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11th ASEAN Economic Community Dialogue discusses governance to unlock AI opportunity in ASEAN

Date:
4 June 2024

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JAKARTA, 4 June 2024: The 11th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Dialogue took place today, serving as a platform for discussing the desirable governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from both public and private sector perspectives, as well as the ASEAN Guide on AI Ethics and Governance which was endorsed by the ASEAN Digital Ministers’ (ADGMIN) Meeting 2024 held in Singapore last February. The Dialogue aims 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.

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs Nararya Soeprapto highlighted that AI has the potential to add a 10%–18% to GDP across ASEAN, which equates to a value of nearly US$1 trillion by 2030. He also highlighted that the upsurge of AI is not without risk, and ASEAN is working to mitigate these risks, including by ensuring inclusivity, data protection, and cyber resilience while achieving AI’s full potential for the ASEAN Digital Economy.

Nararya stressed that ASEAN 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. Therefore, continuous cross-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration with public and private stakeholders on AI governance is critical as AI rapidly evolves and permeates the region’s socio-economic sectors.

The event featured a panel discussion with officials from Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) Singapore, MyDigital Malaysia, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of Indonesia, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and think tanks such as ERIA, Tech for Good Institute and Access Partnership. The Dialogue also featured representatives from global companies that have heavily invested in AI, such as Microsoft and Ernst and Young (EY), ASEAN start-ups, Savvy.com, and the capital venture, Village Capital.

Chief Manager of the ERIA Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC) Daisuke Nakayama highlighted that while AI has enormous potential for ASEAN, there remains a need to address the varying levels of AI readiness. While some ASEAN Member States are advancing rapidly, others lag behind due to limited technological capabilities and lower investment in AI research and development. Welcoming continuing partnerships, E-DISC stands committed to build trust in AI technologies, promote its safe and effective use, and, ultimately, drive inclusive growth throughout ASEAN, he added.

Dr Jasmine Begum, Regional Director of Legal and Government Affairs at Microsoft ASEAN, emphasised the importance of adopting a multifaceted approach to advancing safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. She noted that this involves commitments from industry leaders, supportive domestic policies and regulations, and effective global governance. ‘AI governance is a journey, not a destination. It’s essential that we embrace diverse perspectives, continuously learn, and collaborate. Microsoft is committed to sharing our insights and engaging in constructive dialogue with industry, governments, businesses, and civil society to ensure governance keeps pace with AI's rapid development. Together, we can realise AI’s potential as a force for good,’ she said.

The ASEAN Secretariat hosted the Dialogue with the support of the ERIA and Microsoft as knowledge partners. Over 650 participants consisting of corporate leaders from start-ups, financial institutions, businesses, non-profit organisations and government agencies attended the Dialogue both physically and virtually.

Speakers at the event discussed best practices in AI governance and the importance of public private partnerships for promoting responsible AI. Representatives from the business community shared that responsible AI is key to unlocking the potential socio-economic opportunities presented by AI in ASEAN and that the businesses are ready to collaborate with the government to deploy an ethical AI ecosystem.

The Dialogue also featured booth exhibitions to showcase the transformative power of AI in the modern business landscape and highlight AI’s ability to optimise operations, enhance decision-making, and create innovative solutions across industries. ERIA, Microsoft, Ernst and Young (EY), Jejakin, e-Fishery, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), and Mekari participated in exhibiting their AI solutions as well as initiatives to advance AI in their organisation and the region.

 

About ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 and constitutes ten Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

About ERIA 

The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) is an international organisation established in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2008 by a formal agreement of the East Asia Summit member countries to conduct research activities and make policy recommendations for further economic integration in the East Asia. Through ERIA’s Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC), ERIA is committed to building a strong and responsible digital transformation in the region.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) creates platforms and tools powered by AI to deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers. The technology company is committed to making AI available broadly and doing so responsibly, with a mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

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