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Artificial Intelligence’s Regulations in Shenzhen, China

As a frontier city in the technology industry, Shenzhen’s regulations may be influential in setting the national standards for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in China. Often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen is home to leading technology companies. Shenzhen’s regulations on AI, cover products and services approvals, education and R&D, procurement and functional utility, and the ethics of its use.

Shenzhen recently released plans to regulate and support the development of its AI industry, making it the first local government in China to establish targeted policies for the sector. Shenzhen policymakers have submitted a draft outline of the plan, the regulations on the Promotion of Artificial Intelligence Industry of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to the local People’s Congress for review.

While not yet finalised, the regulations seek to promote the use and development of AI in both the public and private sectors, establish a framework to govern the approval of AI products and services and regulate AI usage ethics.

Frequently referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen – home to tech companies– stands to lead the country’s transition to AI and other high-tech fields. Due to Shenzhen’s leadership in AI, the city’s policies affecting the sector may prove influential in setting standards across the rest of China.

Promoting AI Research and Adoption

The regulations include measures to encourage public institutions and companies to invest in AI research and development, as well as to actively adopt AI for present-day use. In terms of research, the regulations encourage universities and other higher education institutions to establish interdisciplinary AI courses, set up R&D labs, and cooperate with industry to educate the workforce and foster innovation. They also stipulate that salaries and other incentives for AI researchers should be flexible as a means to attract top talent.

Moreover, the regulations instruct government bodies to use AI as much as possible in day-to-day operations, and to prioritise grant administration and procurement to AI leaders. These measures aim to accelerate the actual adoption of AI by government bodies. To further encourage AI development, the regulations seek to shorten the approval system for AI products and services and to establish a risk management system that emphasises trial and usage.

The regulations specifically emphasise the development and adoption of AI in the healthcare sector. They encourage healthcare institutions to create streamlined review systems for AI product testing approvals. Similarly, Shenzhen will allow healthcare institutions to test low-risk AI products and services in a limited manner.

Data usage oversight

According to the regulations, Shenzhen will grant industry stakeholders improved access to data held by the government, to the extent that sharing such data complies with relevant laws. By sharing data with industry, the city hopes to speed up the development of AI products and services suited for local conditions.

To address privacy and data usage concerns, the regulations state that the government will establish an AI ethics committee to offer guidance on how AI should be developed and used, and to safeguard residents’ data privacy rights. AI should be developed in a way that promotes economic and social development, per the Regulations, while also addressing ethical concerns in a standardised and coordinated way.

Besides privacy and ethics considerations, the regulations aim to set up a standardised and comprehensive system to manage AI industry statistics collection and oversight. Shenzhen will establish and improve statistical classification standards for the AI industry, including through the creation of an AI industry classification catalogue.

Besides Shenzhen, Shanghai has also been focusing on developing AI. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Shanghai announced a municipal Artificial Intelligence (AI) plan that will look into rule changes related to digital technology, promote the establishment of technical standards and regulations and form a mechanism for monitoring risks and issuing early warnings.

The plan will use scientific measures to regulate the industry so that it produces safe, reliable and controllable products. The plan will also help government agencies construct management rules and systems and enable users to properly use AI solutions with appropriate levels of self-protection.

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