Artificial Intelligence: China Unveils Guidelines For Ethical AI

China’s “Code of Ethics” wants humans to retain control of AI.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has released a document titled “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Ethics Specifications” that specifies six ethical guidelines for the implementation and use of AI, rests all decision-making with humans, and addresses issues such as fairness, security, discrimination, privacy and data leaks. (VERDICT)

The guidelines provide a framework for China’s development and use of AI technology in its quest to achieve superiority over the US in the field and ultimately to achieve global AI supremacy by 2030. However, they also advance Beijing’s agenda to rein in the influence of tech heavyweights.

The overarching aim of the guidelines

The guidelines aim to “enhance AI ethics and behavioral consciousness for the whole society, provide active guidance in responsible AI research and development and implement application activities that promote the healthy development of AI.”

To that end, the document lays down six basic principles for AI systems that determine their ethical nature and ensure that they are “controllable and trustworthy.”

Other precepts specified include improving human well-being, promoting fairness and justice, protecting privacy and safety, and raising ethical literacy.

But humans (and Beijing?) should hold the reins

However, humans ultimately have the complete power of choice over AI, the document says. “Humans have full autonomous decision-making power and the right to choose whether to accept the services provided by AI and the right to withdraw from the interaction with an AI system at any time.”

This concern with protection and empowerment also indirectly hands Beijing control over the Chinese tech sector, known for being a heavy user of AI, particularly the so-called “content recommendation algorithms.”

Last month, Beijing issued a three-year plan that asked local authorities to promote and uphold communist ideology and to therefore exercise control over these algorithms.

With over a billion internet users in the country, China wants to be in the driver’s seat as far as shaping and modulating mass opinion is concerned.

“The inappropriate application of algorithms has disrupted the dissemination of information, as well as market and social order, posing a challenge to the protection of ideology, social justice, and the rights of internet users,” said last month’s document.

The new ethics guidelines also warn providers of AI products and services not to engage in illegal activities nor endanger national, public, or manufacturing security.

They should also not act against the public interest.

Related Story: Wu Dao 2.0, China’s Fire-Breathing New AI System, Is 10X Bigger Than GPT-3

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