By Hanah Tabios
As the advent of technological advancement threatens the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country, an expert advised the sector to retrain and be digitally conscious to cope with changing employment demands.
“Technology is essential. And I would like inform, from the expert’s point of view, that we pay attention to artificial intelligence and machine learning because this is the future and it’s coming,” Dr. Romel Gomez, a recognized Applied Physics expert, told The Manila Bulletin in an interview.
It was his response to the concern of the country’s BPO industry which fears massive job loss of around 800,000 workers in the next three to five years due to automation.
Gomez is a professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the United States for the past 23 years. He is one of the two awardees of the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) as the New NAST Corresponding Member.
The award is given to scientists, regardless of citizenship and residency, who have made exemplary contributions to science, primarily Philippine science.
He said Filipinos, in general, are smart and resourceful. Hence, by educating, especially the younger generation, it will essential to make the big jump towards a digital environment.
“We should educate ang ating mga kabataan sa computer technology and literacy. We should understand the meaning of information and data. We should know how to talk to computers, hindi yung mga level na Facebook or whatever, but we should know how to create programs and codes,” he added.
Although, he recognizes the threat, he stressed that more opportunities will also open in the country such as potential data curation industries that may invest in the future.
He was also optimistic that Filipinos could also be outsourced to other countries to work for the data analytics industry as an example.
“Pero yung mga tao na nasa affected industry, lalo na kung bata ka pa at andyan ka na sa area na yan, open your eyes. Do not settle for what you know now. You need to evolve. You need to change,” he said.
The awarding ceremony for this year’s NAST PHL awardees, including the Newly Elected NAST Members, Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS), Best in Scientific Poster Award, Outstanding Scientific Papers, Outstanding Books and Monographs, The World Academy Sciences (TWAS) Prize for Young Scientists in the Philippines, NAST Environmental Award, Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologies Award, NAST Talent Search for Young Scientist, and the investiture of the new academicians was held July 10 at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.