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AI Governance: A Focus in Southeast Asia




As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly mainstream in different industries worldwide, companies and governments are utilizing the technology to gain a competitive edge and continuously adapt to digital demands. In Southeast Asia, countries are constantly looking for ways to improve their digital efforts and are integrating advanced technologies like AI into their business processes.

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Lew Cheun Hong, Chief Executive of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore, stated that an effective regulator knows the balance of innovation and trust. As AI becomes more prevalent in businesses, governments must ensure that there are rules and regulations in place to ensure fairness and transparency.

The European Union has established a new AI act, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has outlined legislation to tackle AI issues such as fraud, misuse, and discrimination. In Southeast Asia, countries like Singapore, Korea, and India have been working on their AI governance.

Singapore aims to strike a balance between digital transformation and regulation through the Model AI Governance Framework. The framework aims to provide an in-depth guide on how to implement AI efficiently and responsibly across different businesses in various industries. Additionally, Singapore’s IMDA has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Companion to the Model AI Governance Framework, which provides guidance on the best AI practices.

In 2022, Singapore also created AI Verify, a program used to assess AI’s performance to detect any ethical issues by conducting constant system checks and technical analysis. Reports from AI Verify are used to evaluate how AI aligns with a company’s goals and strategy. Partners such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, DBS, and Singapore Airlines have tested AI Verify, and it is set for testing worldwide.


AI governance is essential in Asia’s digital transformation. According to a Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company Report, Southeast Asia is one of the leading regions likely to reach $224 billion by 2025. Simon Chesterman, Senior Director of AI Governance in Singapore, stated that Asia remains resilient despite economies like the US seeing a downtrend. Developing countries appreciate the benefits of change, but when a country is comfortable, it may resist transformation.

In Southeast Asia, 76% view technology as a catalyst for growth rather than a temporary phenomenon brought by Covid-19, and 77% stated that digitalization has made their lives better. With AI becoming more prevalent in the region, it is crucial to have proper governance to ensure that the technology is used ethically, efficiently, and responsibly.

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