globally. Here are some noteworthy points:
- Balancing Innovation and Regulation: The regulations reflect China's approach to maintaining control and striking a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring security. While promoting the development of generative AI, the government aims to prevent potential misuse and maintain social stability.
- Competitiveness with Western Rivals: China's ambitious goal is to become a leading provider of generative AI services, challenging the dominance of Western counterparts, particularly the United States. The regulations signal China's determination to compete on the global stage.
- Innovation and Regulatory Challenges: Some experts have expressed concerns that stringent regulations may stifle innovation and hinder Chinese firms' ability to catch up with their Western counterparts. Striking the right balance between regulation and innovation remains a crucial challenge for China's AI industry.
China's Unique Regulatory Approach Will Lead Surging AI Investment Internationally
China's regulatory strategy for AI aligns with its broader approach to controlling prominent technologies. The country operates strict censorship to regulate areas such as the internet and social media, allowing it to control the flow of information. As China extends this approach to AI regulation, it aims to maintain social order while fostering technological advancements.
Conclusion: Generative AI industries are warming up and China Is in the Game Now
China's move to regulate generative AI services demonstrates its commitment to shaping the future of AI technology. By introducing comprehensive guidelines, China aims to harness the potential of generative AI while ensuring security and social stability. These regulations will likely shape the trajectory of China's AI industry, impacting domestic innovation and its competitiveness on the global stage.
In summary, China's new regulations on generative AI services represent a significant milestone in the country's AI landscape. As the global race to harness the potential of AI continues, China is taking proactive steps to balance innovation and regulation. By providing a comprehensive regulatory framework, China aims to drive the development of generative AI while safeguarding societal interests.