De-centering the West: East Asian Philosophies and the Ethics of Applying Artificial Intelligence to Music
Bob L. T. Sturm;
Questions about the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence (AI) become more pressing as its applications multiply. While there is a growing literature calling attention to the ethics of AI in general, sector-specific and culturally sensitive approaches remain under-explored. We thus initiate an effort to establish a framework of ethical guidelines for music AI in the context of East Asia, a region whose rapid technological advances are playing a leading role in contemporary geopolitical competition. We draw a connection between technological ethics and non-Western philosophies such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Daoism. We emphasize interrelations between AI and traditional cultural heritage and values. Drawing on the IEEE Principles of Ethically Aligned Design, we map its proposed ethical principles to East Asian contexts and their respective music ecosystem. In this process of establishing a culturally situated understanding of AI ethics, we see that the seemingly universal concepts of "human rights", "well-being", and potential "misuse" are ultimately fluid and need to be carefully examined in specific cultural contexts.