Part 4 – AI Regulation in Asia

Published on 03 June 2024

This is Part 4 of 'Regulation of AI 

A light touch and voluntary approach to AI regulation is also evident across much of Asia. Singapore launched its Model AI Governance Framework in 2019 and this was followed by a second edition in 2020. The framework follows two fundamental principles: that use of AI in decision-making process should be explainable, transparent and fair; and that AI systems should be human-centric.

After the EU announced the draft AI Act, in 2022 Singapore launched AI Verify, an open source AI governance testing framework and software toolkit that validates the performance of AI systems against a set of eleven internationally recognised AI ethics and governance principles through standardised tests, and is consistent with AI governance frameworks such as those from EU, OECD and Singapore. The principle of transparency requires that appropriate information is provided to individuals impacted by AI systems, and this is assessed through process checks of documentary evidence (e.g. company policy and communication collaterals) providing appropriate information to individuals who may be impacted by the AI system. Such information might include the use of AI in the system, its intended use, limitations, and risk assessments. Singapore also, in mid 2023, published Advisory Guidelines on the Use of Personal Data for AI.

In December 2023, Singapore unveiled a 2.0 version of its (2019) national AI strategy with the goals of focussing on developing peaks of excellence in AI, to advance the field and maximise value creation and to raise up individuals, businesses, and communities to use AI with confidence, discernment, and trust.

It is reported that on 7 November 2023, the government of Japan set out 10 principles in draft guidelines for organisations involved with AI. The principles are based on rules agreed to by the G7 (of which Japan is a member) on generative AI and other matters via the Hiroshima AI Process. Japan has taken a highly permissive approach to the use of copyright materials for machine learning and it will be interesting to see if it retains this line in the mid to long term.

Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted a joint statement on 17 December 2023 that included a commitment to greater cooperation between the two jurisdictions on AI governance, including support for the ASEAN Guide on AI Governance and Ethics which was published in February 2024. Japan has also launched a new AI Safety Institute, which will among other things implement standards for the development of generative AI.


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