Europe is trying to lead the world when it comes to regulating artificial intelligence. However, and perhaps surprisingly, China may be well ahead of us as it has already adopted a range of AI regulations. Quite similar to the European plans, the Chinese rules are supposed to protect consumers against unfair business practices, make sure algorithms are transparent and that humans remain in control. At the same time, the approaches differ as well. First, the Chinese rules apply to businesses only and do not affect the use of AI by the state itself. Second, they are mostly concerned with common interests and thus seek to promote equality (e.g. non-discriminatory pricing of services), stability (e.g. promoting Chinese values) and transparency. The EU, by contrast, seems much more concerned with individual interests and hence focuses on the privacy and autonomy of citizens.
With China moving this quickly, Europe may miss out on the chance to create a “Brussels effect”. That is, by being the first to establish a set of rules, a nation or region can hope to become the de facto global rule setter and thus impose its values, norms and economic interests. As it stands, a Beijing effect could materialize as well, as (some of) the Chinese rules may set the tone for AI regulation across the globe.