Governing Artificial Intelligence in China and the European Union: Comparing Aims and Promoting Ethical Outcomes

In this article, we compare the artificial intelligence (AI) strategies of China and the European Union (EU), assessing the key similarities and differences regarding what the high-level aims of each government’s strategy are, how the development and use of AI is promoted in the public and private sectors, and whom these policies are meant to benefit. We characterise China’s strategy by its current primary focus on fostering innovation and the EU’s on promoting ethical outcomes. Building on this comparative analysis, we consider where China’s AI strategy could learn from, and improve upon, the EU’s ethics-first approach to AI governance. We outline three recommendations which are to i) agree within government as to where responsibility for the ethical governance of AI should lie, ii) explicate high-level principles in an ethical manner, and iii) define and regulate high-risk applications of AI. Adopting these recommendations would enable the Chinese government better to fulfil its stated aim of governing AI ethically.
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