Chinese language police arrest a person allegedly utilizing ChatGPT to unfold pretend information

This image shows the ChatGPT logo at an office in Washington, DC on March 15, 2023.

Stefanie Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese police arrested a man they allege used ChatGPT to create a fake news article about a train crash in what appears to be the first instance of enforcement action taken in China under an unprecedented artificial intelligence-related law .

The case underscores the Chinese authorities’ drive to regulate and control the use of AI as the technology continues to advance.

Police in northwest China’s Gansu province arrested a man surnamed Hong who they say allegedly fabricated a news story about a train crash that killed nine people.

Authorities found that more than 20 accounts had posted the article on a blogging platform owned by Chinese search giant Baidu, and had garnered more than 15,000 views.

Hong allegedly used ChatGPT to create slightly different versions of the fake news article to pass duplication checks on Baidu’s proprietary platform.

ChatGPT, developed by US company OpenAI, is an example of a chatbot based on generative AI technology that allows software to generate responses based on user input and questions. For example, users can ask ChatGPT to create a story based on specific instructions.

Gansu police authorities arrested Hong under the first-of-its-kind law regulating “deep synthesis technologies,” which China introduced this year. Deep synthesis technologies refer to AI used to generate text, images, videos or other media. The law states that deep synthesis services may not be used to disseminate fake news.

China drafted the law as ChatGPT took off and went viral as authorities tried to stay ahead of the technology. China’s internet is heavily censored and controlled. Beijing has attempted to introduce legislation regulating new technologies that could cause concern for the central government.

ChatGPT is blocked in China but can be accessed through a virtual private network – software that can help bypass the country’s internet restrictions.

Chinese tech giants are currently testing their own competitors for ChatGPT. However, these are not widely used chatbots like ChatGPT. Instead, Chinese firms are more cautious in their approach, sometimes targeting specific applications, analysts told CNBC, so as not to spook regulators and the government.

For example, Alibaba’s Tongyi’s AI product Qianwen is finally launched on its workplace communication software DingTalk and Tmall Genie, a provider of intelligent home appliances.

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