An Ambitious Artificial Intelligence Policy in a Decentralised Governance System: Evidence From Indonesia

Rendy Pahrun Wadipalapa, Riris Katharina, Poltak Partogi Nainggolan, Sitti Aminah, Tini Apriani, Diana Ma’rifah, Azmi Listya Anisah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates Indonesia’s ambitious artificial intelligence (AI) policy within the context of its decentralised governance structure. Through in-depth case studies in Jakarta, Central Java, and East Java, we analyse emerging AI-based policy responses and their challenges in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. Drawing from elite interviews conducted with central and local government officials and documentary research, this study offers rare insights into the local perspective on the struggle to accommodate the central government's ambitious plan with limited resources. This article finds that the divergence in the views and visions of AI between central and local governments has complicated the formulation and implementation of AI-based policies. Central authorities wield a dominant role, evident through regulatory mandates and a centralised decision-making approach that can potentially constrain local autonomy. This power asymmetry, coupled with the lack of specific AI-focused regulations, challenges local governments’ capacity to independently design and manage AI initiatives aligned with their unique contexts. Interestingly, instead of showing their resistance towards the ambitious national plan, local leaders have embraced AI policies, positioning them as innovative tools to enhance popularity in the lead-up to the 2024 general election.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • artificial intelligence
  • Decentralised governance
  • Indonesia
  • local government


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