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Unleashing Indonesia’s Creative Economy for 5.0 Society

As staff and interns of RDI, we regularly have the pleasure of receiving exclusive guest lectures in the
RDI facility. On the 15 th of March, Dr Ayu Krishna Yuliawati, a research fellow of RDI and an associate
professor at Management Program Faculty of Economics Education and Business, Indonesia
University of Education, delivered an interesting presentation on the concept of society 5.0. This
relatively new concept finds its existence in Japan and refers to a super-smart society. A quick google
search to the concept of Society 5.0 actually directly refers to the website of the Public Relations
Office of the Government of Japan ( Here, it is explained
that the name Super Smart Society 5.0 refers to the proposed fifth form of society. It follows society
(1.0) Hunting, (2.0) Farming, (3.0) Industry and (4.0) Information. It hints to a society based on
robots, artificial intelligence and other forms of cyber-physical systems.

Dr Ayu introduces us to the concept of society 5.0 by showing the promo-video of the same Japanese
Government website as mentioned before. Within 90 seconds, we see how drones deliver medicine
to elderly in rural areas, how fridges help people remember which products are finishing (e.g by
saying that the milk is finishing and then proposing to automatically order new milk), unmanned
public transport and agricultural machines. Following the short clip, Dr Ayu mentions how Indonesia
is currently growing fast in population and economy. Simultaneously, trends such as convenience,
being healthy and feeling and looking good are growing in popularity. By showing the popularity such
as Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka and Bukalapak, Dr Ayu argues that many technology is already being
used to serve Indonesian people in their daily life. Continuing, she explains the concept of a Creative
Economy and how it could lead to more jobs. A creative economy is based on people’ s ideas, good
mentoring of experts in respective fields, the sharing of information between sectors and realising
these proposed ideas in real life. Within this frame, she introduces us to Digital Entrepreneurship in
Bandung. In detail, Dr Ayu walks us through the steps and challenges of setting up a start-up in the e-
tech sector in Bandung. This includes the usual risks that come with start-ups (taking risks) to asking
permission from the neighbours for renting a facility to work in. Moreover, she mentions that a
reason for Indonesia not yet being able to realise a similar society 5.0 yet, it the lack of current e-

Especially the discussion that follows Dr. Ayu’s presentation is interesting. It becomes clear that bu
Ayu has tried to develop a technical start up focusing on e-health, herself. Thus, she has very relevant
experience and it is interesting to hear about the financial struggles that go hand in hand with start-
ups. People need to be interested to invest in your idea if it is to become successful. In case of Dr
Ayu’s tech start up, this proved very difficult and Dr Ayu was forced to let foreign investors buy out her idea. In response, one of the interns asked about the effects that foreign investments will have
on local people. And in general she asks, who benefits from these e-advances?

The Japanese idea of society 5.0 perhaps sounds promising, but Japan and Indonesia differ
significantly in terms of demographic characteristics, main forms of income, employment and
landscape. Whereas Japan is faced with challenges of an ageing population, Indonesia currently
shows the opposite shape in the population pyramid. Half of the people is below 30 years and the
biggest percentage of the population is aged between 25-54 years old
( Noteworthy, most people work in
the agricultural sector. So, what effects do automatic agricultural machines have on the employment
of the majority of Indonesian people? How will they make money, how will these e-advances benefit
to them? Although agriculture forms the biggest employment sector, payments are amongst the

Continuing, the intern inquired about current laws that protect people when they purchase online or
when they take out online loans or what happens to health data when healthcare becomes more
digitalised. Is data protected? Or will the data end up with big insurance companies? Dr Ayu agreed
that perhaps the Indonesian society is not aware yet of all these side effects and are rather digital
illiterate. Yet, she argued that it could be seen as a knife? People can choose what they use it for, the
good or the bad.

This is not very convincing or applicable. Overall, technology will likely give more power to those that
have access to technology (which are obviously the wealthier people in Indonesia) and to big data
companies (probably not even based in Indonesia) which will benefit greatly from the e-advances.
Perhaps rather on focusing how Indonesia could benefit from e-technology, simultaneous research
should be done to the side effects and looking what effects it has at all levels in society. The world is
surely becoming more digitalised, and that is a trend that can not be stopped. However, instead of
providing easy access and benefits to those with money and power, more efforts could be made into
looking at how vulnerable groups in society can tag along and educate more people on the effects of
e-technology and safeguarding one’s own information.

Picture 1. Group Photo