Mongaya: BPOs are dying? | SunStar

Mongaya: BPOs are dying?

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Mongaya: BPOs are dying?

Friday, August 25, 2017

SIRI and similar artificial intelligence apps amaze us while these make our life easier. But AI and robots will soon make BPOs history. BPO is a dying industry.

These technologies are still in their early days. But expect these to develop faster than the speed of early feature phones in replacing pagers. The Philippine BPO industry and government should now plan for something higher in the tech food chain.

Whenever we use Siri today, said Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and Fil-Am Yobie Benjamin during the Geeks on a Beach 2017 press conference in Palawan last Thursday, we avail ourselves of AI than an actual call center agent.

I was left to imagine bots that looked and talked like Alicia Vikander of the movie “Ex Machina” soon replacing our friendly call center agents.

As if pointing out how we fare with the rest of the globe, Benjamin said many of the top 10 richest men in the world earned their billions because of technology-based industries. No Filipino who succeeded in generating wealth because of his or her tech business has yet to join the list of top 10 richest men in the Philippines. Sila pa gihapon si Henry Sy.

But it’s good to know that the cooperation between government and private technology stakeholders that began during the first Geeks on a Beach in Boracay five years ago have begun to bear fruit.

Before for instance, Goab had only the support of ICTO or the ICT office under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). But after years of lobbying, we now have the support of the Department of ICT, which is undertaking ambitious ICT infrastructure projects.


With these said, I’m glad Mayor Tomas Osmeña and other Cebu City leaders have begun looking beyond that plan to make an intelligent enclave for BPOs at the SRP. For instance, he now supports app-based transportation services. Cebu City needs to generate and attract global ICT-based industries beyond BPOs. We have the advantage of having an SRP.


I hope the politically-motivated campaign to stop the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Cebu City, and along with this all those stupid arguments designed to confuse, will just stop.

More than a month ago, we were all bent on implementing the BRT, followed by the Light Rail Transit (LRT).  These are among the mass transport solutions that we have come to support for Cebu City and the metro.

Then came this campaign to pit the LRT against the BRT. It was clearly obvious that the campaign was meant to deny Tomas his pet project. The anti-BRT arguments put forward were elementary and full of holes.

While the anti-BRT proponents called for transparency, as if one cannot Google the information, they shy away from a debate and stayed mum about details of their LRT feasibility study. Unsay imong gitaoan, sir?

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2017.

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