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China Cracks Down on Access to ChatGPT

Feb. 24, 2023.
1 min. read 3 Interactions

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Lewis Farrell

38.38855 MPXR

Highly curious about things that increase my awareness, expand my perception, and make me open to being a better person.

According to reports, Chinese authorities have restricted access to the popular discussion bot ChatGPT. The bot was created by OpenAI, a company based in the United States, and while it is not officially available in China due to the government’s strict internet censorship, many people have been using VPNs to access it. Third-party developers also created programs that provided limited access to the service. However, these apps have vanished from WeChat accounts, and major tech companies such as Tencent and Ant Group have been ordered to disable access to them. The crackdown is unsurprising given that the Chinese government has been found guilty of massive human rights violations in Xinjiang, which it denies. The dangers of ChatGPT as a potential tool for the US to “spread false information” had been warned by state media. Searches for ChatGPT on Chinese platforms now yield no results, and workaround programs have been disabled or replaced with a notice stating that they have been suspended for “violating relevant laws and regulations.”

The crackdown comes amid widespread interest in ChatGPT, fueling a tech race in China to develop domestic chatbots. The bot’s popularity in China may raise questions about sensitive topics such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, Taiwan, and the Diaoyu islands, which the Chinese government may regard as politically sensitive. While the model was trained on open data from Western countries, the crackdown on ChatGPT could escalate the AI race between China and the US.

Source: The Guardian (link)
Images: MidJourney, Prompts by Lewis Farrell

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