PHILIPPINE enterprises are encouraged to leverage on artificial intelligence (AI) built on confidence and transparency that can bring real value to their entities.
Businesses, especially small-scale ones, are still quite afraid of AI without knowing that they will be left behind their competitors who have already embraced this cutting-edge technology, according to IBM Philippines President and Technology Leader Aileen Judan-Jiao.
“They would need to put AI to work at the strategic core of their business to meet tomorrow’s elevated customer expectations. At the same time, it is critical for organizations to use AI that is explainable, fair, robust, transparent, and prioritize and safeguard consumers’ privacy and data rights to engender trust,” she told reporters in a briefing prior to the staging of IBM’s flagship Tech Innovation Forum 2023 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Wednesday.
As a catchup, companies ought to adopt the hottest technology trend today called the generative AI that has been quickly gaining traction amongst the businesses, professionals and consumers. In a nutshell, this type of AI refers to machine learning systems that can create text, images, code or other kinds of content usually in response to a prompt entered by a user.
Unlike the traditional machine learning or deep learning that is like “the realm of data science,” generative AI “is almost predictive in a sense,” per IBM Technology ASEANZK (Asean, Australia and New Zealand, Korea) Principal Technical Sales Leader for Data, AI and Automation Kieran Hagan.
“It changes the way you build the app now. You don’t have to label the data, and it has changed the supervised learning. So it’s creating a new content based on available data and prompting, which based on the IBM research, it’s 70 percent more efficient than classic deep learning and machine learning,” he explained.
Generative AI has crucial applications for the Philippines given its potential impact on all industries.
Some of the classic use cases of generative AI would be around automation, virtual assistance, digitalization of workflows, among other applications, Hagan elaborated.
Digiteer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Cofounder Fatima Yambao, on the other hand, noted that this could affect the customer service industry since it has certain tasks that can be enhanced or passed on to the AI, without replacing the people but just need upskilling or reskilling for competence.
Additionally, it can be of use for the agriculture and transport sectors. Yambao said: “The Philippines is an agricultural country and we haven’t really utilized that. So now we can check up the crops, the yield, even irrigation and fertilization, [through AI drones]. For the traffic that is really a big problem here, with the help of AI, we can actually have maybe solutions for that in the near future.”
Meanwhile, AI can help address the pressing problem of climate change and dealing with natural disaster preparedness, among other environmental issues.
The Department of Finance reported that climate-related hazards led to P506.1 billion in economic losses and damage in the Philippines over the past 10 years.
“The World Bank forecasts economic damage to reach up to 7.6 percent of the GDP [gross domestic product] by 2030 and 13.6 percent by 2040 if no action is taken to address climate change in the Philippines,” Komunidad Founder and CEO Felix Ayque cited.
With this in mind, he stressed the need for enterprises to take advantage of the AI like what their startup company did to help their customers make better business decisions and implement effective business continuity planning (BCP) strategies that reduce risks of environmental changes.
WHILE generative AI has just been recently creating a buzz, it has already earned the trust of the business sector.
In fact, the IBM Institute for Business Value’s global CEO study showed that three-fourths or 75 percent of global CEOs surveyed think that enterprises armed with the most advanced generative AI will have a big competitive edge in the market. About half or 43 percent of them have already implemented generative AI to inform strategic decisions, 36 percent tap it for operational decisions, and 50 percent are incorporating it into their products and services.
Half of Southest Asian CEOs, including those from the Philippines, pinpoint technology modernization as a top priority for their organization; followed by enhancing productivity and customer experience—both at 48 percent—as their second prime concern among their top challenges.
What’s on IBM in PHL
TO bring AI for real in the country, IBM officially launched during the forum its newest enterprise-ready AI and data platform Watsonx which provides self-service access and everything businesses need—tools, technology, infrastructure and consulting expertise at scale in one place.
This channel comprises of the studio for new foundation models, generative AI and machine learning (now available); the watsonx.data data store, built on an open lakehouse architecture (now available), and the watsonx.governance toolkit to help allow AI workflows to be built with responsibility, transparency and explainability (coming soon).
IBM was guided by five fundamental properties in developing it to ensure trust: explainability, fairness, robustness, transparency and privacy. Watsonx uses the power of foundational models pretrained on massive amounts of unlabeled data, making it less expensive to prepare, and thereby reducing the cost of scaling AI workloads across cloud and on-premises environments through a single point of entry.
Apart from the business process outsourcing companies, the company also wants to partner with smaller firms for this new offering. Industry-wise, Watsonx works for human resourceS, financial technology or fintech, and education.
“AI is here. It can be used for business, but we need to make sure it is responsible AI. It needs to be trusted, explainable. And what’s good is that technologies such as Watsonx allows you now to actually do that. Let’s use AI for the good. It has more real life applications in the Philippines. You have IBM to help, you as we have our ecosystem of partners. So let’s not be afraid of AI. AI is there to augment human intelligence and it belongs to the creator—creators like all of us. And of course, it’s all about trust and transparency, be at the core of any AI strategy for business,” Judan-Jiao said.