IGF 2018 WS #231 AI: Ethical and Legal Challenges for Emerging Economies


Panel - 90 Min

Organizer 1: Babu Ram Aryal, Forum for Digital Equality
Organizer 2: Amrita Choudhury, CCAOI

Speaker 1: Chuang Liu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Nii Narku Quaynor, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 3: Dinesh Kaushal, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Dhanaraj Thakur, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Bikash Gurung, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Although Artificial Intelligence (AI), is a promising technology domain with numerous emerging applications, it also has very strong developmental implications. It needs serious consensus among stakeholders on the governance model. As the IGF is major forum where various stakeholders come together and contributes towards developing the governance models of Internet, this workshop intends to bring the issues of AI and developing countries at the global forum in order to build some good governance model of AI. The workshop is directly related to the theme and subtheme of IGF 2018, respectively. This workshop will explore the best practices of Use of AI and its Governance in developing countries through the substantial examples from the particular countries. The workshop is highly relevant as the AI is seriously impacting the Information Society. The workshop rightly explores the Developing Country perspective of AI Governance.

Session Content: 

Sophia, a social humanoid robot developed by a Hong Kong-based Company Hanson Robotics, addressed a conference on the theme ‘Public Services and Development’ organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal on 21st March 2018 (https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/sophia-the-humanoid-robot-in-kat...). UNDP used Sophia to promote AI technology for the development and In Nepal itself, a group of enthusiast came together and formed http://ainepal.org. AI Nepal is promoting AI in various area of development. This is one of good symptom that developing countries also being engaged in such activities. AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the Natural Intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. According to McKinsey, corporations invested between $20-$30 billion globally in 2016. (http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/ESCAP_Artificial_Intelligence...). Globally, revenue generated from the direct and indirect application of AI software will grow from $1.4 billion in 2016 to nearly $60 billion by 2025, as estimated by Tractica, The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the adoption of cognitive systems and AI across a broad range of industries will drive worldwide revenues to more than $47 billion in 2020. The development of AI has created new challenges to the existing governance system. The development of AI may challenge social norms and laws. For instance, it may cause institutional conflicts within the legal framework in terms of civil subjects, obligations, intellectual property and road safety, which could have a negative impact on economic security, and social management and stability. (http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/the-inherent-legal-risks-in-a...). Worsening unemployment, Increasing concentration of wealth and Bias baked into algorithms are some of major issues of AI. (https://theconversation.com/developing-countries-need-to-wake-up-to-the-...). One of major problem is whether AI has the capacity of being treated as a civil subject. That is to say, should we treat AI creations such as robots as a "machine" or a "human being"? On Oct 25, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a humanoid robot called "Sophia", becoming the first country in the world to do so. And the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs has advanced a legislative motion on civil law for robots, in a bid to grant high-end AI autonomous robots the legal status of "electronic persons". However, these attempts create challenges for the traditional civil subject system. Since a robot is different from a natural person, will it have the same legal rights, obligations and liability as a human being even after being legally considered a civil subject? For instance, if some AI for specific use, such as a driverless car or drone, or a nursing robot, causes physical harm or property loss to a person while performing its duty, what punishment, if any, will it receive? Will the AI "machine" bear the full legal responsibility alone? Or will its designer, developer, owner or user be held responsible for the physical injury or property loss? Furthermore, as AI humanoid robots learning capacity improves, it might create high-quality literature or art works, or exemplary music compositions. Will the copyright law protect such products, and if yes, who will own the copyright? What will be the duration of such patent protection? How will the humanoid robot exercise its rights? Such legal problems have to be solved sooner rather than later, considering the rapid pace of AI development. AI development is a complicated project that is related to a country's development. Thus, this is very right time to discuss the issues of AI and its impacts and resolve through broader discussions. This workshop will discuss the use of AI in Developing Countries (DC) and the governance regime created by this. The speakers will highlight their respective country/regional perspective. Following issues will be discussed in the workshop: • Whether the AI is the future or leapfrog opportunity for the development or not. • What are best practices of use of AI and its governance in Developing Countries, • Particular cases/instances of use of AI for the Development in Developing Countries, • What are legal/ethical issues AI posed and need to be aware from Developing Countries perspective


