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Ethical AI: Indonesia’s Path to Digital Advancement

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Indonesia’s digital economy is on a path of acceleration, with projections indicating a substantial economic contribution of up to US$366 billion by 2030. This growth is intricately intertwined with the widespread adoption and effective utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) technology across various industries. However, this rapid expansion also underscores the urgent need for more robust regulatory frameworks governing AI’s ethical and responsible use to mitigate potential societal harm.

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This imperative was underscored in a Public Discussion titled “The Need to Develop Regulations for Artificial Intelligence Governance. The Faculty of Philosophy UGM organised them in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) and the policy research and advocacy.

Key speakers such as Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology Nezar Patria, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy UGM, Dr Siti Murtiningsih, Director of Government Relations Microsoft Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam Ajar Edi, Executive Director of the Policy Research and Advocacy, Wahyudi Djafar, and Head of the Artificial Intelligence Master’s Programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences UGM, Afiahayati, PhD offered insights.

Deputy Minister, Nezar Patria, highlighted that the current contribution of the digital economy to the GDP still needs to be 10%. He emphasised the significant influence of AI technology adoption on the growth of the digital economy.

Consequently, Kominfo issued guidelines in December 2023 for the ethical use of AI, targeting AI developers and industrial sectors. Given AI’s impacts on society, economy, and culture, these guidelines aim to address ethical considerations.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has advocated for using cutting-edge technology to enhance Indonesia’s global competitiveness. Nezar stressed the importance of aligning AI policies with international trends to ensure Indonesia’s optimal position in AI development and utilisation. This focus will directly impact the growth of domestic sectors.

Nezar acknowledged that the current AI guidelines lack legal enforceability as they need to be integrated into legislation. However, the government is actively monitoring AI’s growth in Indonesian industries. Nezar explained that they are moving towards soft regulation by observing the industry’s growth, aiming to maximise benefits while mitigating risks.

Some potential risks associated with AI use, as highlighted by Nezar, include the significant likelihood of AI misuse leading to social discrimination and the emergence of disinformation products that could disrupt social harmony.

In addition to providing ethical guidelines for AI usage in industries, Kominfo is also actively fostering digital talent development to support the digital economy’s growth over the next five to six years. “We require 9 million digital talents,” Nezar emphasised.

Dr Siti Murtiningsih emphasised that in an era of rapidly advancing information and communication technology, the emergence of AI poses ethical challenges. Consequently, AI’s development must align with moral and ethical values in society without compromising humanitarian principles.

She stressed the need for more robust legal frameworks to address societal and industrial interests related to AI usage. “We need to formulate laws that uphold the ethical principles of AI from a multidisciplinary perspective,” she asserted.

Ajar Edi noted that there are many misconceptions about AI in society. However, for executives and staff in companies, AI is primarily used to support tasks and work, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. “Although there is potential for bias, human decision-makers are still the most appropriate to ensure sound decision-making,” he concluded.

Indonesia’s digital economy holds immense promise for growth, contingent on responsible AI governance and digital talent development. Establishing clear ethical guidelines and legal frameworks for AI usage will be pivotal in maximising its benefits while mitigating potential risks. Successfully regulated AI usage will result in organised outputs, ensuring the necessary values, ethics, and controls are observed for national interests.


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