Police in China have arrested a man accused of using ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-driven text generator, to write a story about a fake train crash, which he then published online. The authorities claimed this is the first arrest related to the use of ChatGPT in China, where the technology is illegal.
The arrest took place in the northern province of Gansu, according to a police report posted on WeChat (link in Chinese). The man arrested, named in the release by his surname Hong, had apparently used ChatGPT to create news stories about a train accident that left several people dead, and then posted the fake articles on Baijiahao, a blog-style creation platform created by Chinese internet giant Baidu.
Using ChatGPT is illegal in China, which closely controls its citizens’ internet use. The specific crime Hong has been accused of however, is “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” punishable by up to five years in prison, according to Bloomberg.
China’s AI regulations
ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, a Microsoft-backed company, was launched in November 2022 as a free-to-use service. Companies like Google, as well as Chinese tech giants including Baidu and Alibaba, have rushed to announce their own versions.
While governments in the US and European countries have yet to formulate regulations around the technology, Chinese authorities have already issued rules for companies operating in the generative AI space. Any content generated by AI bots should “reflect the core values of socialism, and must not contain subversion of state power,” according to the guidelines published last month by Cyberspace Administration of China. Any such content should also be accurate, the rules stated. Hong’s case appears to be one of the first uses of legislation that’s likely to be further tested in the coming years.