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LCQ19: Artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT
     Following is a question by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Ms Lillian Cheong, in the Legislative Council today (May 10):
     It has been reported that ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot launched at the end of last year, has taken the world by storm. It has a wide variety of uses and can be used for programming, creative work and translation, etc, with huge potential to influence the future development of society. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as it has been reported that at present, ChatGPT is only open for registration and use in some countries or regions, which does not include Hong Kong, whether the Government will take the initiative to approach the operators concerned to see if they can open up the access rights of ChatGPT for Hong Kong; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) whether it has assessed the impact of ChatGPT on different industries (e.g. information technology, education, media and arts), including whether it will lead to a reduction in the labour force required by some industries, and how the Government will assist the affected people in upgrading and transformation; and
(3) whether it will step up the research and education work on AI, such as including in primary and secondary schools a curriculum for teaching the use of ChatGPT or other AI, so as to teach young people the proper use of AI and, at the same time, enable young people to have exposure to and get to know AI as early as possible, thereby promoting the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong; if so, of the details (e.g. the timetable and teaching approach); if not, the reasons for that?
     Having consulted the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Education Bureau, my reply to the questions raised by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan is as follows:
(1) Innovation and technology (I&T) serve as an important engine for high-quality economic development of Hong Kong. The Government welcomes I&T enterprises to establish or expand their businesses in Hong Kong to provide citizens with more I&T applications. Currently, though ChatGPT has not been officially released for registration in Hong Kong, Hong Kong citizens and enterprises could still access ChatGPT or other chatbots utilising generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology through alternative channels, such as applications developed by third-party entities or OpenAI's business partners. The Government respects the product launching strategies and commercial arrangements of individual organisations.
     Generative AI technology used by ChatGPT and other similar AI chatbots has brought about various opportunities and challenges worldwide. On one hand, generative AI technology could enhance personal productivity and enterprise work efficiency with various contexts for application. At the same time, the related technology also gives rise to issues on information security, privacy protection, ethics and intellectual property rights, etc, which have attracted much attention.
     As the development of generative AI technology is still evolving, we will continue to maintain an open attitude and closely monitor the future development and application of related technology in order to make appropriate responses.
(2) AI, including generative AI technology used by ChatGPT, is bringing about changes to the operational modes and job requirements of various industries. The impact of the related technology differs for various industries and sectors depending on the constituent job tasks, operational modes and business needs as well as the pace of adoption and application of technology in different industries or corporations. Government bureaux/departments (B/Ds) would take into account the situation of specific industries and facilitate the industries to capitalise on the opportunities brought by technology development through various measures, as well as to encourage and assist workers of different industries in receiving training and improving skills to embrace the change brought by AI. They include:
(i) The Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme under the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) subsidises, on a 2 (government):1 (enterprise) matching basis, local enterprises for training their staff in advanced technologies, including trainings that assist the upgrading and transformation of traditional manufacturing industries. For instance, the Hong Kong Productivity Council Academy provides courses on the business use of generative AI that teach trainees on the use of generative AI such as ChatGPT to automate business process.
(ii) The Continuing Education Fund (CEF) provides subsidies to adults with learning aspirations to pursue continuing education and training, with a view to complementing the development trend of globalisation and meeting the need for Hong Kong to transform and upgrade having regard to the I&T development. The scope of the CEF courses currently covers all eligible courses registered under the Qualifications Register, including courses in technology-related areas of study and training such as Computer Science and Information Technology and Engineering and Technology, and programming-related training courses are available. Moreover, course providers will constantly review, design and offer new courses, and apply for registration of the CEF courses to keep pace with social and technological development as well as market needs, so as to provide learners with more learning options to enhance their knowledge and employability.
(3) In respect of strengthening the work on AI research, the Research Grants Council of the University Grants Committee (UGC) is committed to promoting AI research in UGC-funded universities. It introduced AI as a grand challenge topic under the Theme-based Research Scheme of the Research Endowment Fund from the 2019/20 academic year onwards to enhance the promotion of the research of AI in social, medical and economic aspects. So far, four projects have been approved under this topic, involving a total funding of about HK$170 million.
