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China Develops Code of Ethics to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

China welcomes a global perspective on ensuring ethical standards take hold in the booming Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry. As AI is increasingly seen as a significant source of productivity and opportunities, the discomfort or even pessimism regarding this technology cannot be neglected. The stronger AI’s abilities, the greater the responsibility that people will have.

In light of this, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology published a code of ethics that aims to regulate existing or developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) models. The guidelines of the Chinese guide prioritise the ‘full power of decision’ of humans over machines.

The guidelines state that humans should have full decision-making power, and have the right to choose whether to accept AI services, exit an interaction with an AI system or discontinue its operation at any time. The goal is to “make sure that artificial intelligence is always under the control of humans.

The guidelines, titled “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Ethics Specifications”, were drafted by an AI governance committee, which was established under the MOST. The committee published a set of guiding principles for AI governance that was much shorter and broader than the newly released specifications.

China is ultimately opting for 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.

The document outlines six basic principles for AI systems, including ensuring that they are controllable and trustworthy. The other principles are improving human well-being, promoting fairness and justice, protecting privacy and safety, and raising ethical literacy.

However, the changes are being done in the name of user choice, giving users more control over their interactions with AI systems online, an issue other countries are also grappling with. Data security, personal privacy and the right to opt-out of AI-driven decision-making are all mentioned in the new document.

Preventing risks requires spotting and addressing technical and security vulnerabilities in AI systems, making sure that relevant entities are held accountable, the document says, and that the management and control of AI product quality are improved.

The guidelines also forbid AI products and services from engaging in illegal activities and severely endangering national security, public security or manufacturing security. Neither should they be able to harm the public interest. China’s goal is to be a leader in AI by having major AI breakthroughs. This is why the urgency of ethically regulating all current and future types of AI.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China has dedicated growing resources to basic research and original innovation in recent years. Their efforts aim to cultivate a driving force for economic growth and improving people’s living standards. Chinese researchers, hi-tech enterprises and local governments are together actively striving to strengthen original innovation.

A hi-tech university laboratory has been making plans for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research institution to explore the frontiers of AI research and make breakthroughs in key technologies. The Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences has also been established to be at the global forefront of quantum physics and quantum information science. The superconducting quantum computing team made a major breakthrough by improving the decoherence time of superconducting qubits.

China has attached great importance to institutional innovation and high-level engineer and research team building. By taking a problem-oriented approach, they set up teams to overcome challenges. Science and technology development, cultivation of major talent resources, and innovation are crucial driving forces. The combination of the three can help achieve sci-tech self-reliance and self-improvement at higher levels.

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