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DTI reassures Filipinos that new tech will bring more opportunities

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez recently dispelled fears over possible job losses due to the emerging new technologies in various industries.

Technology leads to innovation and new approaches in doing things. It will not always lead to loss of jobs.

Instead, it will provide opportunities for the industry to increase productivity and introduce new high-paying jobs for Filipino workers.

According to a recent press release, the chief acknowledged that technology is essential to improve efficiencies, and productivity.

Adapting to emerging technology

He added that it should be welcomed and the country should be ready to adapt to this phase of industrialisation.

According to him, continuous innovation is needed if companies are to remain competitive. In line with that, the Filipino workforce must be upskilled and retrained to remain in demand.

People will have to always acquire new skills and learnings to remain relevant. There are current programs integrating new skillset requirements with schools and training centres to prepare the students and the current workforce.

Many companies also provide retraining and capacity building programs as well as apprenticeship opportunities.

The Secretary highlighted that changes brought about by technology is not necessarily something new as there have been different periods of industrialisation.

Humans working with machines

Through all of these, the forms of jobs may have changed but the human labour market continued to be relevant and needed. Workers eventually learned how to run and work with machines.

History showed that when people worked with machines, jobs were not lost in the process. It actually opened other areas of employment such as manufacturing, servicing, and maintenance of machines.

The coming of internet and connectivity, for instance, brought a lot of new earning opportunities in e-commerce, more buyer-seller platforms, and a myriad of opportunities in game development and gaming, digital advertising and networking.

Robots and mechanisation usually perform repetitive, dangerous or high-precision jobs.

However, humans are still needed to design, manufacture, program or train the system software, and maintain the robots.

Artificial Intelligence

In the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots and data analytics, new skillsets are required. New courses and training programs are available on these topics.

Upon consultation with AI industry experts, the Secretary noted that the use of AI in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is a win-win for both the industry and Filipino workforce.

While AI is cost-effective for completing multiple tasks faster and with less error, it will also allow the human workforce to increase their competitiveness in performing tasks ranging from simple to complex.

By combining the sizeable Filipino workforce possessing the appropriate skills and talents with AI-powered technologies, the Philippines will be poised to be the AI-driven BPO capital of the world.

In addition, AI also widens the reach of opportunities to the underprivileged. Even high school graduates, market workers, or street vendors can be trained to operate AI-enabled systems.

Technology can make the opportunities more inclusive. Although there are challenges, there are more opportunities to be gained.

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