June 17, 2020

Facebook announces award recipients of the Ethics in AI Research Initiative for the Asia Pacific

By: Meta Research

The development of state-of-the-art AI technologies often brings to light intricate and complex ethical questions that industry, academia, and governments must work together to solve.

To help support thoughtful and groundbreaking academic research in the field of AI ethics in the Asia Pacific, Facebook partnered with the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong (PCPD; esteemed co-chair of the Permanent Working Group on Ethics and Data Protection in AI of the Global Privacy Assembly) to launch the Ethics in AI for the Asia Pacific RFP in December 2019. Today, Facebook is announcing the winners of these research awards.

View RFP

Sharing the same goal as the Ethics in AI – India RFP announced by Facebook in June 2019, this RFP aimed to support independent AI ethics research that takes local traditional knowledge and regionally diverse perspectives into account. The RFP was open to academic institutions, think tanks, and research organizations registered and operational across Asia Pacific. We were particularly interested in proposals related to the topics of fairness, governance, and diversity.

“AI technologies are increasingly being applied to various industries to enhance business operations, and ethical issues arising from these applications, such as ethical and fair processing of personal data, must be fully addressed,” says Stephen Kai-yi Wong, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong. “Commercial and public sectors, academia, and regulatory bodies need to work together to promote a strong ethical culture when it comes to the development and application of AI systems. Besides advocating accountability and data ethics for AI, we as the co-chair of the Permanent Working Group on Ethics and Data Protection in AI of the Global Privacy Assembly also take the lead in working out practical guidance in addressing ethical and data protection issues in AI systems. We hope the winning projects will facilitate better understanding of ethics and data protection in AI, and foster regional efforts in this field.”

“AI has created substantial potential for the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To fully materialize the potential, AI’s application needs to be ethical and effectively governed by appropriate rules and mechanisms in multiple arenas,” says Professor Lam, Director of Centre for Civil Society and Governance, The University of Hong Kong. “Our Centre is pleased to collaborate with academia, the AI industry, and the public and business sectors in this initiative to promote research and dialogue on AI ethics in the Asia Pacific region. I look forward to seeing some of the research findings of the winning projects, which will inform policy deliberation and action.”

“The latest advancements in AI bring transformational changes to society, and at the same time bring an array of complex ethical questions that must be closely examined. At Facebook, we believe our understanding of AI should be informed by research conducted in open collaboration with the community,” says Raina Yeung, Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Engagement, APAC at Facebook. “That’s why we’re keen to support independent academic research institutions in APAC in pursuing interdisciplinary research in AI ethics that will enable ongoing dialogue on these important issues in the application of AI technology that has a lot of potential to benefit society and mankind.”

Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal, and congratulations to the winners.

Research award winners

Principal investigators are listed first unless otherwise noted.

AI decisions with dignity: Promoting interactional justice perceptions
Dr. Sarah Bankins, Prof. Deborah Richards, A/Prof. Paul Formosa, (Macquarie University), Dr. Yannick Griep (Radboud University)

The challenges of implementing AI ethics frameworks in the Asia Pacific
Manju Lasantha Fernando, Ramathi Bandaranayake, Viren Dias, Helani Galpaya, Rohan Samarajiva (LIRNEasia)

Culturally informed pro-social AI regulation and persuasion framework
Dr. Junaid Qadir (Information Technology University of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan), Dr. Amana Raquib (Institute of Business Administration – Karachi, Pakistan)

Ethical challenges on application of AI for the aged care
Dr. Bo Yan, Dr. Priscilla Song, Dr. Chia-Chin Lin (University of Hong Kong)

Ethical technology assessment on AI and internet of things
Dr. Melvin Jabar, Dr. Ma. Elena Chiong Javier (De La Salle University), Mr. Jun Motomura (Meio University), Dr. Penchan Sherer (Mahidol University)

Operationalizing information fiduciaries for AI governance
Yap Jia Qing, Ong Yuan Zheng Lenon, Elizaveta Shesterneva, Riyanka Roy Choudhury, Rocco Hu (eTPL.Asia)

Respect for rights in the era of automation, using AI and robotics
Emilie Pradichit, Ananya Ramani, Evie van Uden (Manushya Foundation), Henning Glasser, Dr. Duc Quang Ly, Venus Phuangkom (German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance)

The uses and abuses of black box AI in emergency medicine
Prof. Robert Sparrow, Joshua Hatherley, Mark Howard (Monash University)