     The Government will also continue to fund research and development projects on AI through different schemes under the Innovation and Technology Fund. The InnoHK research clusters under the ITC have attracted over 30 world renowned universities and research institutes from 11 economies around the globe to set up 28 research laboratories in collaboration with local institutes at the Hong Kong Science Park, with the AIR@InnoHK research cluster focusing on AI and robotics technology. Currently, 14 research laboratories have been admitted under AIR@InnoHK, covering AI-driven big data analytics, AI chips, fintech, robotics as applied to various sectors (such as healthcare, logistics, construction), etc. 
     In respect of education, the Government strives to equip students at different learning stages to face the challenges and opportunities brought about by various technological developments (including AI). To align with I&T development, the Education Bureau (EDB) has been stepping up the implementation of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education in primary and secondary schools to promote I&T learning for all, so that students can be exposed to I&T from an early age, which can help nurture students' interest and capabilities in learning I&T, as well as cultivate their creative thinking.
     On strengthening the I&T elements in the primary and secondary curricula, the EDB is developing the Module on Artificial Intelligence for Junior Secondary Level and the Enriched Module on Coding Education for Upper Primary Level, with a view to enabling students to better understand and grasp the latest development in technology and I&T and their applications, and learn about how technology can improve our everyday life and enhance the development of our society. 
     The module on AI for the junior secondary level mentioned above covers knowledge and concepts such as the foundation and ethics of AI, computer vision, computer speech and the impact of AI on society, etc. The module on coding education for the upper primary level, covering the concepts of coding and computational thinking, aims at cultivating students' computational thinking through the learning of coding. The above curriculum modules are expected to be launched later this year for use by schools. As for the senior secondary level, the updated Information and Communication Technology curriculum has been implemented at Secondary Four starting from the 2022/23 school year with the inclusion of I&T topics (such as AI) and increased lesson time for the teaching of coding. The EDB also provides relevant professional development programmes for teachers to enhance their teaching effectiveness.
     With the rapid development of information and communication technology, a wide range of applications (including ChatGPT which has attracted considerable discussion in the education sector recently) with various functions being launched and updated continuously. Since the use of ChatGPT has aroused extensive discussions and many people have pointed out its potential negative effect on learning if used improperly, we need to approach the related matter cautiously.
     While guiding students to make good use of I&T and information technology (IT) tools to solve problems, including the proper use of AI to enhance computational thinking and creative thinking, it is necessary to foster students to become ethical users of technology. In this connection, the EDB has announced in 2022 the updated learning framework of Information Literacy for Hong Kong Students, which included ethical issues arising from the application of I&T, so as to enhance students' media and information literacy; provide guidance for them to learn how to select and interpret different types of information critically and the proper use of information to solve problems; as well as enable students to know how to differentiate the authenticity of information and use information and IT in an ethical and effective way.
     The impact of I&T (e.g. AI and ChatGPT) on students' learning is subject to further study by the education sector. The EDB will continue to closely monitor the latest development and usage of I&T and update the contents of related curricula in a timely manner. Besides, we will also organise seminars and workshops to provide assistance for teachers in teaching the knowledge and proper use of I&T to their students. 
     Beyond school curriculum, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer also implements the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools and Knowing More About IT programmes to provide funding support for secondary and primary schools respectively to organise extracurricular activities related to IT, including AI-related courses, workshops and competitions, etc. Since 2020, the two programmes have supported about 3 000 activities organised by around 770 schools, with over 40 per cent of the activities involving AI or robotics technology.
     As for the UGC-funded universities, apart from nurturing professionals in the computer science and IT aspects, a number of universities have introduced new programmes or updated their curriculum frameworks in recent years with a view to nurturing more talents with cross-disciplinary knowledge of AI applications. As for the use of generative AI in teaching, individual universities have provided specific guidelines on their stance and requirements on the use of generative AI, and will enhance the elements of critical thinking and active learning to ensure that the assessment results of students' work can truly reflect students' learning outcomes and originality.
Ends/Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:50
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