ASEAN launches guide for governing AI, but experts say there are challenges

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday published a framework for artificial intelligence governance, but experts say member states being at “different stages of digital development” could pose a challenge.

“The guide seeks to establish common principles for trustworthy AI and suggest best practices for how to implement trustworthy AI in ASEAN,” said Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information.

Singapore is hosting the 4th ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting from Feb. 1-2 to discuss emerging digital issues including AI and cyber scams.

Kristina Fong, lead researcher for economic affairs at ASEAN Studies Centre, said “the light-touch, flexible approach” to managing AI risks with the guide is a “reflection of the challenges posed by the development gaps between ASEAN member states.”

She said the nations vary, “not only in terms of digital capabilities, but also in terms of the level of maturity of regulatory authorities, institutional capacities as well as the rule of law.”

“That is why it is important to have a forum to discuss these risks and issues and be able to have a coordinated approach to managing them, and more importantly, provide a way forward for ASEAN member states that are currently lagging behind,” said Fong.

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