Political and Societal Changes in Southeast Asia Due to the Utilization of ICT

Political and Societal Changes in Southeast Asia Due to the Utilization of ICT

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University
OKAMOTO, Masaaki ICT Group

Group photo at the 6th Southeast Asia Network Forum

When considering Southeast Asia over the past 15 years and in the coming 15 years, ICT has been a decisive influence and will continue to be on all aspects of life. The majority of young people already have smartphones, and Internet access in rural areas is becoming a fact of life. From a variety of standpoints, including person-to-person relationships, person-to-thing relationships, human understanding of space, and human understanding of time, these trends have given rise to a type of human beings vastly differently from human beings living since the industrial revolution. In ten years, we will enter into an era in which the border between humans and things becomes blurred due to the evolution and penetration of IoT and developments in AI technology. We are truly at a turning point in this century right now. Therefore, we must understand in detail this change from a societal level to the global level. If we do not understand this revolution, it will be impossible to understand Southeast Asia going forward.

Based on the recognition of such serious issues, we created the ICT group with interdisciplinary teams composed of political scientists, public administration experts, economists, IT specialists, drone engineers, etc. From January 23 to 27, 2017, we conducted surveys in Bojonegoro Regency and Special Capital Region of Jakarta, Indonesia, on the impact of ICT advancement in Southeast Asia. The Bojonegoro Regency has begun creating a smartphone-mediated participant-based development plan. With the assistance of NGOs, the governor has been seeking to realize a data revolution that brings about bottom-up governance from the level of villages. In Jakarta, we visited the Open Data Lab and Hivos, international NGOs that have begun projects to support social transformation through ICT on the community level, and exchanged views with them. From this visit, we learned that the utilization of big data and open governance are about to commence in Indonesia.

Furthermore, on March 3, 2017, we held a seminar, inviting from Indonesia and Malaysia a lawyer who actively used social media for an anti-corruption campaign, a young entrepreneur who established the first blog in Indonesia, an NGO activist who worked to realize open data under Malaysia’s authoritarian regime, and an NGO activist from Riau, Indonesia, who sought to provide an aerial understanding of deforestation through the use of drones. The impact of ICT advancement in Indonesia, which as a democratic regime, and Malaysia, which as an authoritarian regime, is decisively different, with ICT technologies becoming tools for surveillance in the latter country.

Based on the results of such surveys and seminars, we held lectures in Japan and overseas on the impact of ICT in Southeast Asia (September 14 and December 23, 2016, and March 7, 2017).

Data revolution effort in Bojonegoro Regency, Indonesia