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Indonesia: Big Data and AI in e-government

The Indonesian government disclosed four potential uses of Big Data and AI to improve its e-government programmes. These two technologies, they feel, have the potential to support disaster identification and preventive action, prevention of illegal activities and cyber-attacks and increase workforce effectiveness.

The Director General of Informatics Applications, Semuel A. Pangerapan, explained several scenarios for Big Data. According to him, the government can use Big Data to improve critical event management and the quality of the response by identifying problem points through Big Data Analytics. For example, the agencies can be better prepared to prevent and mitigate natural disasters such as drought, epidemics or massive accidents occur.

In addition, Big Data can also enhance the government’s ability to prevent money laundering and fraud through better surveillance to detect such illegal activities.

Furthermore, Big Data significantly reduces the possibility of cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks can come from external parties, data leaks or internally for a variety of reasons. An analysis of patterns and unusual activities can help in preventing or managing such cyber issues.

Big Data and analytics can contribute to workforce effectiveness by increasing monitoring. In addition, it can be used for policy design, decision-making and gaining insights.

Semuel stressed the importance of data analysis after collecting all data in the right fashion. Data is only valuable if it is collected correctly and then analysed – data will only provide benefits if processed in the right way. “In its implementation, AI helps analyse existing Big Data, providing data understanding or insight to help make decisions,” he explained.

Another advantage of AI is the ability to speed up new implementation services and corrections in real-time. At the evaluation stage, AI can also provide suggestions for adjustments and improvements to subsequent policies.

Currently, the encourages the improvement of the quality of Big Data and AI innovation through the development of e-government. The Indonesian government is also open to third parties to accelerate Big Data and AI use.

E-government has made progress in recent years and received appreciation from the United Nations in 2020. The UN said that Indonesia’s e-government development index rose to rank 88 from previously ranked 107 in 2018. Indonesia’s e-participation index has also increased from rank 92 in 2018 to 57 in 2022.

“The two rankings show an increase in the quality of Indonesia’s e-government and the level of community activity in using e-government services,” said Semuel.

However, the government faced challenges in implementing these two technologies. Overlapping and data replication is one of the main problems. “Regulatory obstacles in the procurement of government Big Data infrastructure also need to be overcome. Then compliance with international standards for the national Big Data ecosystem is also still the government’s homework.”

To optimise AI use, Semuel emphasised the need for a skilled workforce, regulations governing the ethics of using AI, infrastructure, and industrial and public sector adoption of AI innovations.

The government is implementing several solutions to overcome challenges. First, they have provided suitable facilities in the form of National Data Centres (NDCs) in four separate locations. The NDCs will accommodate Government Cloud and contain national data across sectors.

Optimisation of data centre utilisation needs to be supported by staff with qualified expertise. For this reason, the government is holding digital skills training on AI and Big Data through the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) and Digital Leadership Academy (DLA) programs.

Apart from facilities and upskilling, Indonesia is looking to develop a business ecosystem that utilises AI and Big Data. Support for this comes from the National Movement of 1000 Digital Startups, Startup Studio Indonesia (SSI) and HUB.ID.

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