New Report | China’s Emerging Approach to Regulating General-Purpose Artificial Intelligence: Balancing Innovation and Control
February 7, 2024 — Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis (ASPI CCA) has released a report entitled “China’s Emerging Approach to Regulating General-Purpose Artificial Intelligence: Balancing Innovation and Control,” authored by Qiheng Chen, CCA Affiliated Researcher on Technology and Economy. The paper is the first of a two-part series on China’s emerging approach to AI governance. This iteration focuses on China’s domestic regulation of generative AI.
“Generative AI poses immediate political, regulatory, and security-related challenges for the Chinese government. The technology’s ability to generate and disseminate information threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s control over information and raises concerns about privacy, safety, and fairness,” writes Chen. Still, AI is a central part of U.S.-China technological competition, and Beijing recognizes the risk of missing out on its development.
China’s approach to regulating AI has thus struck a balance between “the aims of fostering innovation and ensuring control.” According to the report, Beijing has integrated substantial support for innovation into its regulatory framework — a trend evidenced by Beijing’s recent court decision to grant copyright to AI-generated outputs.
The State Council of China’s Artificial Intelligence Law may not materialize until later in 2024, but Chen notes that several ad hoc regulations govern the use and development of AI in the meantime. These “interim measures specify that generative AI products and services must not contain information contrary to ‘core socialist values,’” says Chen. “Public-facing generative AI products and services must undergo a security review and register the underlying algorithms with the CAC [Cyber Space Administration of China].” The report explores several other regulations that have functioned in the absence of a general law on AI and provides insights on the emerging contours of China’s approach to AI.
“As the AI industry evolves and business dynamics become more defined, Chinese policymakers are likely to refine the regulatory details in areas currently marked by ambiguity,” writes Chen. Looking ahead, the report concludes that the “evolving regulatory landscape in China will shape and will be shaped by global discourse and developments in AI governance." The next paper in this series will further explore these international developments and their implications for China’s AI ambitions.
Read the full report here.