Several agencies, including the main internet regulator CAC, will oversee the rules.
On August 15, regulations on content distribution for organizations came into effect in the People's Republic of China. All AI generated information must be labeled, and the data used for AI training must comply with legal requirements.
In July, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the set of rules for generative AI and said that AI service providers will have to conduct security assessments and perform algorithm filing procedures before product launches. Seven agencies will take responsibility for oversight, including the Cyberspace Administration of China and the National Development and Reform Commission.
China’s regulations go beyond anything contemplated in Western democracies. But they also include practical steps that have support in places like the US.
“China got started very quickly. It started building the regulatory tools and the regulatory muscles, so they’re going to be more ready to regulate more complex applications of the technology,”
Matt Sheehan, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (deemed a foreign agent in Russia), told Bloomberg.
The rules will mandate conspicuous labels on synthetically created content, including photos and videos. China will also require any company introducing an AI model to use “legitimate data” to train their models and to disclose that data to regulators as needed. Additionally, Chinese companies must provide a clear mechanism for handling public complaints about services or content.
As China’s draft guidelines on generative AI evolved into the latest version, there were months of consultation between regulators, industry players and academics to balance legislation and innovation in light of the technological confrontation with the United States.
Chinese companies still trail global leaders like OpenAI and Alphabet’s Google. They will likely struggle to challenge such rivals, especially if American companies are regulated by no one but themselves. However, China is the world leader in the number of generative AI startups receiving funding (22 vs. 21 in the US and 4 in the UK) in the first half of 2023.
Beijing, with its authoritarian powers, plays by different rules than Washington. When Chinese agencies reprimand and fine tech companies, the corporations can’t fight back and often publicly thank the government for its oversight. In the US, Big Tech hires armies of lawyers and lobbyists to contest almost any regulatory action. Alongside the robust public debate among stakeholders, this will make it difficult to install effective AI regulations, said a Bloomberg expert.