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OpenAI Blocking China’s Access to AI Tools

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OpenAI is taking new steps to stop people in China from using its artificial intelligence software. This continues their policy of blocking users from countries they don’t officially support.

According to screenshots on social media, OpenAI sent messages to developers in China saying they will block their access starting in July. Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent are telling developers to use their own AI products instead.

An OpenAI spokesperson said on Tuesday, “We are taking additional steps to block API traffic from regions where we do not support access to OpenAI’s services.”

OpenAI allows its services in many countries, but not in China. Users in unsupported countries may have their accounts blocked or suspended.

The reason for this move by OpenAI is not clear. However, in May, OpenAI said it had stopped at least five secret influence operations using its products to sway public opinion.

This action comes as the US government pressures China to limit access to advanced AI technology. Although OpenAI is officially not available in China, many developers use VPNs to access its tools.

Chinese companies like Baidu and Zhipu are working on AI models to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. China supports its firms in developing AI, seeing it as key to economic and military strength.

At the same time, the US government is trying to block China from getting important technologies. The US Treasury Department is proposing rules to restrict investments in technologies crucial to national security, like chips and AI. These rules are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to stop China from developing sensitive technologies that could threaten US security.