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ASEAN Guide on AI Governance and Ethics (2024)


In early February, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) released its much-anticipated governance model for artificial intelligence (AI), the ASEAN Guide to AI Governance and Ethics. The model takes a non-binding approach to AI development, putting forward a set of guidelines for governments and businesses to follow as they develop and use AI systems in the region. 

ASEAN has the world’s fastest-growing internet market and a digital economy projected to grow substantially. As such, the governments of its member states, like other governments worldwide, are trying to implement mechanisms that provide oversight of these powerful technologies while also ensuring that they remain competitive in this rapidly evolving market.


The ASEAN Guide was published on February 2 at the 4th ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting. It highlights seven principles (transparency, fairness, security, reliability, human-centricity, privacy, and accountability) for the design, development, and deployment of AI systems in Southeast Asia. 

  • The Guide targets traditional AI systems, that is, applications such as Google Search or voice assistants like Siri or Alexa that can perform specific planned tasks. It does not cover advanced generative AI systems that can create content, such as ChatGPT. However, the Guide is a living document, meaning that additional guidelines, including guidelines for generative AI, could be added in the future. 

  • The Guide also includes both national-level and regional-level recommendations. At the national level, it recommends that members embrace AI and ensure they are well-positioned to leverage the technology. At the regional level, it recommends the creation of an ASEAN working group on AI to oversee AI governance initiatives in the region and that the Guide be used as a foundation for further elaboration of governance guidelines, specifically for generative AI.

 

This document serves as a practical guide for organisations in the region that wish to design, develop, and deploy traditional AI technologies in commercial and non-military or dual-use applications. This Guide focuses on encouraging alignment within ASEAN and fostering the interoperability of AI frameworks across jurisdictions. It also includes recommendations on national-level and regional-level initiatives that governments in the region can consider implementing to design, develop, and deploy AI systems responsibly.


Guiding Principles for the Framework

Transparency and Explainability.

Fairness and Equity.

Security and Safety.

Robustness and Reliability.

Human-centricity.

Privacy and Data Governance.

Accountability and Integrity.


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