Will AI replace humans in the workplace?

Published October 19, 2021, 10:25 AM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Department of Science and Technology

Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) have made significant contributions in improving the quality of life and help deliver services to the people more effectively and efficiently.

However, concerns have been raised whether AI would take job and livelihood opportunities from many people, and eventually replace humans in the workforce.

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit said AI and its applications have been used by the government and industries in recent years to further improve its products and services to the people.

According to Paringit, who is the executive director of the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), this is proof that AI’s main intentions is not to take away the job opportunities from many Filipinos but rather help them to be more efficient and productive.

“Ganyan din ang sinabi noong araw na ang computer ang papalit sa tao, hindi naman siya nangyari di ba? (We said it that before, that computers will replace humans, but it did not happen, right?),” Paringit said.

“Wala namang napalitan, napaganda lang kalidad ng produkto o serbisyong nagagawa natin (It only improved the quality of our products and services),” he added.

The DOST-PCIEERD official made the statement during the Centrong AgTek episode last Oct. 15. The program is co-produced by the DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute and Centro Escolar University (CEU).

Paringit emphasized that AI is a tool or technology that would serve as a guide in making better decisions due to the data that humans provided in its system.

“Ang importante ay mapasok natin kung ano gusto natin, higit sa lahat kung ano nasa isip natin (It is only important that we encoded those data that we want, and we need and what is on our mind),” he explained.

“Kasi kung hindi natin ipapasok mga datos na ito sa Artificial Intelligence, hindi natin malalaman ito at magkakaroon siya ng bias. Ito ang kailangan natin maiwsan (Because if we are unable to input those data in the system of Artificial Intelligence there will be biases that we want to avoid),” he added.

AI in the Philippines

Paringit noted that it is not a question anymore if the Philippines needs AI to improve the lives of its people, adding that “we are not be able to feel or notice sometimes, but the benefits of AI make our lives more efficient and convenient.”

“Sa pagbili natin ng mga item sa online shopping sites, artificial intelligence nagpapaandar sa kanya (If we go to different online shopping sites, artificial intelligence exists on their platform),” he said.

“Bakit alam niya na ganyang uri ng makeup, shampoo, at gadgets ang gusto natin, gumagamit siya ng artificial intelligence sapagkat tayong mga tao ay nagpasok ng datos, nagsearch tayo, hinanap natin keyword, kaya pagbalik ng mga applications nito, alam na niya kung ano gusto natin (The reason these online shopping sites know what products we prefer because we shared with them some information by searching and typing keywords in their app or platform),” he continued.

Paringit urged the public that we should first recognize the benefits of AI especially if we integrate it into our system and infrastructure.

Using AI, people can save time and come up with better decisions in life, armed with the bulk of data, the DOST official said.

With the help of AI, government offices can deliver an effective and efficient way of providing services to their clients, while industries could offer world-class quality products and be globally competitive as their processes become more efficient.

He also said that the country’s education system could improve and help students adapt to the changes of the times through AI.

AI-related research projects

During the interview, Paringit shared some of the AI-related research projects developed by different universities that are supported by the DOST-PCIEERD.

These are AI for autonomous vehicles, AI for efficient processing of big data, tremor sensors to monitor the structural health of infrastructures, a chatbot that monitors the health of students, towed camera system for marine litter monitoring, automated software for faster spectroscopy analysis, and an intelligent system for traffic control and management.

“We are very optimistic with how our AI applications would make our lives much better through the focus of these nine research projects. It covers all sectors where many of us have been relying upon,” said Paringit.

“I would like everyone to get inspiration from AI,” he said. “Do not only feel it but also learn to embrace it because when you embrace it, you would not only know how to use it as an application but also learn how to develop solutions and systems from it.”