Today marks an important day in the world of digital regulation, as China begins to enforce its strict new rules around deepfake videos. For those unfamiliar, deepfakes are videos that use AI to replace the face or voices of real people with a synthetic version, allowing people to create convincing images and recordings of anyone they choose.
The technology has been used for nefarious purposes in the past, with discredited FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried being victimized in an attempted fraud case, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy being used in a disinformation campaign, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suffering humiliation after an altered video of her circulated on social media.
Now, China’s deepfake laws are being put into effect, which not only criminalize the use of deepfakes for malicious intentions, but also puts the responsibility on producers of deepfakes to ensure that their videos are not used for deception or fraud.
The new regulations come as part of the “National AI Development Guiding Opinion 2020” policy, which was announced in December 2020, and they aim to create a safer digital environment that is protected from malicious deepfakes. This shift will undoubtedly have a global impact, as China is set to become the first country to regulate deepfakes and set a benchmark for other countries to follow.
China’s deepfake laws are an example of how technology like deepfakes must be used responsibly and with caution, and are a sign that the Chinese government is serious about protecting not only its citizens, but the world from potential deepfake-related risks. Though there is still much work to be done in terms of how we address deepfakes, China’s new deepfake laws are a significant step in the right direction.