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LCQ10: Regulating contents generated by artificial intelligence technology
     ​Following is a question by the Hon Nixie Lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, in the Legislative Council today (May 31):


     Some views have pointed out that generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology is developing by leaps and bounds, giving rise to not only transformative changes in the productivity of society but also hidden security hazards such as algorithmic bias, information leakage and fabricated contents. In particular, as AI-generated images can pass off as genuine, they may facilitate dissemination of false information and conspiracy theories. On the other hand, the Cyberspace Administration of China published the Measures for the Administration of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services (Draft for comments) in April this year with a view to regulating generative AI services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has studied and assessed the impacts of the popularisation of AI on Hong Kong's various aspects, such as the community, teaching and research activities, as well as economic structure; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether it will study and compare the legal provisions on regulation of the application of AI put in place by the Mainland and overseas regions (e.g. the European Union and Japan) and formulate forward-looking proposals to resolve the legal issues involved in the application of AI; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether it will study the enactment of legislation to require that AI-‍generated images must be specified as being generated by AI, with a view to preventing false information from being generated; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     Having consulted the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and the Security Bureau, my consolidated reply to the question raised by the Hon Lam is as follows:

     The development of artificial intelligence (AI) (including generative AI technology) is still evolving. More and more industries are set to apply AI technology to improve existing operations and business models, with a view to driving business growth and increasing overall productivity. The AI technology has also brought changes to scientific research and teaching. At the same time, the development and application of AI technology have given rise to concerns over a number of issues such as information security, privacy protection, fake and biased information, ethics and intellectual property rights, etc.

     We note that the pace of AI development and its popularity vary in different regions, and the impact of AI technology on various industries and sectors are not entirely the same. Different regions and organisations have started to look into various measures in light of the latest development in order to cope with the implications and challenges brought by AI, while striking a balance between promoting technology innovation and ensuring compliance of relevant requirements. 

     In the case of Hong Kong, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) published in 2021 the Guidance on the Ethical Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (the AI Guidance), with an aim to help organisations understand and comply with the relevant personal data privacy protection requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) (PDPO) when developing and using AI. The content of the AI Guidance includes data stewardship values and ethical principles for AI, and provides AI strategy governance practice guides to help organisations devise appropriate AI strategy and management models, conduct risk assessments and devise relevant oversight arrangements, etc.

     Having consulted the PCPD and drawn reference to its AI Guidance, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has formulated the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Framework to provide government bureaux and departments with a set of practice guidance when implementing projects that involve the use of AI technology, and to identify and manage the potential risk of the relevant project and other issues (e.g. privacy, data security and management, etc.).

     It is worth mentioning that the Internet is not an unreal world that is beyond the law. Under the existing legislation in Hong Kong, most of the laws enacted to prevent crimes in the real world are in principle applicable to the online world. There are various provisions in place under the existing legal framework to deal with the dissemination of untrue or inappropriate information. For instance, the Crimes (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 introduced the offences of publication or threatened publication of intimate images without consent. The offence is also applicable to intimate images that have been altered (including that altered by AI technology).

     As the development of AI technology is evolving, the Government will keep an open mind and closely monitor the advancement, application and development of AI in Hong Kong. We will also make reference to the practices of different regions in order to make appropriate responses and embrace the various opportunities and challenges brought by AI technology.
Ends/Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:05
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