Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become “part and parcel” of our lives. Survival and future growth of “humanity” has direct correlation with the AI which actually, paves the way of achieving the goals of smarter economy, smart governance, digitalization of economy/society, massive industrialization, diversification of economy and last but not least, innovative future orientations. In this context, Indonesian government announced its national strategy for the development of AI. It termed it “safe” and widely ”beneficial”.

For achieving the desired goals of technological revolution, innovative transformation, digitalization transmission, and highest standards of higher education and to cope with deadly diseases, and expedite research Indonesia published a blueprint, known as Stranas KA, for the national development of AI between 2020 and 2045.

The head of Indonesian national research and innovation agency (BRIN) shared the future plans of his government pertaining to AI mainly in education and research, health services, bureaucratic reform, and food security as well as mobility and smart cities.  

It would start a giant automation process in the country. By outlining the national strategy for the development of AI he termed it vital for an independent, advanced and prosperous Indonesia, one that can be reformed or reinvented) from a natural resource-based country to an innovation-based country.

The agency and broader government outlined five sectors of its focus, the first being AI, as well as Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, augmented reality, and 3D printing. Stranas KA is a framework that provides a road map to unite many of the digital developments taking place in the country and aligns closely with Visi Indonesia 2045, its broader development strategy.

According to Indonesian Stranas KA, for the national development of AI (2020- 2045) there are five priorities of it mainly health services, bureaucratic reform, education & research, food security and mobility & smart cities. There are four focus areas i.e. industrial research & innovation for the development of research ecosystem and artificial intelligence innovation platform in order to accelerate bureaucratic and industrial reforms, infrastructure & data development, create a data ecosystem and supporting infrastructure for AL to contribute to national priorities, talent development, nurture AI talent that is competitive and has good character, and last ethics & policies to create ethical artificial intelligence in accordance with national values.

One of the foremost priority of Indonesian government is to upgrade and replace the nation’s unsupportive bureaucratic. To achieve this goal President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo outlined plans to replace a number of civil service positions with AI in 2019. It would a big step towards e-governance and smarter economy in the days to come.

From Aristotle to modern philosophers Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Berkeley, Kant, Marx, and Wittgenstein bureaucracy by design, composition and orientation is a passive class which has been creating serious socio-economic and geopolitical issues in the evolution of human civilization. But governments/states have the authority and capability to remodel it by re-designing forward-thinking processes, protocols, and business orientation.

In this regard, AI may be an ideal choice to overhaul it. Indonesia’s government has introduced an innovative concept of e-bureaucracy in the country so that caravans of socio-economic prosperity, economic sustainability, political stability and societal cohesion may be achieved by implementing people and business’s friendly policies through an interactive mechanism of the AI. The government will employ an online single submission (OSS) system and the Single Map policy for accomplishing this vision.

Various AI projects are being carried out in diverse sectors of economy and civility too mainly agriculture and education, with machine learning helping to streamline production, anticipate forest fires, and rejuvenate traditional teaching faculties. The national strategy identifies 186 programs, pilot schemes, and policies.

The national strategy focuses a number of unique” datasets that can help it develop AI. It also recognizes some potential pitfalls of its immediate growth. Indonesia does not have the provisions to regulate the technology, nor an official agency to oversee AI development. It fears that without proper supervision, close monitoring, and refinement, AI can become as much an obstacle to development as it can a contributor. The country also leans heavily on imported technology and holds its own concerns with regard to data misuse and cyber-security. To combat these limitations, the guidebook advises that country focuses on infrastructure and data, research and industrial innovation, ethics and policies, and talent development while setting up a data ethics board to oversee implementation of much-needed data privacy and security systems.

To overcome this deficiency the government advises the formation of a data ethics board to oversee AI development, as well as for the regulation and setting of national standards for AI innovation. AI developers and experts have urged the government to consider all the risks and prepare a comprehensive strategy for the future growth of AI. In this connection, development of fundamental infrastructure and expertise of cloud computing systems should be developed to prevent data leaks.

Indonesian companies have the highest rates of AI adoption in SE Asia. Being prominent regional expert of geopolitics/economic I suggest that Indonesian  government should prioritize trade, higher education and industrial affairs, as these will yield the best economic benefits and prepare the next generation for the burgeoning vision of modern Indonesia.

