Indonesia’s presidential candidates to regulate AI, eye more rules for digital economy

However, the campaigns differed when asked if they would regulate the digital economy further.

Deni Ghifari

Deni Ghifari

The Jakarta Post


However, the campaigns differed when asked if they would regulate the digital economy further. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

November 30, 2023

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s 2024 presidential candidates have presented their visions of how they will manage the country’s quickly growing digital economy if they are elected.

Budiman Sudjatmiko, a member of the expert advisory council for the campaign of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, said the candidates considered control of physical equipment and infrastructure the key to digital ecosystem development.

“The problem is, we have always assumed that the digital world is limited to the realm of [software] applications, whereas the race between existing superpowers and emerging superpowers [is taking place in the] control of hardware, of devices,” Budiman said on Tuesday at the Indonesia Digital Summit.

He said Indonesia had been left behind in the hardware value chain and that the Prabowo campaign was seeking to develop 10 “innovation cities” – potential production hubs for future technologies.

The cities include the planned future capital, Nusantara.

Chips, nanotechnology, satellites and artificial intelligence are among the technologies the campaign envisions being produced in these cities.

Read also: From tall order to piece of cake: Presidential candidates vow to beef up R&D

Meanwhile presidential candidate Ganjar Pranowo and his running mate Mahfud MD have emphasized human capital development in their digital economy blueprint. According to the national campaign team’s youth director, Renard Widarto, the pair plans to focus on improving digital literacy throughout the country.

“The digital economy should play a role such that our people do not become mere consumers but [rather] get actively involved in every [part of the] value chain along the lines of the digital economy,” said Renard at the same event.

Both Ganjar and Prabowo’s campaign teams appear to be largely on the same page with regard to regulating AI.

Budiman of the Prabowo campaign said the government should regulate AI, at least in the spheres of education and creative industry.

“The government must protect [creative industry players],” Budiman told reporters separately.

Meanwhile, Renard of the Ganjar campaign team said Indonesia should have its own AI rules, separate from those set by Western countries. The country could start regulating data rights and privacy in the use of AI, he said.

However, the campaigns differed when asked if they would regulate the digital economy further.

Renard said the digital economy needed to be regulated to ensure fairness and protect Indonesian consumers. This included having digital transactions and tech investment use the rupiah and the domestic financial system instead of relying on foreign banks and currencies.

“If there are areas that remain unregulated, they have to be regulated as well,” Renard added.

Budiman of the Prabowo campaign declined to directly address the question and said the pair would enhance the digital ecosystem and innovation therein, including through the innovation cities the campaign had proposed.

Read also: ‘Pinjol’: The challenges and perils of online lending in Indonesia

The campaign of presidential candidate Anies Baswedan and his running mate Muhaimin Iskandar, on the other hand, raised the issue of illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, commonly known as pinjol, as an area of focus for the candidates.

The pair promised to establish the proper legal framework to take action against predatory online lending, but said such regulation would not hold back growth in the legitimate portion of the industry.

“Action will be taken against illegal pinjol – hard punishments – but at the same time, the regulation will provide a broad corridor for players and innovators to maneuver,” said campaign team representative Wijayanto Samirin at the same event.

The pair have vowed to increase non-tariff import restrictions and supervision to prevent an excess of foreign goods being sold on digital platforms. They also plan to address concerns about alleged predatory pricing in Indonesian e-commerce, according to campaign materials.

In addition, the campaign has offered a blueprint to bring about regulatory certainty, improve the digital talent supply, push for the expansion of small and medium enterprises and other firms and ensure that access to digital services is more equitably distributed throughout the archipelago.

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