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Promoting and Creating AI Awareness in the Philippines

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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines and the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao aim to educate the public about the benefits and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in a variety of fields.

The country has recognised that AI is one of the technologies that is starting to change the way businesses and organisations work. Because AI has so many uses, it is starting to be utilised in many different areas, and its full potential is being realised and used in many markets. Hence, businesses and organisations in the Philippines are starting to pay attention to the benefits of this.

During the recent “1st AI Pinas Research and Development (R&D) Conference and Workshop 2023,” over one hundred participants, including local and international speakers, discussed the benefits of machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, computer vision, and deep learning applied to health, education, mobility, the environment, disaster risk reduction (DRR), industries, and smart and sustainable cities and communities.

Renato Solidum Jr, DOST Secretary acknowledged that AI has the potential to increase human productivity by automating routine tasks, analysing massive amounts of data, learning new information, and making well-informed decisions.

He added that they focused on the four investment pillars, and as a result, DOST has pledged financial support for the Philippines’ rapid scientific development in this area so that the nation can fully benefit from AI technologies.

Secretary Renato confirmed that the DOST has been collaborating with multiple stakeholders to make the AI R&D framework for 2019–2029 beneficial for its intended beneficiaries. The framework focuses on building a national infrastructure, which includes:

  • AI R&D centres;
  • Empowering more professionals through DOST-PCIEERD training and development; and
  • Encouraging more mission-driven programmes with unique applications.

He has emphasised that the Philippines are also enhancing its workforce’s capabilities. In collaboration with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and an open online course provider, three (3) AI Pinas training have produced 143 graduates.

Through the Smarter Philippines and R&D, Training, and Adoption (SPARTA) project, he hopes to upskill and launch the data science careers of the nation’s workforce as they aim to have 50,000 Filipino data scientists by 2029 to meet the needs and demands of the industry as they undergo digital transformation.

Dr Lyre Anni Murao, Chancellor of UP Mindanao, on the other hand, urged the use of AI to help with daily tasks, stating that AI should be given more credit for improving the quality of life and strengthening the capacity to contribute to global development.

On the other hand, Dr Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), stated that the “AI for Better Normal” investments, made possible in June 2021, have put them at the forefront of using AI to advance innovation in the country, as they have supported impactful AI projects across the country.

DOST-PCIEERD, as a leader and partner in enabling innovations in the Philippines, ensures that it strengthens local capabilities in the region. Initiatives like this strengthen ties with more developed countries and foster new collaborations that can spur future socioeconomic growth.

The event themed “Artificial Intelligence Driving Transformation and Impact in the Digital Age,” provided a forum for experts, researchers, professionals, enthusiasts, and prospective beneficiaries to update the R&D roadmap and develop a national AI R&D programme.


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