The government should work towards creating a better internet infrastructure, nurturing high-quality talent and providing additional infrastructure to bolster technological development such as an indigenous cloud computing system to prevent any leak of confidential information. Reforms of higher education based on AI should be regularized to prevent AI algorithm errors that may harm humankind.

Indonesia plans to robust its Artificial Intelligence Industry (AII). Indonesia has a literacy rate of 95 percent and a geographical location that lends itself to being the perfect next step in the Asian Ai revolution, Indonesia is primed for the future.

Indonesia’s government announced an initiative in 2018, “Making Indonesia 4.0” which essentially is a government sponsored program that seeks to speed up the automation of the Indonesian society. Through investments in AI, robotics and technology-based Indonesian firms as well as encourage investment from leading Japanese, Chinese and Korean tech firms.

Indonesia’s Industry Minister Airlangga Hartato said it will be key to encourage added value and high-technology downstream industries to become a competitive player in the new global context. In order to turn Indonesia into a competitive nation, it will require the development and integration of connectivity, technology, information and communication. This should lead to a more efficient economy as well as higher quality output in the industry sector.”

It hopes the initiative will boost GDP by 1-2 percent in the next few years, adding to an already impressive 5 percent GDP growth rate Indonesia has enjoyed over the last several years. The government wants technology to represent more than one quarter of Indonesia’s total economy.

Indonesia’s population is already extremely digitalized. The population averages 5 hours per day on their phones as compare only 3 hours for Japan and 193 million out of a population of 264 million have a smartphone. However, only half of mobile phone users in Indonesia use their phones for mobile transactions. Before 2011, shows that less than half of the country even had a mobile phone and less than 10 percent had smartphone technology.

Indonesia is already home to a number of AI firms today. In fact 4 of the globe’s technology unicorns are based in Indonesia. Recently funded Ai firms include Snapcart which just received USD $14m in funding for their smart receipts platform and four conversational Ai firms: Kata.Ai, BJTech, & The AI scene in Jakarta is exploding, with the government hoping for over 1,000 tech startups by the end of 2020.

Stranas KA is planned to take advantage of Indonesia’s rapid development and youthful demographic. Thriving start-up sector with world-famous unicorns like Gojek, its rapidly growing internet penetration rate (more than 64 per cent), and the relatively high adoption rates of technology by the private sector, including large enterprises would create hope for the Stranas KA to achieve the goals of the AI in the country. 

The Stranas KA provides a foundation for AI development and unifies multiple ongoing technology-related projects under one national program. However, it still needs to tackle issues around the quality of internet connectivity especially in rural and eastern regions and data protection.

Indonesia joins the ranks of countries worldwide with national AI strategies like Singapore, South Korea, and Canada. Economic development is often the key goal among many countries’ AI strategies Indonesia’s plan stands out for leveraging AI to address specific problem areas.

Indonesia aims to use AI to help tackle its struggles with poor nutrition among infants and to implement government services digitally.

According to consulting firm Kearney and Singapore-based investment firm EDBI (2020-2021) Artificial intelligence could add US$366 billion to Indonesia’s gross domestic product in the next decade and almost $1 trillion in added GDP across Southeast Asia.

Financial services and retail have been the early adopters of AI in Indonesia which would be further increased in the days to come. The logistics and supply chain sector may also be sole beneficiary of the development of the AI in Indonesia. Indonesian e-commerce platform Tokopedia succeeded to increase the total number of transactions by 202 percent and increase revenue by 179 percent month-over-month after implementing AI-based product recommendations.

To conclude, Indonesian national policy for the national development of AI between 2020 and 2045 has strategic importance which would further enhance elements of fairness, accountability, and transparency among the ranks, organs, organizations and departments of its government in the near future. It would further accelerate its country-wide drive of massive industrialization. It would revolutionize its government, society, industry, IT, ICT and patronize immense growth of digitalization of economy in the near future.

Moreover, it would enhance its agriculture productivity. It would give new innovative outlook to his tourism industry. It would fasten elements of research, higher education, science & technology and saver living in the country. It would start a new concept of living with nature by implementing smarter cities in the country. Moreover, it would further enhance inter-cities & rural connectivity and would be beneficial for the generation of new jobs in the country. All in all the largest economy of the South East Asia, Indonesia is poised to lead the region also in terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the near future for branding a prosperous, independent, innovative and modern Indonesia in the vey near future.