Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit (MedHEU)
May 27, 2024
Anak Agung Gede Kesuma Yudha 
July 2, 2024

Innovation Ethics and Oversight: Insights from Politically and Culturally Diverse Governance Systems

At the 17th World Congress of Bioethics (WCB) in Doha, Qatar, held on 2-6 June 2024, the Southeast Asia Bioethics Network had a panel discussion titled "Innovation Ethics and Oversight: Insights from Politically and Culturally Diverse Governance Systems." The session focused on the intersection of innovation and ethics in AI research governance across diverse global contexts. It was a follow-up to the "Advancing Ethical Oversight of AI-driven Health Research in Malaysia" workshop organised by the Network in Malaysia in January 2024.

The panel, chaired by Associate Professor Dr. Tamra Lysaght, provided a comprehensive exploration into the complex intersection of innovation and ethics across various global contexts. Dr. Mohammad Firdaus Bin Abdul Aziz opened the discussion by reflecting on the challenges encountered in AI health research ethics within Malaysia. He highlighted the dilemma faced by ethics committees tasked with evaluating advanced AI applications, questioning whether the existing frameworks and expertise of the committees were adequate to handle the nuances of AI-driven healthcare innovations.

Dr. Barry Solaiman delved into the legal considerations governing AI research in the Gulf Cooperative Council, emphasising Qatar's regulatory landscape. His insights underscored the necessity for robust legal frameworks tailored to the unique technological advancements in the region. Dr Angela Ballantyne enriched the conversation with her perspective on the governance of emerging technologies in Aotearoa New Zealand, emphasising the collaborative development of AI guidelines in consultation with the Maori community. Her approach highlighted the importance of culturally sensitive frameworks that respect indigenous values and perspectives.

Dr. Ong Ai Kiang, Serene broadened the discussion by examining the ASEAN Guide on AI Governance and Ethics. She also delved into the tension between universal ethical standards and diverse cultural norms within Southeast Asia in the context of AI governance. Her contribution emphasised the need for adaptable governance frameworks that accommodate moral pluralism while striving for ethical consistency.

The panel discussion underscored the pressing need for ethical oversight in AI research, illustrating how diverse governance systems are grappling with these challenges on a global scale. The participants discussed the importance of developing adaptable frameworks that can respond to the rapid advancements in AI technology while respecting regional and cultural nuances. Key factors to consider in developing such a framework included the necessity of robust legal frameworks, culturally sensitive guidelines and the tension between universal ethical standards and diverse cultural norms. Overall, the session provided a platform for robust discussions and knowledge exchange, offering valuable guidelines for promoting ethical practices in AI governance in the global context.