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Navigating Ethical Frontiers: AI Strategies for Indonesian Smart Cities

Since 2023, Indonesia has begun discussing the landscape of smart cities to be developed in the coming years. In this context, collaboration is vital in developing smart cities in Indonesia. With collaboration between the government, private sector, and society, smart cities can become more effective and sustainable. This collaboration can cover various fields, from information and communication technology to transportation and the environment.

The School of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, Bandung Institute of Technology (STEI ITB), is involved in developing smart cities in Indonesia through various research and innovations conducted by students and lecturers. This year, based on the OpenGov Asia previous report, the Smart City and Community Innovation Centre at the Bandung Institute of Technology (SCCIC ITB), in collaboration with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (ICESCO) – an organisation founded by 57 Muslim-majority countries in 1979 – has embarked on an event aimed at propelling the digital transformation and circular economy to new heights.

ITB continues to actively participate in the sustainability of implementing this Smart City. Through a recent seminar titled “Milestones Shaping AI: Ethical Considerations and AI in Smart Cities & Innovation” at the Science and Techno Park (STP) ITB, this educational institution has proven its commitment to promoting digital transformation and sustainable economics. In the seminar, ITB discussed ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in smart cities and innovation.

The seminar was attended by experts and practitioners in the field of AI, including the Director of AI Development at Search Engine company, Alexander Krainov; VP Strategy at Search Engine company, Alexander Popovskiy; ITB Lecturer and SCCIC Researcher, Dr Fadhil Hidayat, ST, MT; and Director of Application Control, Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), Teguh Arifiadi, SH, MH. The speakers discussed various essential aspects of the development and application of AI, especially in Indonesia.

Dr Fadhil Hidayat explained that generative AI is currently the latest trend in AI, and the Search Engine company has successfully implemented this technology in Russia. This success inspires the Indonesian nation to create similar developments in artificial intelligence in the homeland.

In the seminar, one of the speakers emphasised the importance of a deeper understanding of AI, not only as users but also as developers of the technology. This aligns with the challenges faced in applying AI, such as ethical issues and regulations.

Ethical considerations in the development and use of AI include principles and values that must be considered to ensure this technology’s responsible and safe use. This is important to ensure that AI does not harm its users.

Teguh Arifiadi, SH, MH, also provided insights regarding AI regulations in Indonesia and the challenges that must be addressed. Responsible and ethical AI development is crucial, including data privacy protection.

Dr Fadhil Hidayat also shared insights on the application of AI in smart cities, where this technology can be used to improve the quality of life for communities. Its application is sometimes complex but can start with simple things that can positively impact communities in smart cities. “AI-based services don’t have to be autonomous. For example, the scheduling is already AI-based when going to the hospital. When riding in a vehicle, the mirror is AI-based to see if we are sleepy. So, it doesn’t have to intervene with the steering wheel, but provide simple yet impactful responses,” he said.

Similarly, he said that the application of AI in city services can start with simple things but significantly impact smart city services.

However, this is not without risks, costs incurred, regulations, and cities’ readiness to operate sophisticated systems. “Another risk is that AI can give wrong responses. These are challenges. Therefore, we need to measure AI,” he said.

He envisions there will be follow-ups from the seminar. “Our target, of course, is to master this technology and have our products to make Indonesia smarter,” he said.

The application of AI in city services can also start with simple yet impactful steps towards the progress of innovative city services. However, the sustainability of AI implementation in the future will depend on various factors, such as the associated risks, costs to be incurred, applicable regulations, and the readiness of cities to operate advanced AI systems.

One of the risks that must be faced is the possibility of AI giving wrong responses, which can be a severe challenge to its implementation. Therefore, we need to be able to measure and manage these risks well when applying AI technology. “The goal is for Indonesia to master AI technology and develop local products that can enhance the smart cities in Indonesia,” Dr Fadhil concluded.


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