Philippines, vector 3d flag on blue background with hud interfaces

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. acknowledges importance of AI; experts urge swift action for Philippines’ future

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. emphasized the urgency for the country to adapt swiftly to the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking during a roundtable at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Malacañang Palace last March, Marcos underscored the need for proactive measures to integrate AI into the country’s economic growth.

While recognizing the transformative power of AI, Marcos also cautioned about its
potential risks if not managed effectively. He stressed the importance of understanding the dual nature of AI, which could either enhance productivity or pose challenges if misused.

“We have to act very swiftly to be able to adjust to whatever occurrences there are. But again, I think, I need not explain how AI can also work against you. But we must, but it is [a] very clear understanding on our part that we must be part of that,” Marcos said.

Marcos further emphasized the importance of technology transfer and skill development
among Filipino workers to remain competitive in the global market. He noted the necessity for specialized skills aligned with emerging technologies to ensure the workforce’s readiness for international opportunities.

The need to keep up with AI advancements

Kate Hancock, founder of the Global AI Council, lauded the president’s recognition, emphasizing the critical need for the country to stay abreast of AI advancements.

“It’s encouraging to hear President Marcos acknowledge the significance of artificial intelligence and the need for the Philippines to stay abreast of these advancements,” said Hancock in a LinkedIn message to CoinGeek. “Given our country’s position as a leading provider of BPO and virtual assistant services, it’s crucial to recognize that AI is about to disrupt these industries profoundly.”

Developing local AI talents

Hancock emphasized the importance of preparing for the future and safeguarding the livelihoods of countless Filipinos who contribute to these sectors.

“As we embrace AI, we must also invest in upskilling our workforce to ensure that we not only remain competitive but also become a driving force in this new technological era,” she added.

Reflecting on the Philippines’ current standing in AI development, Hancock noted the country’s pivotal point but acknowledged the need for accelerated progress.

“While AI isn’t new, there’s a sense that we’re playing catch-up in its application and understanding,” she explained. “The rapid pace at which AI is advancing doesn’t afford us the luxury of time. We need urgent, informed action to integrate AI into our industries and daily lives.”

Regarding the availability of Filipino AI talents, Hancock acknowledged the existing talent pool but stressed the need for further development.

“The Philippines does have AI talent, but not in the abundance required to meet the current and future demands of this rapidly advancing field,” she explained. “To address this, we need to cultivate a larger, more robust AI talent pool through education, training, and partnerships with global tech firms.”

Diversifying AI applications in the Philippines

Meanwhile, Amor Maclang, convenor of Digital Pilipinas, told CoinGeek it is important to diversify AI applications in the Philippine context.

“Our use cases in AI for issues that address the global south are few and far between,” said Maclang. “Investors could use more case studies, particularly in agriculture, healthcare, and education.”

“Our use cases in AI for issues that address the global south are few and far between, we can stand to learn from other regions. Beyond just banking and finance, the Global South has adopted AI tools to address our region’s development challenges,” Maclang added.

“There is much anticipation for an increase in AI innovation that’s more responsive to the needs of the region with data samples becoming more diverse.”

Government’s openness to AI

Addressing government support for AI technology, Hancock commended the government’s openness to partnerships but urged for decisive action.

“The government’s engagement with technology, especially AI, shows promising signs of openness to partnerships and collaborations, which is commendable,” she stated. “However, the urgency to act on these partnerships and to turn dialogue into decisive action is paramount.”

President Marcos’s remarks on AI’s complexity and potential impact were met with approval from Hancock.

“His recognition that we should work with AI, not against it, is an enlightened approach,” she said. “As AI becomes as fundamental as ‘air’ across various sectors, understanding it is not just beneficial but essential.”

The future of AI in the Philippines

Looking ahead, experts warned of short-term disruptions in the BPO industry due to AI advancements. However, they also highlighted the potential for revolutionary impacts in various sectors in the long term, provided that the country invests in education, training, and regulatory frameworks to ensure responsible AI integration.

Both Hancock and Maclang emphasized the importance of swift action and comprehensive understanding to harness the full potential of AI for the Philippines’ future prosperity and progress.

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

Watch:  AI Summit PH 2023—Philippines is ripe to start using artificial intelligence

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.