From January 10, 2023, China will introduce the first laws on deepfakes, those images or videos generated or synthetically modified using some form of artificial intelligence.
Why is this important?Deepfakes are sometimes very difficult to distinguish from reality. As a result, broadcasts of these deepfakes can contribute to the creation of widespread fake news. China says it wants to fight this spread of false information and will become the first country to regulate this artificial intelligence.
News: Beijing announced its rules on deepfakes in early 2022 and finalized them in December. They will enter into force at the beginning of 2023. Here are some suggestions:
- Users must consent if their image is used in a deepfake.
- Deepfake services cannot use the technology to spread fake news.
- Deepfake services must authenticate users’ real identity.
- Synthetic content must include some form of notification to inform users that the image or video has been altered by technology.
- Content that violates applicable laws will be banned, as will content that endangers national interests and security, harms the national image, or disrupts the economy.
A law to aid censorship
The analysis: Is China afraid of deepfakes or losing control?
- According to analysts, this law has two goals: to strengthen online censorship and to get ahead of the regulation of new technologies. “Chinese authorities are clearly keen to crack down on the ability of anti-regime elements to use ‘deepfakes’ of senior leaders, including Xi Jinping, to convey anti-regime statements,” said policy officer Paul Triolo. technology at the consulting firm Albright Stonebridge in CNBC.
- Triolo added that the AI rules Beijing has introduced in recent years are “designed to keep content regulation and censorship efforts one step ahead of emerging technologies, ensuring Beijing can continue to anticipate the future.” the emergence of technologies that can be used to circumvent the global control system. »
- Kendra Schaefer, a partner at Beijing-based consulting firm Trivium China, said CNBC last February: “What’s interesting is that China is tackling one of the critical threats to our society in the modern age: the erosion of trust in what we see and hear, and the growing difficulty of separating truth from lies” .
- However, deepfake technology is not only intended to create and spread false information. It is also useful in areas such as education or healthcare.
The context: Since the end of 2020, China has tried to rein in the power of the country’s tech giants, introducing extensive regulation in areas ranging from antitrust to data protection. But it has also tried to regulate new technologies and has gone further than any other country in its regulation of technologies.
- Earlier this year, China introduced a rule governing how tech companies can use recommendation algorithms in another groundbreaking law.