Chinese state media warns AI could worsen job discrimination and break labour laws


Chinese state media have cautioned against the use of AI in job interviews, warning of its potential to exacerbate gender and age discrimination while raising concerns about violations of labour laws amidst China’s push to harness AI for economic revival.

In an article published by the official Economic Daily, employers were urged to tread carefully when employing AI technology in the recruitment process. The piece underscored the risk of “algorithmic bias and discrimination” inherent in AI algorithms, emphasizing their limited capacity to fully comprehend the intricacies and diversity of human behavior.

While AI tools may streamline initial candidate screenings, they fall short in accurately assessing candidates due to their inability to adequately account for factors like gender, age, and place of origin, potentially perpetuating workplace discrimination.

The article called for government intervention to mitigate risks and ensure compliance with labour laws, advocating for the establishment of robust regulatory frameworks to safeguard against the misuse of AI technology.

China views AI as a pivotal tool for economic rejuvenation amid ongoing challenges such as a declining workforce. However, alongside its economic ambitions, the country has also prioritized stringent oversight of AI applications, citing cybersecurity concerns.

The integration of AI technology into various sectors under Premier Li Qiang’s AI+ initiative underscores its strategic importance in driving economic growth and technological advancement. Since the introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022, Chinese companies have been developing their own AI models, intensifying competition in the generative AI market.

While Chinese labour laws prohibit gender-based discrimination, instances of gender bias persist in hiring practices. Moreover, concerns have been raised about age discrimination, commonly referred to as the “age 35 phenomenon,” which poses significant economic challenges as China’s population ages.

Chinese lawmakers and policymakers have called for effective regulation to address potential issues arising from AI usage, particularly in recruitment processes. The article emphasized the need for government oversight to ensure compliance with existing laws and regulations, as well as the protection of personal data privacy in AI-driven interviews.