Thursday, June 20, 2019

‘Prepare for artificial intelligence’

CHANGE HAS COME. Rather than fighting to survive, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Stanley Go says businesses should fight to win. (SunStar file)

AS artificial intelligence (AI) continues to disrupt industries, it’s vital for businesses to integrate or at least begin preparing for an AI-dominated business landscape.

Stanley Go, president of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said that to usher in the new year, the chamber will mount a talk about AI to equip its members and stakeholders with relevant information on AI and how it is changing the way business is done.

Go said there will be graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University who are coming to Cebu early this year to talk about AI.

“I asked them to address some business owners and schools to share a bit of AI and about how AI is affecting different industries,” said Go.

According to Go, the advancement in technology has already created a lot of disruption, which can make or break a business.

He noted that while it is important to be concerned about inflation, the trade war and geopolitical developments, interest rates and other indicators, it is also equally important for business owners to seriously look at the impact of the rapid advancements in technology.

Go warned that AI isn’t only affecting business processes but also the future of workers.

“We need to at least prepare and have the right attitude about these changes,” he said.

“We should not be fighting to float or to survive. We need to fight to win. We need to play to win,” he added.

In a statement, Yasuyuki Sawada, chief economist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said the Philippines should not be afraid to embrace both innovation and automation in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).

The FIRe describes the exponential changes in the way we live, work and relate to one another due to the adoption of cyber-physical systems, the Internet-of-Things and the Internet-of-Systems.

Citing a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, Sawada explained that FIRe technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, may even help the Philippines boost its annual productivity growth by as much as 1.5 percent.

Because of this, Sawada said the country must remain optimistic, despite the technologies’ perceived impact on the country’s labor sector.

He clarified that the emerging technologies will only automate specific tasks associated with a job, not the job in its entirety, and that the adoption may also create new occupations and industries, resulting in increased opportunities for Filipinos.

The ADB chief economist added that only the routine jobs are at risk of being automated. These include the jobs of assembly line workers, sewing machine operators, accountants and bank tellers.

Avinash Vashista, chairman and chief executive officer of Tholons Inc., said Cebu has to make significant moves in innovation and digital transformation, and look closely into adopting robotic process automation, cloud, data analytics, mobile application testing and digital marketing, which are new things that define the jobs in the future.

Cebu IT BPM.Organization (Cib.O) managing director Wilfedo Sa-a Jr. said AI remains one of the hottest trends in the industry today that should not be taken lightly by companies.

“It is here. It is real and more is expected to come, as it becomes part of the way we do things. We need to do more complex activities...and as we compete with other cities and countries, we need to level up. We need people who can multi-task or do complex activities, as AI handles simpler tasks,” said Sa-a.

Cib.O president Greg Gabison sees the adoption of AI as an opportunity for the industry to offer high-value services in the global market, and move employees up in the value chain, rather than displace them.


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