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DTI eyes AI roadmap rollout
Speaking at the AI Pilipinas Coalition Launch yesterday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI has tapped the Asian Institute of Management to help develop the AI roadmap for the agribusiness, manufacturing and services sectors.
STAR/ File

DTI eyes AI roadmap rollout

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plans to start next year the implementation of the roadmap that will position the country as an artificial intelligence (AI) powerhouse.

Speaking at the AI Pilipinas Coalition Launch yesterday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI has tapped the Asian Institute of Management to help develop the AI roadmap for the agribusiness, manufacturing and services sectors.

He said the aim is to make the Philippines an AI center for excellence in the region through developing the talent pool and the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“This will ensure our country’s competitiveness amidst the rapidly changing times and provide opportunities for growth, especially for our workforce,” he said.

Apart from crafting a roadmap, he said the DTI is developing a framework to reskill and upskill workers for Industry 4.0 technologies.

He said DTI also plans to establish an Industry 4.0 pilot factory to serve as a demonstration facility for the technologies that businesses can adopt.

In addition, he said the DTI would be setting up a small and medium enterprise (SME) academy, as well as innovation centers to serve as training facilities for Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance the capabilities of the workforce.

Through the Securing Manufacturing Revitalization and Transformation Program launched last year, he said the DTI would be providing performance-based, time-bound, and targeted fiscal support for the adoption and production of Industry 4.0 products and technologies in the country.

Given the country’s young population and higher educational institutions offering AI courses, he said the Philippines can excel in AI since the technology capitalizes on human expertise  in programming and data science.

He said there is already strong interest among Philippine businesses in AI and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies with the DTI’s survey on technology utilization status of manufacturing firms last year showing seven out of 10 micro-enterprises, and six out of 10 SMEs being open or familiar with Industry 4.0.

Prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some of the country’s enterprises have already integrated AI in their operations and the crisis has accelerated the use of the technology through chatbots by businesses to limit human-to-human interaction, as well as for contact tracing, health assessment and monitoring, knowledge management, and to address supply chain issues.

Among those already using AI pre-pandemic are financial institutions Bank of the Philippine Islands and BDO Unibank Inc., as well as brokerage firm BDO Nomura Securities Inc. which use chatbots and AI to augment their customer service and streamline back-end processes.

Food and beverage firm Del Monte Philippines Inc. is also using drones to monitor the condition of a pineapple field in Bukidnon.

Even as the country’s use of AI has increased, Lopez said industries have yet to harness the benefits and overcome hurdles in adoption.

As such, he said the DTI aims to continue to support industries in addressing barriers such as lack of financial and technical capacity and poor infrastructure.

“With AI technologies, we can future-proof our country from the Fourth Industrial Revolution even as we gain more opportunities to create more inclusive economic growth. Through AI, we can create a better normal in a post-COVID-19 future,” he said.

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