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AI Connect: Vietnam, US join hands to boost cooperation in Asia-Pacific
Minh Nguyen 09:12, 2024/04/25
AI Connect program is designed to empower low- and middle-income countries from the Global South which includes Vietnam to engage more effectively in international AI policy.

Participants from 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have gathered in Ho Chi Minh City for AI Connect II Regional Workshop, which is hosted by the US Department of State and the Atlantic Council, in partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology. 

 Anne Benjaminson, Acting Consul, US Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City, speaks at the workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 22-24. Photo: US Consulate General HCM City

The workshop features 44 selected participants in the AI Connect II program from South and Southeast Asia, as well as high-level regional representatives from tech companies, government, and regional institutions. 

The three-day workshop closing on April 24 marked a pivotal moment in advancing responsible AI development and policy across South and Southeast Asia with participants’ engagement in robust discussions, sharing experiences, and earning expertise from globally renowned experts while exploring case studies and best practices relevant to the region.

The workshop provides a unique platform for networking and collaboration among international policymakers, practitioners, academics, and private sector representatives committed to shaping the future of AI. They will receive support and opportunities to engage with subject matter experts via a global community of practice fortified by regional sub-networks.

“We are excited to bring together this distinguished group of participants and partners here in Ho Chi Minh City not only as a milestone in fostering responsible AI development but also as a vital platform for addressing the nuanced challenges of AI policy and implementation across the region,” said Dr. Raul Brens, Acting Senior Director and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center.

He added that the workshop underscored shared dedication to shaping a future where AI technologies are developed responsibly and inclusively, benefiting everyone in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

AI Connect II is designed to encourage the responsible stewardship of AI technologies in line with the OECD AI Principles and empower low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) from the Global South to participate more effectively in global, multi-stakeholder conversations on AI policy.

The program is engaging a cohort of 150 fellows through convenings, both virtual and in-person, and networking opportunities. The Atlantic Council will work with fellows to support their country’s efforts to develop robust AI strategies, foster meaningful connections between individuals working in the same region toward responsible AI development, and bring their voices to international forums and conferences to ensure these conversations are inclusive and cognizant of the unique social, political, and economic contexts of their home countries.

The AI Connect program is developed by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center through the models including monthly webinar series on AI principles and applications across sectors, in-person regional workshops and site visits, and travel funding to attend global AI conferences. 

 Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung and other officials at the launching ceremony of a campaign to promote digital transformation using the Vietnamese cloud computing platform. Photo taken on May 22, 2020 by VNA

Vietnam is believed to become a “dragon” in AI and semiconductor development in Southeast Asia, Rafael Frankel, Director of Public Policy for Southeast and South Asia at Meta Platforms, said in March 2024 at the launch of the Vietnam Innovation Challenge 2024.

Vietnam offers a favorable environment for the application of AI, and it is poised to seize a promising opportunity to realize the transformative potential of this technology thanks to its young population, dynamic economy, and openness to embracing new technologies.

So far, many Vietnamese businesses are actively involved in AI research and application, such as FPT, Viettel AI, VNPT AI, and VIN AI.

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