ASEAN Discusses AI Standards to Unlock Opportunities in the Region

ASEAN member states held in early June the 11th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Dialogue as a platform to discuss the desirable governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from both public and private sector perspectives. 

The dialogue also discussed the ASEAN Guide on AI Ethics and Governance which was recently endorsed by the ASEAN Digital Ministers’ (ADGMIN) Meeting in February 2024 in Singapore.  

The goal of the Dialogue is to lay a foundation for a whole community approach to developing coherent AI regulations and standards across the region, ensuring consistency and facilitating cross-border cooperation, the ASEAN bloc said in a statement. 

AI has the potential to add 10-18 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) across ASEAN, which equates to a value of almost $1 trillion by 2030, said Nararya Soeprapto, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs. 

The surge in AI technology has some risks, which ASEAN is working to mitigate, Soeprapto added. The ASEAN members are looking to ensure inclusivity, data protection, and cyber resilience while achieving AI’s full potential for the ASEAN Digital Economy, the official noted. 

The ASEAN bloc is committed to continue developing a business-friendly AI governance framework to foster innovation and enable companies to confidently invest in AI, while ensuring responsible development to unlock the AI opportunity in ASEAN, Soeprapto said.

Collaboration and continued dialogue with public and private stakeholders on AI governance will be critical as AI rapidly evolves and permeates the region’s socio-economic sectors, the official added. 

The Dialogue also discussed best practices in AI governance and the importance of public-private partnerships for promoting responsible AI. 

Representatives from the business community said that responsible AI is key to unlocking the opportunities presented by AI in ASEAN and that the businesses are ready to collaborate with the government to deploy an ethical AI ecosystem, ASEAN said.