What Can We Learn About AI Ethics and Governance From Non-Western Thought? (WebDebate #59)

May 2
1:00 pm

Today, AI ethics and governance are dominated by Western thought. As AI is largely developed by the Global North, discussions on AI governance and ethics are still missing the important voices from the Global South. This also means that valuable approaches toward AI ethics and governance are not represented and are potentially overlooked.
For example, a number of activists and scholars have highlighted the value of the ubuntu system of thought for AI ethics and governance. Ubuntu originated among the Bantu peoples of Central, Southeast, and Southern Africa, and one of the key differences from Western philosophy is visible when compared to René Descartes. While Descartes proclaimed ‘I think, therefore I am’, ubuntu builds on a collective understanding of life, and states ‘I am because we are.’
This is just one example of how non-Western systems of thought provide a very valuable approach to  AI ethics and governance. Many other non-Western philosophies emphasise the collective and a relational way of being in the world. Another example is the Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper which highlights the importance of building on various perspectives when thinking about AI ethics and governance.
It is clear that the more explicit inclusion of non-Western approaches in discussions on AI ethics and governance is an important sign of inclusivity. Beyond that, ubuntu and other relational systems of thought also offer alternative ways of thinking about AI ethics and governance. With the advent of generative AI and the increased utilisation of various AI tools within many professions, discussing AI ethics has only become more important. It is, therefore, unhelpful to limit these important discussions to only a small set of philosophies and ways of being in the world.
Join us for an informed discussion on AI ethics and governance beyond Western thought.
Tuesday, 2 May, 13:00 UTC (09:00 EDT | 15:00 CEST | 18:30 IST) 

About our WebDebates
Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.