IBM fully supports Malaysia’s push for AI ethics and governance 

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27: IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd has commended the Malaysian government for aiming to introduce governance guidelines and a code of ethics for artificial intelligence (AI).  

Catherine Lian, IBM ASEAN General Manager and Technology Leader, said this upcoming development is ‘timely’, as ethical considerations in the rapidly growing field of AI is much needed to demonstrate a mutual dedication to responsible innovation – more so at the national level. 

Led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), these guidelines were designed to address the implementation of AI across three main user categories: the public, policymakers, and technology developers/providers. 

 MOSTI Minister Chang Lih Kang recently said that the proposed guideline would be presented to the Cabinet for approval, with a scheduled launch in April 2024.

Tech giant IBM’s Lian said that as the new generation of AI or what we call Generative AI becomes increasingly integral to daily life, business and governance, embedding ethical principles within AI applications and processes is essential for fostering a Malaysian society grounded in trust. 

“The need for governance guidelines and a code of ethics in AI arises from the technology’s vast potential coupled with its complex challenges. AI can transform industries, enhance efficiency and solve critical societal issues. However, without ethical guidelines, there are risks of harm, privacy breaches, bias and lack of accountability,” said Lian. 

  She cited a Policymaker’s Guide to Foundation Models paper which introduces what policymakers need to know about foundation models.

“The recent Foundation models: Opportunities, risks and mitigations whitepaper also explained how the rise of foundation models offers enterprises exciting new possibilities but also raises new risks like deepfakes and expanded questions about their ethical design, development, deployment and use,” said Lian

“IBM has led the charge on responsible AI by releasing the high-level Principles for Trust and Transparency that we follow to continually build and strengthen trust in technology. IBM also embeds ethical principles across company’s global operations through an AI Ethics board,” added Lian

Last year, IBM introduced watsonx, IBM’s enterprise-ready AI and data platform to address the challenge of scaling and operationalising AI and bridge the gap between AI technology and business outcomes. IBM watsonx platform empowers clients to develop and implement AI models while addressing issues of transparency, privacy, and regulatory compliance. 

IBM also confirmed that the standard contractual intellectual property protections for IBM products will apply to IBM-developed watsonx AI models. 

“IBM steadfastly believes that the data of its clients remain their own, along with any insights derived from it. This stance extends to advocating for government data policies that are not only fair and equitable but also champion the cause of openness,” said Lian. 

This, she said, includes clarity about the training of AI systems, including the data used, the individuals responsible for its training and the rationale behind the algorithms’ recommendations.

“It’s clear that, to successfully leverage the promise of AI, businesses everywhere must navigate an increasingly complex global regulatory landscape. Without responsible AI and AI governance framework, companies won’t be able to adopt AI at scale,” said Lian.