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Philippines’ DOST-ASTI: Shaping ASEAN’s Digital Landscape

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The Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) participation in the 6th Round of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) Agreement 3.0 Upgrade Negotiations and Related Meetings in Singapore highlights the institute’s pivotal role in shaping the digital landscape in both the Philippines and the broader ASEAN region.

Image credits: Department of Science and Technology

Ms Roxanne S. Aviñante and Mr Elmer C. Peramo, representing DOST-ASTI, provided valuable insights into Big Data, Data Innovation and Artificial Intelligence that underscore the Philippines’ commitment to digital transformation, spearheaded by a government-led strategy aimed at bolstering digital infrastructure, connectivity, and streamlining business facilitation processes.

Projections suggest that by 2030, digital transformation could generate up to PHP5 Trillion (US$101.3 billion) in annual economic value, with the country ranking as the 3rd fastest growing economy in Asia Pacific. In pursuit of this ambitious vision, DOST-ASTI emerges as a pioneering force, leading the charge towards positive transformation.

Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, DOST-ASTI has initiated projects like ASTI-Automated Labeling Machine (ASTI-ALaM), iTANONG, and Robot for Optimised and Autonomous Mission-Enhancement Responses (ROAMER), showcasing its commitment to cutting-edge research and supporting digital transformation endeavours.

The ASTI-Automated Labeling Machine (ASTI-ALaM) is part of the SkAI-Pinas initiative in the Philippines, aiming to streamline the development of machine learning models and create an online model store for various applications. It focuses on tasks like mapping and computer vision, using remote sensing, machine learning, and deep learning methods to segment satellite images and estimate building structural strength.

The iTANONG project is a 3-year initiative beginning in 2022, focused on developing an AI system that facilitates access to database information through natural language queries in Filipino, English, or Taglish. Users can interact with this system via a web browser or mobile app, querying the database and receiving insights directly. By bridging the gap between users and relational database management systems (RDBMS) through a linguistic interface, iTANONG aims to streamline information retrieval and analysis processes.

Project ROAMER focuses on developing autonomous mobile robot prototypes to enhance productivity across various industries, initially focusing on monitoring agricultural farms. Leveraging AI and Robotics technologies, it developed an autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) prototype specifically for tracking, surveying, and mapping banana farms. This prototype serves as a learning platform for building field-ready autonomous vehicles for specific tasks.

The pilot implementation targets the agri-banana industry, aiming to aid decision-making processes by providing field data for operations and resource management, including improved path planning for administering chemicals like fertilizers. The project presents field data through 3D maps generated by DOST-ASTI using AI-based methods in computer vision, sensing, and navigation.

DOST-ASTI’s support for the upcoming 29th Edition of the Digital Transformation Summit underscores its commitment to fostering digital innovation. The summit serves as a pivotal platform for industry leaders, featuring interactive discussions, keynote presentations, and real-life case studies aimed at unlocking the tangible business value of emerging technologies.

The Department of Science and Technology spearheads the digital transformation in the Philippines, driving progress and innovation. With a focus on technology and digital literacy, DOST empowers businesses, cities, and citizens to thrive in today’s tech-centric world. Through various initiatives, DOST bridges the digital gap by promoting digital literacy courses and providing training opportunities, ensuring equitable access to technology and digital resources nationwide.

DOST-ASTI’s relentless pursuit of digital excellence, coupled with its unwavering support for cutting-edge initiatives confirms its pivotal role in propelling the Philippines towards a digitally empowered future. With innovation at its core, DOST-ASTI continues to lead the charge towards a more connected, efficient, and prosperous digital landscape.

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