Hong Kong has no plans to formally introduce ChatGPT for internal government use, the city’s technology minister has said, citing its potential risks and limited access as he made his stance clear on the controversial software.
But authorities would also keep a close eye on the popular artificial intelligence (AI)-based tool since it presented tremendous opportunities and challenges for the world, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong on Friday said.
“We’ve noticed that some countries have temporarily banned the application of relevant tools due to their concerns about privacy protection,” he told reporters after attending the Digital Economy Summit, a two-day mega event organised to promote the innovation and technology (I&T) sector.
“As for Hong Kong, given the fact that it hasn’t been granted access rights for using ChatGPT by its company OpenAI and the potential risks, the government so far has no plan to introduce its formal application for internal use.”
Sun’s remarks came after China’s internet watchdog on Tuesday unveiled a new set of draft rules covering AI-based tools, joining other governments around the world in attempting to rein in the rapid development of such software.
Under the proposed regulation published by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), companies in the country that provide generative AI services must take steps to prevent discriminatory subject matter, false information and content that harms personal privacy or intellectual property.
Hong Kong’s technology minister earlier signalled city authorities would establish a task force to examine AI-based tools and decide whether they should be regulated by appropriate legislation.
Sun had also said the city planned to develop its own AI-based chatbot service to keep up with the global innovation race. Authorities would consult the public this year on establishing an AI supercomputing hub to attract top talent and technology companies to the city, he said.
ChatGPT was unveiled in November last year by Microsoft-backed company OpenAI. The service, which generates humanlike text, attracted 100 million users only two months after its launch, which made it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.
The platform has taken the internet by storm and shaken up the global education sector as it can produce humanlike responses on topics such as politics, sports, science and more, or even craft poetry in the style of William Shakespeare. This is made possible through machine learning algorithms trained with enormous amounts of information.
But the popularity of the powerful application has also sparked polarised responses across the globe, as governments, businesses and educators, among others, seek to harness or regulate the technology.
A Singapore government agency is said to be working on an enhanced productivity work tool based on ChatGPT that allows civil servants to draft reports and speeches with the help of the chatbot.
In contrast, the University of Hong Kong earlier this year enacted a temporary ban on students using such software, pending a campuswide discussion, saying that it would treat any suspected violations as plagiarism. Baptist University, meanwhile, has prohibited its use for coursework.