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Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights in Southeast Asia

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly affecting all Asia-Pacific countries, with major implications for human and digital rights. Since 2019, EngageMedia has been exploring and researching AI from a public interest perspective, covering topics ranging from ethical guidelines for AI, the importance of data justice within AI, and the need for AI governance in Southeast Asia. This project documents the impact of AI in the region – from its benefits and uses, to its complications and dangers.

Report: AI Governance in Southeast Asia

In partnership with researcher Dr Jun-E Tan, EngageMedia has produced research that aims to provide an understanding of AI and its governance from the perspective of civil society in Southeast Asia.

The report maps out existing weaknesses and challenges within the region that impact Southeast Asian countries’ ability to reap the benefits of AI on their own terms and manage technology governance in their own contexts. Drawing from interviews with AI experts and academics in the fields of governance, human rights, and technology, the report provides recommendations on how best to approach policymaking and advocacy, and the potential roles that civil society can play for strategic participation in AI governance.


Advancing Data Justice Research and Practice

The Advancing Data Justice Research and Practice project aims to fill the gap in data justice research and expand existing narratives to include testimonies from unheard and/or underrepresented voices. Through this, we aim to provide resources that help policymakers, practitioners, and impacted communities gain a broader understanding of data governance.

Recent Posts

Pretty Good Podcast Episode 17: AI Governance in Southeast Asia

In this episode, Dr Jun-E Tan expounds on her research with EngageMedia on AI governance in Southeast Asia, discussing the need to contextualise this technology based on the region’s needs and how countries can govern AI in ways that protect people.

Excerpt: Geopolitics of AI in Southeast Asia

EngageMedia’s research on the governance of AI in Southeast Asia is featured in an article published in foreign affairs news magazine The Diplomat. Researcher Dr Jun-E Tan writes about the US-China tech rivalry and how this impacts Southeast Asia.

What does the US-China AI rivalry mean for Southeast Asia?

In Part Two of this series on the geopolitics of AI, researcher Jun-E Tan explains why Southeast Asia will need to consider the strategic implications of the rise of China and the continued dominance of the US in the AI space.

Geopolitics of AI: The Rise of China, the US as Alternative?

What does the US-China AI rivalry mean for Southeast Asia and the world at large? The first of this two-part series on the geopolitics of AI looks at China’s and the US’ strategies for asserting dominance in the AI and tech space.

AI as a weapon against civil and political rights

In this article, we are going to take a closer look on what can happen when AI is weaponised and used against civil and political rights (CPR) such as the right to life and self-determination, as well as individual freedoms of expression, religion, association, assembly, and so on.

Video: Challenges and Opportunities for AI Governance in Southeast Asia

The growing use of AI in the region raises questions on AI governance: how do we set rules for the use of AI to protect people against possible harms? In this video, learn more about the challenges and opportunities that Southeast Asia faces in laying down governance mechanisms for the use of AI.

Problems in putting principles into practice: A critical view of AI ethics

In Part 2 of our series exploring existing artificial intelligence ethics and their shortfalls, we find that ethical principles and guidelines currently in use have limited substance in their content and also a high possibility of being used mainly as window dressing while diverting us away from more structural solutions such as legal regulations.

Artificial Intelligence Southeast Asia

A critical view of AI ethics: Looking at the substance of ethical guidelines

In the digital era, AI ethics are not enough to stop tech companies from generating huge amounts of profits amidst negative impacts on the environment and society. In this blog post, we have discussed the substance of ethical guidelines that have mushroomed in the recent years and found that the contents of these guidelines are mostly focused on narrow fixes and carry with them problematic blindspots which do not help with systemic solutions.