NEDA: 'BPO industry has time to prepare for AI'
(The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amid threats to jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry posed by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) believes the sector still has time to prepare.

In a recent briefing, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the top job-generating economic sub-sector in the country still has the headroom to upgrade the skills of its workers to enable them to integrate with the use of emerging technologies.

Upgrading their operations to high value services, he said, is also key to the sector’s survival.

“I think there is increasing awareness that certain regular jobs we are used to will be taken by technology. But it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s more likely to happen in around five years’ time,” he said.

“There is a need for firms to begin to prepare for the inevitable. But it’s not going to happen this time. (Philippine) BPOs are still expanding; they just need to upscale their operations to high value operations,” he said.

Concerns about emerging technologies are the latest to ruffle the sector after proposed protectionist policies by the US in 2016. Back then, the NEDA said the sector could create a safety net by greatly diversifying its service offerings to include more non-voice services like creatives (animation), medical and legal transcription, and accounting among others.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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