Artificial intelligence has largely freed human beings from dangerous, laborious and repetitive work in the digital age, bringing unprecedented convenience and comfort. The bottom-line of AI ethics has been continuously challenged by new technologies, and discussions abound over whether human beings will be controlled and replaced by the sophisticated gadgets they created. China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has released the country’s first set of guidelines on AI ethics with a focus on enhancing user rights and protecting privacy. AI technologies are neutral, and data is the food for AI, but how AI is fed and operated is dependent on ethics teams who need a cross-disciplinary background in areas such as philosophy, politics, law, history and science. It is high time to ponder the ethical risks of new technologies and scrutinize their application scenarios. Meanwhile, it is urgent to strengthen the responsibilities of enterprises in protecting individual information and privacy and promote international cooperation in formulating universal AI ethics rules.