Singapore’s national artificial intelligence (AI) programme, AI Singapore (AISG), has penned an agreement with four Indonesian entities to develop a ChatGPT-like tool in Bahasa Indonesia. The four entities include Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Collaboration for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence (KORIKA), Glair.ai, and Datasaur.ai.
The collaboration seeks to co-develop an open-source large language model (LLM) tool for Bahasa Indonesia that would be accessible to a wide range of stakeholders.
In a joint press release, the partners stated that the project arose from the realisation that while there are many LLMs such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, the majority of research in this domain remains centered on the English language.
This has resulted in a void within other language markets, consolidating technological dominance among English-speaking nations. Citing Statista’s January 2023 figures, it said that English commands a 58.8% share in web content, while Bahasa Indonesia only takes up 0.6%. This surfaced the need for broader research and development that catered to the unique linguistic nuances and demands of Bahasa Indonesia.
AISG, which develops open LLMs in Southeast Asian languages, recognised the potential in Indonesia. Senior director of AI products at AISG, Leslie Teo, said that the organisation’s family of LLMs, SEA-LION, has the potential to power products and solutions that provide significant benefits to Indonesia. In turn, the partnership aims to promote the adoption and development of AI throughout the region.
“We are pleased to work with this consortium of partners from the public and private sectors in Indonesia to develop SEA-LION for Indonesian use cases and catalyze the development of the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in Southeast Asia, starting with Indonesia being the largest country in the region,” Teo added.
Speaking at a press conference on the Indonesian government’s focus on developing AI technology on 30 November 2023, Nezar Patria, deputy minister of communication and information said that technology, human capital, and governance need to be considered in the use of AI technology.
He added that AI is being utilised across various sectors such as information and communication, financial and insurance services, and government administration and defence. “To address challenges, the Indonesian government continues to create a positive AI ecosystem and is currently formulating AI ethics guidelines. Discussions with stakeholders highlight the need for effective AI governance regulations,” he added.
He further explained that Singapore serves as a benchmark due to its AI governance model and AI Verify software, with the hope that the collaboration with AISG will drive better AI utilisation and development between the two countries.
"In this era of rapid technological advancement, it is crucial for us as a society to understand and use technology wisely. Digital literacy is key, but clear guidance from the government is needed to ensure that regulations do not have negative consequences,” said Suryo Pratomo, Indonesia’s ambassador to Singapore, at the conference.
"GDP Venture, through its AI technology solutions portfolio, GLAIR.ai and Datasaur.ai, are currently adapting the SEA-LION platform from AI Singapore to align with the Indonesian context,” said On Lee, chief technology officer of venture builder, GDP Venture, which owns Glaur.ai and Datasaur.
“This initiative promises benefits such as operational cost reduction, increased revenue and productivity, as well as effective collaboration between humans and AI, all contributing to economic growth and technological advancement in Indonesia and Southeast Asia," Lee added.
Hammam Riza, president of KORIKA, added that KORIKA plays the role of orchestrator in implementing Indonesia’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy to achieve the “Indonesia Emas 2045” vision.
“KORIKA actively serves as a pioneer, leveraging this collaboration to expand the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and create opportunities for talented generations in Indonesia,” he said.
He added that generative AI opens doors to innovative solutions for various national development challenges, with cross-sector economic cooperation as a crucial element to meeting the needs of society.
“A robust foundation can be built to create innovative language models capable of driving technological and scientific advancements in the Indonesian language. This collaboration also serves as an answer to the challenges Indonesia has faced in developing artificial intelligence technology,” he added.
Agreeing with him, Esa Prakasa, head of the center for data science and information research, electronics and informatics research organisation, BRIN, added that the partnership can enhance the quality and efficiency of research. It can also improve accessibility to the public, support technological development, and enhance human resources, according to him.
Locally, AISG selected infrastructure specialist, Run:ai, as a strategic partner to accelerate and support its mission to increase the adoption of AI by the industry earlier in 2023. The collaboration sought to deliver scalable infrastructure solutions for a wide range of AI projects to support Singapore’s goals to be a global leader in developing and deploying AI by 2030.
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