In 2015, Alphago, a go-playing computer program developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, became the first of its kind to defeat a professional human player on a full-sized board without handicap, triggering an ongoing discussion about AI development and its possible ethical ramifications. Tao Fuwu, Chief Legal Officer of Coudwalk Group, one of the “four AI dragons in China”, shares his views on current legal and compliance requirements on AI ethics
n its development plan on the New Generation of Artificial Intelligence, issued in 2017, the State Council highlighted the uncertainties revolving around the development of artificial intelligence (AI), and new challenges it may bring.
A disruptive technology, AI has a wide range of influence, potentially capable of altering the labour structure, impacting laws and social ethics, violating personal privacy and challenging the norms of international relations. It may even leave far-reaching impressions on government administration, economic security, social stability and global governance. While vigorously advancing AI technologies, we must also remain vigilant to the possible security challenges, strengthen preventive and restraint guidance, minimise risks, and ensure that AI development is safe, reliable – and controllable.
STATUS QUO OF AI ETHICS
The Opinions on Strengthening the Ethics and Governance in Science and Technology, issued by the general office of the State Council on 20 March 2022, is the first national guiding document for the ethical governance of science and technology. The opinions contain general requirements, ethical principles, governance systems, institutional safeguards, review and regulation, as well as education and publicity of technological ethics.
Although the document was only recently promulgated, provisions on technological ethics in China have already appeared in a number of laws. For example, the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress set out that improvements are necessary for scientific and technological ethic systems and standards, and that scientific activities should not violate technological ethics. The Data Security Law provides that data processing activities and development of new data technologies should be conducive to promoting economic and social development and enhancing people’s well-being, while in compliance with social norms and ethics.
After fully considering the increasing ethical concerns about privacy, prejudice, discrimination and fairness, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued the Code of Ethics for a New Generation of Artificial Intelligence on 25 September 2021, which became the top-level design guidance for the ethical governance of AI.