Microsoft, DTI, Makati Business Club join forces for AI Pilipinas Coalition

AI Pilipinas Coalition Microsoft DTI Philippines
AI Pilipinas Coalition Microsoft DTI Philippines

Together with Microsoft, the Makati Business Club (MBC), Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP), Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Women’s Business Council Philippines, and the US-ASEAN Business Council Inc., in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), announced the formation of the AI Pilipinas Coalition recently. Bringing together key organizations and leaders in government and the private sector, the Coalition endeavors to empower people and organizations through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Across public and private sectors, industries and communities, AI will play a key role in helping the Philippines respond to, and recover from COVID-19, build resiliency, and increase its competitiveness on the global stage in the years to come. The AI Pilipinas Coalition was formed to address the need for its responsible adoption in the country. It jumpstarts on both local and national levels, to explore AI capabilities that can spark positive transformation and digital acceleration for Filipinos, founded on a clear roadmap and framework of execution in the form of its AI Action Agenda.

Designed and co-authored by the entire Coalition, the AI Action Agenda will help frame its national effort through six key pillar actions:

  • Establish a clear mandate from the highest level of government for Philippines’ AI vision
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities with government
  • Build trust in AI by encouraging implementation of responsible AI
  • Support data-driven innovation that is central to AI
  • Provide legal and regulatory clarity to encourage responsible use of AI
  • Prepare the workforce for the AI economy

During the launch, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized the critical role technology will play in the nation’s economic recovery, adding that AI in particular is poised to make a significant contribution to enabling Filipino individuals and enterprises for the future.

“A number of startups in the country are offering AI solutions to consumers and businesses. And they are accelerating the integration of AI technologies and tools in day-to-day transactions, making them more accessible to the public,” Sec. Lopez said.

He added, “But even as there is an increase in use of AI and other Industry 4.0 technologies, our industries have yet to harness the benefits of such technologies and overcome key challenges to their adoption.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) intends to continue supporting our industries in addressing these barriers, like the lack of financial and technical capacity and our poor infrastructure. ”

Recent years have seen AI move increasingly into mainstream products thanks to a confluence of factors: the massive computing power of the cloud, the availability of enormous datasets that can be used to teach AI systems, breakthroughs in developing AI algorithms and improvements in AI methods such as deep learning. With far-reaching impacts permeating all areas of society and economy, a study by McKinsey estimates that globally, AI techniques will have the potential to create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in value annually.

Microsoft’s AI tools and technologies are used in workplaces, classrooms, home offices, research labs and manufacturing facilities around the world, empowering everyone from students to factory workers. Powered by its Azure cloud, people and institutions around the world can do things like better understand their customers, share information more quickly and enable scientific breakthroughs.

“AI is a defining technology of our time. We are working to make it accessible to every individual and organization in the country, infusing AI into what we do, in order to amplify ingenuity with intelligent technology,” said Microsoft Philippines country general manager Andres Ortola. “These tools and breakthroughs must be inclusive, available to everyone, and as AI systems become more mainstream, we believe that we all have a shared responsibility to create trusted AI systems—to work together to reach consensus about what principles and values should govern AI development and use.”

Carlo Subido, president of ITAP, embraces and advocates advances in AI. “This coalition sets the path to promoting responsible AI,” said Subido. “Today is a good start but there is still a lot of work to be done. We, in the private sector – the businesses, the academe, our citizens, together with the government – need to frame our national effort to build a strong foundation for AI. We support data driven innovation that is central to AI. We have a lot of talents here in the Philippines so there is no reason we cannot play globally in AI.”

For his part, Coco Alcuaz, Makati Business Club executive director said, “The business sector and business orgs need to be responsive to technological and economic change. We have to embrace AI and its potential applications. This Coalition, which welcomes other businesses and organizations, represents the business sector’s commitment to promote national and economic development through responsible AI.”

Trust is the foundation of Microsoft’s work in AI from its principled approach anchored on human-centered design, fairness, inclusiveness, reliability & safety, transparency, privacy & security, and accountability, to the shared responsibility it creates with customers and partners by providing practical guidance, best practices and tools to enable the responsible creation of AI.