China arrests man who used ChatGPT to write fake news articles

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Chinese authorities have detained a man for using ChatGPT to write fake news articles, in what appears to be one of the first instances of an arrest related to misuse of artificial intelligence in the nation.

The man, surnamed Hong, “exploited modern technological methods to fabricate fake information, and proceeded to spread it on social media, the public security bureau of northern Gansu province said in a press release posted on WeChat.

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The alleged offense came to light after police discovered a fake article about a train crash that left nine people dead, which had been posted to multiple accounts on Baidu Inc.’s blog-like platform Baijiahao. The article was viewed over 15,000 times before being removed.

Further investigations revealed that Hong was using the chatbot technology — which is not available in China but can be accessed via VPN networks — to modify viral news articles which he would then repost. He told investigators that friends on WeChat had showed him how to generate cash for clicks.

Authorities said the large-scale dissemination and viewing of the material meant that Hong was liable for the “major crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble — an offense punishable by at least five years in prison.

OpenAI Inc.’s artificial intelligence technology has prompted a scramble in China, both by major technological firms that want to develop similar chatbots, and by authorities seeking to introduce rules governing the technology’s use within the strictly controlled internet realm.

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