QUEZON CITY—Over 55 participants from the private sectors, academe, and representatives from different national government agencies attended the round table discussion for DOST Artificial Intelligence (AI) R&D Program conducted by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) on February 3, 2017.
The discussion, led by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña and PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Carlos Primo David, aimed to identify the potential market for the AI Program and areas for possible collaboration between public and private institutions. According to Secretary Dela Peña, four (4) items on the Ten (10)-Point Economic Agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte are considered areas where the AI Program can contribute significantly, which are: 1) Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business, 2) promote rural and value chain development, 3) invest in human capital development, and 4) promote science and technology, and the creative arts. He emphasized the potential of DOST AI Program to generate economic activity and to bring in economic contribution and benefits.
Engr. Diosdado Banatao, Chairman of Wave Computing and Managing Partner for Tallwood Venture Capital, was also present to share his expertise on the subject, answer questions and pitch AI possibilities to the participants for their respective fields. During the discussion, Engr. Banatao spoke of the inclusion of data science in school curriculums as a necessary action to be done. He pointed out the importance and benefits brought by AI and remarked, “it will affect almost all aspect of our lives, including learning itself.” Representatives from private companies and government agencies present were able to express their concerns toward the program such as the availability of technologies, bandwidth, program data, and memory capacity. Engr. Banatao asked if those industries venturing in AI will be funded and supported by the government. Department of Budget and Management Assistant Secretary Lilia Guillermo responded that ‘funding is not a problem but the utilization of the budget is the challenge.’ Executive Director David mentioned that additional 40M budget was allocated to jumpstart the AI program for 2017 and with good results and positive return of investments, support could increase for the entire program. On October 6, 2016, a consultative meeting was already conducted by PCIEERD with different experts from the academe that specializes in AI as an initial event in the development of the program. There were five priority application areas identified for the AI program: health, education, transportation and infrastructure, environment and agriculture, and Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO). [Read: http://pcieerd.dost.gov.ph/news/232-pcieerd-jumpstarts-ai-program-in-the-country]