President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed optimism on Sunday (Monday local time) about the Philippines’ potential as a technological hub, capitalizing on available technological advancements and aided by the country’s young and talented workforce.
In a media interview before departing for Manila, President Marcos was asked by reporters about his discussions with various US tech companies and how they can help the Philippines achieve such goals especially those related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
“We have a very big advantage of that because again, paulit-ulit kong sinasabi but talagang totoo (I keep saying it but it’s really true), it’s our workforce. Dahil bata ‘yung workforce natin, magaling tayo sa tech. Madali para sa atin ang technology at siguro with the talent that we already have in the Philippines, kaunting upskilling na lang (Because our workforce is young, we are good at tech. Technology is easy for us and maybe with the talent that we already have in the Philippines, just a little upskilling) and we will already be at the forefront of this technology,” he said as a response.
“So that’s what we were able to explore and it just— it goes beyond just the application of technologies. It’s also how to open the markets to the different elements of the technology — the tech industry, such as the experts, the engineers, the coders, all of that,” the President pointed out.
He also said that he and his team learned many things about the thinking of American planners in the tech industry and about what part the Philippines can play.
There were also commitments made for continued discussions to put more details, Marcos said, stressing that one of the most exciting things was the opening or centering of the market around the Philippines to make the country a technological hub.
But he said the country has to overcome some hurdles and must create an ecosystem that is very useful for start-ups which, unfortunately, have a very high failure rate.
“Kasi kung technology ang pag-uusapan, kailangan bago lahat, kailangan ma-encourage natin ang mga start-ups. Ang problema sa start-ups (Because if talk about technology, everything is new, we need to encourage start-ups. The problem with start-ups), 95 percent of them fail but that’s the nature of the business,” he said.
“You have to have an ecosystem that can (counter) that failure rate because doon sa 5 percent na nag-succeed, ilan and unicorn d’yan (because out of 5 percent who succeed, how many are unicorns?). They will pull up the rest of the systems so that’s essentially what we spoke about. What are the new systems that we can put into play to make the Philippines a center of the emerging technologies,” he said.
While in the US, he said they were able to meet with some brilliant people who are very forward-thinking and who can aid the Philippines in terms of technology.
“Kaya nating gawin (We can do it), because in terms of technology, hindi ito ‘yung (it’s not) smokestack industry that you have to have very large capital investments in, you have to buy very expensive machines, you have to have big production lines. Iba ito (It’s different),” he said.
Delving on security with regard to AI, he said this new technology must be properly regulated and monitored to prevent it from being exploited by criminals, and from being used as a tool to disseminate fake news, and other undesirable possibilities. (PNA)