Southeast Asia plans to take a more relaxed approach to AI regulation, contrasting Europe’s strong push for a global standard, according to a recent report.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has crafted an “AI ethics and governance guide” to outline this stance. Their plan focuses on business-friendly rules to boost the area’s AI growth as its usage increases.
While many areas seek a unified approach to tech regulations, ASEAN’s strategy is different. Europe, especially through the EU’s AI Act, has been championing a universal method. Notably, European regulators have recently visited Southeast Asia promoting their view, which makes ASEAN’s decision even more significant.
ASEAN believes that each country should decide on AI regulations. The regional group, made up of 10 countries, will only give general guidelines. They emphasize that AI developers need to take into account the diverse cultures within the region. For example, Thailand’s censorship regulations, rooted in its constitutional monarchy, are different from the democratic Philippines.
The proposed guidelines also encourage governments to back AI advancements by funding research projects and setting up a regional AI task force.
This proposed AI strategy has been shared with national governments and top AI firms, including Google, IBM, and Meta.
Stephen Braim, the vice president of IBM Asia’s government affairs, said, “We’re happy to see the guide aligns well with other major AI strategies, like the US’s NIST AI Risk Management Framework.”
Tech leaders have commended this strategy, believing it will encourage innovation in a region famous for quickly embracing new technologies.