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AI and Society: A view from Indonesia

From October 23 to 27, 2023, the collaborative efforts of Leiden, Delft, Erasmus (LDE) Universities, and the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in Indonesia culminated in the 2nd BRIN-LDE Academy. Themed “Smart, Sustainable, and Healthy Cities in Indonesia,” the event focused on three key subthemes: 1) AI and the emergent digital economy; 2) human-environment relations in the city; and 3) urban heritage and language politics. The One Among Zeroes |0100| project took center stage, with three members actively immersed in the first subtheme.

With a mission to foster teaching and research on sustainable urbanisation, the BRIN-LDE Academy also aimed to promote international research collaboration. Described as a ‘pressure cooker’ by Prof. Bart Barendregt, the program facilitated intense co-creation sessions over five days, involving young Indonesian scholars. The programme included lectures, discussions, field visits, and a workshop on academic writing.

On the 3rd day, each |0100| member collaborated with different researchers, resulting in three compelling research proposals:
a)    AI and Islam: Investigating the perspectives of Indonesian religious authorities on AI.
b)    AI and Education: Designing a model for integrating AI into classrooms, aimed at aiding teachers.
c)    AI and Data Privacy: Proposing a comprehensive policy on data privacy for the Indonesian government.
These proposals not only signify a deepening exploration into the societal aspects of AI but also serve as potential avenues for future collaboration between the One Among Zeroes |0100| project and Indonesian researchers, depending on securing funding. 

The 4th day focused on crafting academic articles. Among the 19 accepted papers centered on the theme 'AI and the emergent digital economy,' our collaboration yielded four intriguing (sub-)sub-themes: AI and religion, AI and creativity, AI and education, and AI and fin-tech. While these papers presented promising ideas, some were still in the proposal stage, while others were nearing completion. Our focus was on assisting in refining the structure of academic papers and articulating research outcomes in a way that is not only comprehensive but also accessible, emphasizing clarity over English writing skills per se.

Acknowledging the local emphasis on publishing in Q1 Scopus journals, a priority we appreciate, we suggest a strategic approach. Encouraging the initiation of publications in high-quality Indonesian journals while honing English writing skills can be an effective transitional step. This approach allows for a gradual evolution as we aspire to continue our collaborative efforts, eventually working together on publications for Q1 Scopus journals. The journey toward shared success in academic excellence continues.

All in all, the dynamic and collaborative nature of the BRIN-LDE Academy proves to be a potent catalyst for impactful research at the intersection of AI and society. As we look ahead, our optimism persists regarding the growth and enhancement of our collaborative efforts, aiming for even more profound synergy. We trust that our Indonesian counterparts will draw valuable insights from our shared experiences, just as we have.

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