IF elected in the 2019 midterm elections, broadcast journalist and senatorial candidate Jiggy Manicad has said that he will push for a bill aiming to develop the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry by enhancing workers’ skills and promoting services using artificial intelligence (AI).
“If we want our BPO industry to remain competitive, we have to level up by providing more AI solutions such as in facial and voice recognition, user communication and data processing,” Manicad, who is running independently for the Senate, urged.
“In the next three, five years, some call center workers will become jobless. Experts say that companies are expected to move their offshore services back home because they have no need for real people accomplishing tasks that can already be done by AI. The logical next step is to train our workers to be the people behind the AI,” the veteran journalist explained.
A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates that AI would contribute $15.7 trillion annually to the global economy by 2030, eclipsing the combined output of China and India.
“We can’t afford to be left behind. There are hundreds of thousands of BPO workers all over the country who will be affected because of new technologies. Our population growth is also not slowing down, so we have to push for new fields that can continue to provide good employment,” the candidate said.
According to Manicad, since the Philippines is already a key global player in the BPO market, it is high time that the country invests in training, skills building, and research to upgrade the capabilities of Filipinos to innovate in the field.
“We need a bill that will institutionalize the steps to be taken to further develop the BPO industry. Ang kailangan natin dito ay budget para sa research at development, training and skills building, at pag-upgrade ng resources para sa mga schools at institutions natin dito,” Manicad said, adding:
“Most of all, we have to partner with global companies and local players already working with AI so that the skills and capacities we’re investing in are demand-driven.”
Developing the AI industry would also be a boost not only for the BPO sector but also for other businesses, products and services that could potentially utilize the same technology in the Philippines.
“We look at China and India, at nakikita natin na napag-iwanan tayo in terms of the high-tech industries na meron tayo. Ang AI ay hindi lang para mas maraming trabaho at opportunities, pero ‘pag may ganitong capabilities na tayo, pwedeng-pwede natin gamitin ito sa government services, social services, at iba pa,” Manicad said.