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While AI use in Chinese public services is unique in scope, the majority of ethical issues such use highlights, and the approaches taken by the government to address them where relevant, are not. The exception is the concept of ‘harmony’.

As AI ethics discussions in China develop, we can expect more explorations of how Chinese philosophical and cultural practices apply to AI ethics principles. This, alongside the implementation of other principles, will mark further progress from principles to action, where we can better observe the similarities and differences that emerge between countries.

As this essay demonstrates, there are more similarities than differences at this point, which is not surprising given the unified nature of AI and commonalities among available public services worldwide. It does, however, create a great opportunity for fostering global co-operation on these shared concerns, especially considering China’s robust AI ethics discussions and the country’s key role as a developer and exporter of AI applications. Both the above-mentioned Chinese AI ethics and governance bodies and the international community should do more to bring a diverse group of relevant stakeholders into key conversations on AI ethics. We’re all in the same boat, using very similar oars.


Danit Gal

Technology advisor to the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation and associate fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University …