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March 9, 2021, 06.21 AM

JAKARTA, – Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has called on Indonesia to step up its Artificial Intelligence or AI capabilities, so as to keep up with the rest of the world in the field.

In an address to the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology [BPPT] at the State Palace Monday, the head of state said countries around the world, including Indonesia, are competing to control AI.

“The world today is in a ‘war’ to gain AI capabilities. The competition to control AI is comparable to the space [race] during the Cold War,” he warned.

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“[Indonesia] is in race with other countries to control AI. Whichever [country] controls AI can potentially control the world. ” Jokowi also ordered BPPT to spearhead Indonesia’s AI capabilities.

“I would like BPPT to produce its own [AI] technology. I urge BPPT to collaborate with various institutions, among them the Indonesian diaspora, university researchers, start-up companies, and young innovators,” he asserted.

“BPPT should build an AI machine that can be a hub between innovators and researchers as well as combine computer and human intelligence, so as to support [Indonesia’s] economic recovery in an unconventional, yet effective manner.”

Jokowi also hoped the BPPT can be “an extraordinary institution that can find innovative and creative ways to contribute to Indonesia’s development. However, [the BPPT] should control and use [AI] technology wisely, so as to optimize [AI’s] benefits to the public.”

He also noted that the development of AI and other technology entails various movers among the Indonesian public, among them researchers, innovators and business.

Illustration of Artificial Intelligence (AI)SHUTTERSTOCK/EPStudio20 Illustration of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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“These elements should collaborate to develop future technologies for the [Industrial Revolution] 4.0, including eco-friendly technologies as well as innovative technologies that can help improve the [economic] wellbeing of the Indonesian people,” Jokowi said.

But the Indonesian People’s Bank [BRI] believed the president’s vision is easier said than done, despite the banking sector’s standing as one of the fields that adopted AI in the information technology industry.

“[BRI and other banks] face challenges in adopting AI in the banking industry,” said BRI’s Digital and Internet Technology Director Indra Utoyo last Thursday. “These are data, human resources, ethics and regulations, as well as research and innovation.”

Indra pointed out that the limited number of transparent quantitative and qualitative data is a hindrance, as are the adoption of AI as a model of banking innovation to predict outcomes.

“The adoption of AI in the banking industry also made skilled workers in banking to be more scarce, making cooperation between higher education and the [banking] industry more urgent,” he warned


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