Human Resource Development Hasn’t Caught Up with Advanced Tech
Technology start-ups in Indonesia have developed rapidly in recent years, as indicated by the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the country.
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JAKARTA, KOMPAS — Technology start-ups in Indonesia have developed rapidly in recent years, as indicated by the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the country. However, the shortage of technology talent remains a big problem. The dependence on foreign technology is a future threat, especially when technology enters a more advanced stage.
Several start-ups such as Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka, Halodoc, and Dana have applied AI in running their businesses, as have major banks such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and Bank Mandiri. AI has been applied to providing customer service, analyzing user behavior, reducing in-person activities, ensuring quality physician services, identifying fraud, and increasing security, to name but a few.
The chairman of the Indonesian Tech Startups Association (Atsindo), Handito Joewono, said the use of AI had begun to increase over the last three years, particularly during reduced physical meetings amid the pandemic.
Syafri Bahar, the vice president for data science at Gojek, revealed that the ride-hailing and payment services superapp had built an AI-based hyperlocal mobility network so that customers could be served by the drivers and sales service partners nearest to their location. With the use of AI, GoFood could receive hundreds of orders simultaneously while offering fast service and delivery, he said.
The BRI Brain analyzes data and generates predictions on which decisions can be based.
Meanwhile, BRI has developed an AI system to manage customer data. The BRI Brain analyzes data and generates predictions on which decisions can be based.
BRI president director Sunarso said that BRI Brain analyzed the bank’s big data to generate a BRI Score that provided a basis for BRI employees to make decisions. "BRI Brain is not only for credit ratings, but also for profiling customers, detecting fraud, and so on," he said.
Herman Widjaja, the senior vice president for engineering at Tokopedia, said the e-commerce giant used AI to better understand user behavior and improve convenience for customers. Tokopedia had developed a chatbot facility that could more accurately respond to customers’ questions.
The chief product officer of telehealth services platform Halodoc, Alfonsius Timboel, said that the company began exploring innovations in 2018 to improve the service experience and convenience for users and partners. The first innovation project focused on a machine-learning image filter. This innovation was created following complaints from female doctors who often received inappropriate photos from users that were unrelated to their health consultation.
Meanwhile, chief technology officer Norman Sasono of e-wallet platform DANA said that the company used AI to develop a fraud detection system and market segmentation, as well as to provide a personalized experience for each user.
Bank Mandiri senior vice president for infrastructure Susilo Hardiyantono said that the lender collaborated with Microsoft in February 2020 to optimize business processes by using cloud computing and AI developed by the global technology giant.
Even though Indonesian technology start-ups have grown rapidly, the shortage of talents in the industry, which started six years ago, has continued until now. All start-ups acknowledge that they have had difficulty recruiting sufficient talent.
According to Rama, many foreign companies that provided AI technology had offices and a sales force in Indonesia hailed from countries like China, India and Singapore, and the technology talents also came from their home countries, while algorithms were developed overseas.
CEO Rama Mamuaya of technology news portal Daily Social said AI technology was entering an advanced stage in Indonesia, but unfortunately, most of the tech came from abroad. According to Rama, many foreign companies that provided AI technology had offices and a sales force in Indonesia hailed from countries like China, India and Singapore, and the technology talents also came from their home countries, while algorithms were developed overseas.
"They sell algorithm-based technology products that are tailored to our needs. The data comes from us, but they are processed by outside technology. This situation can make start-ups dependent on external technology, so we will become a mere market," said Rama.
He acknowledged that technology talents existed in Indonesia, but their number was limited and their capabilities also needed improvement. An AI company abroad that serviced several tasks needed around 30 tech employees on average, while a similar company in Indonesia required around 50 tech employees.
To tackle the issue, several companies were creating AI learning platforms. Another strategy was sending employees to training abroad, on the condition that they must return to Indonesia to apply their expertise locally. In addition, training programs needed to be expanded beyond fresh university graduates.
"However, it\'s too early to say we have lost [the race]. It is still to be seen in next two to three years. There is a market niche that we can dominate," said Rama.
CTO Ray Frederick of travel and lifestyle platform Traveloka said that the most important thing was to prepare skilled workers who were capable of using and developing AI. Traveloka had collaborated with the government, Google, and other start-ups through the Bangkit program to increase the capacity of digital talents. (DIM/JUD/MED/CAS/MAR)
(This article was translated byHendarsyah Tarmizi)