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Kampong Ethics

Mark Findlay & Willow Wong

July 2022

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More than looking for some location in which to collectivize the contemporary individualist approach, kampong ethics addresses the urgent challenge of empowering sustainable trusted relationships within geo-spatial locations to foster collaborative applications of AI ethics formulations to in turn maximize AI governance for social good.


Our analysis begins with the proposal that the kampong (village) spirit of solidarity, woven into the Asian community identity, can redirect the collaborative applications of artificial intelligence (AI) ethics formulations to maximize AI governance for social good. Accepting Cotterrell’s vision of community as social relationships of trust, we argue that locating AI within communities (and thereby the decision-making process underpinning AI design and regulation) creates life-spaces that foster harmonious AI-human coexistence. By rejecting mainstream notions that monolithic/universalist ethical frameworks (often imported from the Western knowledge sphere) can address the ethical priorities of diverse communities across the world, this analysis further argues the “Asian” mode of decision-making and governance is not one specific operation, but whichever that can effectively stimulate and maintain shared trust in the recipient communities. In this analysis, kampong ethics bridges perceived/actual differences in people across external divides, in order to stimulate closer ties of cooperation for diverse communities to collaboratively formulate how to co-exist in harmony with each other and with the tools we create for each other.

Mark Findlay

Mark Findlay is a Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, and Director of its Centre for AI and Data Governance, where he is a Professorial Research Fellow. 

He has honorary Chairs at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, as well as being an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, and an Honorary Fellow of the Law School, University of Edinburgh. Professor Findlay is the author of 29 monographs & collections and has refereed over 150 articles and book chapters. He has held Chairs in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, England and Ireland. He was at the University of Sydney for over twenty years, as the Chair in Criminal Justice and the Director of the Institute of Criminology.

Willow Wong

Willow Wong is a Research Associate at the Centre for AI and Data Governance, Singapore Management University. Her research interests are in moral philosophy, metaethics and the philosophy of technology. Prior to joining SMU, Willow was a twice-elected Vice President (Welfare and Diversity) and Board of Trustee Member at Royal Holloway Students’ Union, where she campaigned and lobbied for high-level policy changes on welfare and diversity issues at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2020, Willow graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic with a first-class degree in BA English and Philosophy (Joint Hons) and earned the Edmée Manning Award for achieving the best academic performance in the graduating cohort of the English department at Royal Holloway, University of London.