DTI: The Philippines Can Be a Hub for Artificial Intelligence
The arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) to the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has sparked a debate on it’s a huge impact on the Philippine workforce. Being considered as a huge threat, majority of workers fears losing their jobs to automation, as machines are considered more efficient in a number of tasks.
But Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez explained AI should not be feared as the Philippines can position itself as a global hub for AI. In an interview with The Inquirer, The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Lopez said that DTI’s initiative will teach IT and engineering graduates to create AI solutions for the global marketplace. These graduates will also be “trained in fast computing, which is the expertise of [Dado Banatao].”
“That’s where we can excel because AI is knowledge. It’s programming and here you don’t need big machines, unlike in manufacturing. We have the strength because we have the manpower,” he told The Inquirer.
The new initiative, according to Lopez, opens up the possibility of teaming up with Dado Banatao, a successful Filipino technopreneur. Banatao is the founder of the non-profit organization called PhilDev Foundation, which, according to the PhilDev website, has the mission of eradicating poverty in the country through “significant investments in STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics), innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
The country is known to produce thousands of college graduates every year. The Commission on Higher Education revealed that there was a total of 703,327 college graduates in the Academic Year (AY) 2016-2017. Based on the released statistics, there were 82,794 graduates for engineering and technology alone, while there were 73,646 graduates for Information Technology.
Furthermore, the secretary said the government could also become partners with Banatao’s local office, Wave Computing, to help in unlocking the country’s potential. Wave Computing is known to be developing the AI Center of Excellence in the Philippines.
Lopez also said the government will tap into other tertiary institutions aside from the top schools in the country, such as University of the Philippines, Ateneo and La Salle, for the initiative.
AI is a great asset to companies, as it helps in various business functions, such as automating customer interactions, providing real-time assistance, data mining, and more. However, this technology will not run unless there’s a human workforce behind the steering wheel. With this, employees should learn how to adapt to the changing landscape of technology to become efficient.
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