The potential of AI to transform the way we live, work, and learn is significant. The choices made by governments, industry leaders, and civil society right now will determine how AI is used to benefit as many people as possible. With a young and tech-optimistic population, a dynamic digital landscape, and a burgeoning tech ecosystem, ASEAN is well-positioned to harness AI to radically transform its future. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is currently meeting to discuss AI among other topics, and to launch an AI Opportunity Agenda for ASEAN. This whitepaper outlines policy recommendations for member states with suggestions on how to make the most of AI.
The three key recommendations in the AI Opportunity Agenda for ASEAN are to invest in innovation infrastructure, build an AI-ready workforce, and promote inclusive adoption and accessibility. This involves supporting scientific competitiveness, investing in research and development, adapting skilling programs across sectors, and identifying priority sectors with the highest need for AI tools. Google has expressed its commitment to support efforts around infrastructure, skilling, and accessibility through various initiatives and investments in network infrastructure, skilling programs, and supporting work to understand the opportunities and challenges of AI.
The latest e-Conomy SEA by Google, Temasek, and Bain shows that Southeast Asia’s digital economy hit US$100 billion in revenue in 2022, but there is work to be done to ensure everyone can access the benefits of technology. Google’s investments in network infrastructure have had a positive impact, with AnalysisMason estimating these investments led to USD 640 billion in aggregate GDP for Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2021. On skilling, Google has partnered with the government in Singapore to launch AI Trailblazers, which aimed to address generative AI use cases within 100 days. Google has also launched an AI Policy and Skilling Lab for Southeast Asia, a series of workshops and resources to help policymakers understand AI and its use cases.
In conclusion, AI has the potential to bring significant benefits to the ASEAN region, and the choices made now will determine the extent of these benefits. The AI Opportunity Agenda for ASEAN provides policy recommendations to member states on how to make the most of AI, and Google has expressed its commitment to supporting these efforts through various initiatives and investments. There is significant potential for the ASEAN region to thrive in the AI era, and with the right investments and policies in place, the region can harness AI to radically transform its future for the better.