Indonesia Leads Global Big Data Initiative

In the wake of Covid, the global digital economy has accelerated extreme wealth inequality, producing the most unequal moment in world history. The Indonesian ICT Council (WANTIKNAS) is conceiving a radical alternative to this trend in collaboration with global thought leaders. 

Called “Big Data for Digital Equity,” the project furthers the long-term collaboration between WANTIKNAS and Digital Divide Institute in support of a framework called Meaningful Broadband. 

Its first step is a webinar to be hosted at National University of Singapore Thursday, August 19 as an extension of World Economic Forum (WEF) which this year due to Covid will be held in Singapore rather than Davos, Switzerland. 

Following that event, the initiative will continue through the end of 2021 with a Jakarta-based Webinar series hosted by WANTIKNAS Director Ilham A. Habibie. He will convene a select group of 27 stakeholders and Thought Leaders from Indonesia and other nations which will form an advisory board for this initiative.
The aims of “Big Data for Global Equity” are twofold: 

- NATIONAL: To formulate an innovative Big Data Policy for Republic of Indonesia, for possible presentation to the Ministry of Planning (BAPPENAS) within the closing ceremony of the Indonesia Big Data/AI Association (ABDI)Summit in late 2021. The plan’s road map, in alignment with the National AI Strategy of Indonesia, will activate stakeholders of the Meaningful Broadband Working Group, a long-term initiative led by Digital Divide Institute and WANTIKNAS. 

- GLOBAL: To establish Indonesia as “proof of concept” for a strategy to reduce inequities in the global digital economy via building partnerships with ASEAN, with WEF itself, with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) at IEEE’s Big Data Summit 2021, and with International Telecommunication Union.

The plan will operationalize the innovative bottom-up Big Data strategy of one of the world's leading data scientists, Professor Alex (“Sandy”) Pentland from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The plan for this WANTIKNAS and Digital Divide Institute collaboration was announced by Professor Craig Warren Smith, co-organizer of the project, in his keynote to the Indonesia Big Data& AI Association Annual Conference in December 2020.  see here.

Prof. Craig Smith explained that, through innovations in policy and finance, nations could remake their Big Data strategy so that it avoids the “winner take all” outcomes in which wealth and control is given to the top tier of economies. Prof. Pentland may advise Republic of Indonesia with the aim of establishing Indonesia as the first large mid-level developing nation intent on achieving a radical reset of Big Data so that the benefits of Big Data are not concentrated in the top tier but in the nation at large, including those in the bottom half tier.

The Big Data policy will be operationalized by the Meaningful Broadband Working Group (MBWG) of WANTIKNAS and Digital Divide Institute. MBWG, initiated in 2018, incorporates not just the domestic cross sector factors but also a linkage to critical international dimensions, such as World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The activation of MBWG has the readiness to produce innovations in policy and practice throughout the nation in alignment with the nation's interactions with global stakeholders.

The Singapore webinar will be followed by five separate seminar gatherings, each focused on the following themes: 

1. Technology (*August 26, 2021):   Addressing supply side and demand side innovations incorporating smart electrification and a mix of broadband access modes including satellites,  fiber and cell towers. 

2. Public policy (*September 2, 2021): Addressing a range of public policy instruments including regulation, e.g. 5g spectrum, universal services, smart cities and acceleration industries. 

3. Finance (*September 9, 2021):Incorporating these themes:  blended finance; smart subsidy; FinTech/Cryptocrrency  solutions;  options for consumer, microcredit, and SME development; and Alignment with international intergovernmental finance, e.g. World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. 

4. Management (*September 16, 2021): government to government (G2G), government to business (G2B), government to consumer (G2C) and so forth. New governmental structures such as data cooperatives, to be proposed to the Ministry of cooperatives will also be considered. 

5. Ethics (*September 23, 2021):  formulation of a “meaningful technology index,” and measurement methodology that shows how impacts of Big Data could meet criteria for being “usable, affordable and empowering”. At the consumer level, the Index may further a notion called Meaningful User Experience (MUX.) 

Each gathering will address a separate policy domain to be integrated in this framework and will contribute to cross sector and inter ministerial solutions. A report will also address how the project  will further  “use cases”  in healthcare, education, agriculture, and so forth, in alignment with the Indonesian AI Strategy, in alignment with the Ministry of Research and Technology. 

*Estimated date

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