The workshop shall start with the welcome note and introduction by onsite Moderator Mr. Babu Ram Aryal (5 mins). After the this he will give individual speaking slot to the Panel Speaker (7 Mins each). This will take around 35 Mins. Individual slots are utilized as follows: 1. Dr. Dhanaraj Thakur(Latin America), will focus on the policy perspective of AI Governance and Developing Countries. 2. Prof. Dr. Liu Chuang (China) is will present emergence of AI in China, 3. Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor(Africa), widely considered as "Father of Internet in Africa", will share the African perspectives, 4. Mr. Dinesh Kaushal (India) will highlight the importance of AI from Person with Disability Perspectives. 5. Mr. Bikash Gurung (Nepal) will present both from youth perspective as well as the entrepreneur's perspective of least developed countries like Nepal. After individual speaking slot, the onsite moderator shall start Panel Discussion that goes another 15 mins. After the moderated session, the moderator shall take comments and questions from in-person and remote workshop attendees (30 min). At the end the onsite moderator close the workshop with the summary. (5 Mins.)


We have a very diversified panel of Experts. We have a woman (Prof. Dr. Liu Chuang), a person with disability (Dinesh Kaushal) and a young entrepreneur and champion of AI (Bikash Gurung) in the panel. We have wide diversity of Asian (Prof. Chuang-China, Mr. Gurung-Nepal), Africa (Dr. Quaynor-Ghana), Latin-Carrabin (Dr. Thakur-Jamaica). The panel also comprise of wide range of stakeholders. Prof. Dr. Liu Chuang is an academician; Dr. Quaynor is technical as well as entrepreneur, Mr. Kaushal is also a sound technical person specially developing AI tools for PWD. Dr. Thakur is a Policy professional having significant engagement in grass root research. Mr. Gurung, a AI and Robotic champion is a very young technical as well businessman. The Moderator (Babu Ram Aryal) is from a developing country and supported by a women (Miss Amrita Choudhary) on online moderation. In aggregate it’s a very diversified panel and the management.

Online Participation: 

The Organizer shall give a significant priority to the online participants. Online moderator will ensure the proper engagement of the online participants.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The workshop shall start with the welcome note and introduction with highlight of the discussion by onsite Moderator Mr. Babu Ram Aryal (5 mins). After this introduction, he will give individual speaking slot to the Panel Speaker (5 Mins each). This will take around 35 Mins. Individual slots are utilized as follows: 1. Dr. Dhanaraj Thakur, one of author of Web Foundation's research book "ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE-Starting the policy dialogue in Africa (2017)" will start the perspective of AI and Developing Countries based on Web foundation's various researches on AI and Development. He will focus on the policy perspective of AI Governance and Developing Countries positions, specially highlighting various research/survey reports of Web Foundation. He will be discussing on the policy, regulation, the socio-economic impacts and other issues of AI Governance, especially in developing countries. 2. Prof. Dr. Liu Chuang will present emergence of AI in China. Her presentation shall focus on how the AI revolution came in China and highlight major lesson to be learnt by developing countries from Chinese experience. 3. Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor will present the African perspectives on the development of AI and its for the Development. Is AI becoming really useful for the development or still they are buzzword only? Are they contributing significantly? How business enterprise from developing countries like GHANA can exploit this future technology for the overall development? These questions will be discussed in very brief from the Dr. Quaynor's presentation. 4. Mr. Dinesh Kaushal, a Person with Disability (PWD) who is a coder and develops AI tools for PWD, will highlight the importance of AI from Person with Disability Perspectives. How AI can contribute to ease the life of PWD, especially for those living in difficult situation like in developing countries. 5. Mr. Bikash Gurung will present both from youth perspective as well as the entrepreneur's perspective of lest developed countries like Nepal. He will share some of cases from Nepal where AI was used for the development works. Onsite Moderator shall include online participants as well with the help of online moderator.

Onsite Moderator: 

Babu Ram Aryal, Forum for Digital Equality

Online Moderator: 

Amrita Choudhari, CCOAI, India


Forum for Digital Equality

Session Time: 
Wednesday, 14 November, 2018 - 09:40 to 11:10
Salle IV

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678