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The suspect, identified only as “Hong”, was detained by local authorities and arrested in the Gansu region of China after allegedly using ChatGPT to create fake news.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong was detained after an unsubstantiated article about the train derailment was discovered by law enforcement on April 18.
Hong’s arrest for “using artificial intelligence technology to create false and misleading information” came after cybersecurity experts discovered that at least 20 accounts simultaneously posted a fake news article on a popular blogging site run by Chinese tech conglomerate Baidu.
China’s social media laws are among the most stringent in the world. Police say Hong was arrested for violating the “quarrel and cause trouble” ordinance, a comprehensive law that specifically covers spreading fake news and rumors online.
If charged, Hong faces up to five years in prison under ordinary law. However, if the courts find the crime to be egregious, they can be sentenced to 10 years in prison under the law’s expanded provisions for offenses considered especially serious.
Although the ChatGPT service is currently banned in China, its use can be confused by virtual private networks (VPNs).
On the subject: China is developing AI without American chips: here’s how
Similar homegrown artificial intelligence (AI) services, such as Alibaba’s “Tongyi Qianwen”, a recently announced generative AI model trained to answer questions in both English and Chinese, have been blessed by the Chinese government. However, as reported in mid-April, it remains unclear whether Tonggi Qianwen will have the same creative abilities as ChatGPT.
The lack of robust generative AI models in China could potentially have a chilling effect on the country’s tech scene, especially in sectors such as fintech and cryptocurrency trading, where the use of ChatGPT and products built on OpenAI’s GPT API have gained popularity.