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Navigating China’s AI Landscape in 2024: Key Developments to Watch

Against the backdrop of the world’s increasing influence by artificial intelligence (AI), China is set to make significant regulatory changes in 2024. Following the explosive growth of AI technologies like ChatGPT, Chinese policymakers are grappling with the dual challenge of harnessing AI’s innovative potential while mitigating its risks. This year marks a crucial juncture as China considers comprehensive AI regulation, potentially echoing the European Union’s AI Act.

Potential for a Comprehensive AI Law

In June last year, China’s top governing body signaled its intent to develop an “Artificial Intelligence Law,” marking its first appearance on the legislative agenda. This move reflects China’s agility in responding to new technologies, evident in its swift legislative action on generative AI following ChatGPT’s surge in popularity. A comprehensive law could significantly extend China’s regulatory control over AI’s influence on current societal norms and practices.

Expert Insights on China’s AI Regulatory Trajectory

Drawing on insights from experts in Chinese AI regulations, let’s delve into four key expectations for China’s AI landscape in 2024:

  1. Drafting the Chinese AI Law: Experts like Graham Webster from Stanford University anticipate a draft of the AI Law in 2024, though finalization seems unlikely within the year. The law’s broad scope, aiming to encompass the entirety of AI, poses significant drafting challenges. Jeremy Daum of the Paul Tsai China Center notes the difficulty in defining AI’s legal scope and suggests a focus on specific AI applications might be more practical.
  2. Setting Boundaries for AI Companies: The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ advisory draft hints at a ‘negative list’ approach, guiding AI companies on areas to avoid without explicit government approval. This list, potentially divergent from the EU’s approach, aims to clarify boundaries for AI companies, helping them navigate regulatory compliance and maintain favor with Beijing.
  3. Evaluating AI Models: Effective enforcement of regulations requires robust evaluation mechanisms. Jeffrey Ding from George Washington University predicts China might develop national platforms for AI model testing and verification, along with support for third-party assessment organizations for regular reviews.
  4. Approach to Copyright Issues: Generative AI’s copyright complexities may see a lenient response from China. Angela Zhang from the University of Hong Kong expects the Chinese government to favor AI sector growth, with administrative agencies and courts adopting a business-friendly stance in IP disputes.
Also Read:  The AI Regulatory Wave: A Growing Challenge for Businesses

The Road Ahead

As China navigates these critical areas, the global community watches keenly. The country’s actions in 2024 will not only shape its domestic AI industry but also influence global AI standards and practices. For those tracking tech developments globally, understanding China’s evolving AI landscape remains essential. And for more comprehensive coverage on AI and tech politics, exploring additional resources like The Algorithm and The Technocrat newsletters offers valuable insights into these dynamic fields.

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