|UGM students for AUS|
As I have been telling you in the previous post, Asian Undergraduate Summit brought up the theme of Disruptive Change. Disruptive change is basically new technologies and innovations that disrupt existing market. It was originally a business term, but today it can be applied more generally. Notable yet overused examples are the online transportation platform such as Uber and Grab (and Gojek in Indonesia), and other sharing-economy mechanism such as Airbnb. But actually, disruptive change includes a lot of pretty mindblowing technologies such as Internet of Things (how various objects can be automated interconnectedly using internet-like mechanism), Big Data (a bunch of data that can be used to analyze patterns and everything), automatization, Artificial Intelligence, and etcetera.
Being an Indonesian student from a non-engineering field, many of these things were alien to me. If even an undergraduate student like me is finding these things as a novelty, what about million other Indonesians? This is the thing I thought long and hard about. When we talked about disruptive change during AUS, we were mostly talking about Singapore context. That is why it is relevant to talk about how robots are threatening human jobs, or how sharing economy has the potential of benefiting the whole society, or how the health industry can be more productive using the automatization of technical jobs. They are relevant, because Singapore as a first-world, tech savvy state, has the technology, resources, and the knowledge. They are advanced enough to began talking about the things that Indonesians are probably still dreaming about. Meanwhile, Indonesia, regardless of how rich it actually is, still grapples with issues that are probably considered neanderthal in Singapore. How are we supposed to integrate robots with humans and apply drones to military purposes when we still have a very basic problem of poverty and corruption? Of multiculturalism and religious tolerance? Of equality in area development?
So. How far behind are we really are in the matters of technological development? Here is a little illustration. Singapore is the country with the fastest 4G connection. It is currently developing a 5G. Meanwhile, in Indonesia it is very hard to find a stable 4G connection, even in big cities.
Yes, many disruptive change will benefit the society in the way it will open up opportunity and increase productivity, for example Sharing Economy platform. But during the AUS keynote speeches session, I kept wondering about how can these technologies be applied in Indonesian setting? In Indonesian rural areas where technological knowledge is lower? How do we teach about these? How can Indonesian societies as a whole benefit from these technologies? – Questions which yet I had to answer.
Writing this, I am deeply aware that there are a lot of complexities that hinder Indonesia from reaching its full potential, like the fact that Indonesia is huge, also having a huge population that we have to feed. Therefore it is way harder to allocate resources. It is harsh to compare Indonesia and Singapore, I know, but the reason I write this is merely to highlight that, yes, Indonesia is indeed a painfully developing country. So then I find it funny how many Indonesians still fight over themselves with issues like ‘Indonesia dikuasai antek asing!!1!’ and ‘Indonesia belongs to Pribumi!!!’ or, ‘Non-moslem cannot be a leader!!!’ when they can use their time and energy to actually be productive, or at least, learn about the bullshits they are spewing.
My other takeaway from keynote speeches about disruptive change is about how to see things from a non-sociopolitical perspective. Of course, being an International Relations student, I am trained to see the political implications of things, of how a certain policy will affect layers of society. I’ve realized that speakers in AUS mostly if not all, come from a business/engineeering background. Thus, they talked about the market, the opportunities it bring, the profit it can reap. They didn’t often talk about Government’s role, or the impacts it can bring to the ‘fragile’ groups of society. I remember myself raising an eyebrow and thinking to myself that yes, technocratic way of thinking is a real thing. It can be really destructive, I guess, maybe not in Singapore where practically everyone live above poverty line. So I think we do still need politicians and people from social studies background in order to make sure that future developments are people-sensitive and people-centered, regardless of how much Indonesians are sick of their politicians.
You see, we have so much to do.
All the more reasons to stop bullshits like ayo nikah muda!