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China’s New AI rulebook: humans must remain in control

Originally published:
Oct 4, 2021

Since 2017, China has strived to be the global leader in artificial intelligence, and most recently they have created their first set of six guidelines for more ethical and advanced AI. This article in Verdict outlines the country’s most recent step towards more ethical and advanced AI: The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Ethics Specifications. According to Rebecca Arcesati – an analyst from the Mercator Institute for China Studies – this new framework is “a heavy-handed model, where the state is thinking very seriously about the long-term social transformations that AI will bring, from social alienation to existential risks, and trying to actively manage and guide those transformations.”

However well-intended this framework may appear, some worry that these new regulations on user autonomy may be an attempt to exercise more control over China’s tech sector. As we discussed in Issue 6, thought leaders in artificial intelligence worry that China’s fast advancements in AI capabilities will lead to more barriers in developing more advanced technologies. In the past, Beijing has worked to control the spread of individuals’ data to major technological companies in an attempt to exert control over its citizens.

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