S’pore and Indonesia to co-develop Bahasa Indonesia ChatGPT-like AI tool


The new large language model tool using similar technology that powers ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. - AFP

JAKARTA: A ChatGPT-like tool in Bahasa Indonesia is in the works, following a new agreement between Singapore and Indonesia to collaborate in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

Four Indonesian entities signed a letter of intent in Jakarta on Thursday (Nov 30) with AI Singapore, the Republic’s national AI programme, to co-develop a new large language model (LLM) tool using similar technology that powers ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

The goal of this agreement is to collaborate and develop an open-source LLM tool for Bahasa Indonesia that is accessible to a “wide range of stakeholders”, they said in a joint release.

The Indonesian agencies involved include the archipelago’s National Research and Innovation Agency and the Collaboration for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence (Korika).

The other two are AI tool development firms Glair.ai and Datasaur.ai, which are both backed by venture capital firm GDP Venture.

LLMs process large amounts of information and learn how language is used, allowing them to analyse text, understand the context of queries, generate human-like text in response to instructions, and perform other language-related tasks.

These tools have surged in popularity in the past year ever since ChatGPT, developed by United States-based research organisation OpenAi, burst onto the scene on Nov 30, 2022 and allowed everyday netizens to access such technology.

The joint release noted that Bahasa Indonesia makes up just 0.6 per cent of content online, citing figures released in January by global research firm Statista. In comparison, English accounts for 58.8 per cent of online content.

“This fact emphasises the imperative for broader research and development endeavours, aiming to cater to the unique linguistic nuances and demands of Bahasa Indonesia,” they said.

LLM tools have a lot of potential in various areas of the economy, but many of them come from the US or China and may not be fully suited to South-east Asia, said AI Singapore head of strategy, partnerships and growth Darius Liu.

Collaboration between countries to create such tools for the region is important to address the under-representation of South-east Asia in LLMs commonly used today, he said at the signing event in the Plaza Senayan mall in central Jakarta.

AI Singapore was launched in 2017, bringing together Singapore-based research institutions to grow knowledge in the field and develop the country’s AI efforts. It also works with overseas partners to build new tech tools.

Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Communication and Informatics Nezar Patria added that the collaboration underscored how AI has helped workers in the country become more efficient in their jobs, and how it could in the future help with the nation’s growth.

He said that by 2030, AI could add US$366 billion (S$487 billion) to Indonesia’s gross domestic product, and almost US$1 trillion in added GDP across South-east Asia.

Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Suryo Pratomo also attended the event.

The agreement comes in the wake of Bahasa Indonesia being designated as the 10th official language of the Unesco General Conference during the plenary session of the 42nd session of the General Conference in Paris on Nov 20.

The other nine are English, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, Italian and Portuguese. - The Straits Times/ANN

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