China’s internet watchdog raises concerns over advanced technologies and calls for ethical regulations

China’s internet watchdog warns of the challenges posed by advanced technologies like generative AI. The Cyberspace Administration of China highlights ethical concerns such as privacy leakage and tech abuse. The report reflects Beijing’s worries while acknowledging the opportunities these innovations bring.

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The governance and regulatory challenges associated with advanced technologies, including generative artificial intelligence (AI), have raised concerns for China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC). In their 2022 Digital China Development Report, the CAC emphasises ethical concerns such as privacy breaches and the potential for misusing emerging technologies such as generative AI, Web3, and quantum computing.

The report also highlights concerns regarding the ideological impact resulting from unregulated adoption of these innovations. It specifically mentions the risk of ‘value penetration,’ a term used by authorities to describe ideological change or influence caused by Western states. Last month, the CAC already introduced a set of draft regulations that mandate companies offering generative AI services in China to implement measures to prevent the dissemination of discriminatory content, disinformation, and any content that could lead to privacy breaches or infringement of intellectual property. According to the report, these enterprises should adhere to Chinese socialist values and refrain from producing content that implies destabilisation of the regime or disrupts economic or social order.

Although the CAC report highlights Beijing’s emphasis on risk mitigation within its innovation ecosystem, it also acknowledges the potential advantages of these new technologies and that the country should take advantage of them.