AI will result in more — not fewer — jobs, IBM’s top PH exec says

By Edd K. Usman

More executives of IT companies have come out to say that artificial intelligence (AI) is not going to replace humans in work places with robots.

IBM's Pineda: We've created new jobs that we never thought would exist.

IBM Philippines country general manager Luis Pineda

Now it’s Luisito Pineda, president and chairman of IBM Philippines, offering his opinion. He pointed out that AI, in the case of IBM, has even created jobs, which he described the “new color workers, or new color jobs.” Jobs that were created were positions that IBM itself was unable to predict would one day exist, he stressed.

He made these remarks during the ninth summit of the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City on Nov. 7. The summit revolved around “PH DNA: Human Tech” that symbolizes the Philippines outsourcing industry’s battle cry of integrating humans and machines.

In an interview, Pineda said that IBM shared the same concerns that the IT and BPO industries have because they are also in the same space. “IBM has been a big proponent of AI, or what we call human cognitive technologies, humans augmented by cognitive or AI,” the IBM executive said.

Besides helping increase productivity, AI also provides the right insights based on data, he said. AI should not be feared, he added.

“I think the fear is an overreaction because of misunderstanding of what the technology truly is and what it can do to help us humans. First of all, it will not replace humans (in the work place),” he said.

At the summit, LinkedIn executive Atul Harkinsaka, head of talent solutions for the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea, revealed the “most in-demand skills in the Philippines (from No. 1 to 10): sales professional; software developer; customer service specialist; marketing specialist; recruiter; IT support specialist; HR (human resource) professional; IT consultant; and accountant.

Harkinsaka, in his presentation, revealed that employers in the Philippines and abroad “are competing for Filipino talent.”

He added that the 10 most in-demand skills are also the “10 most hired Philippine occupations on LinkedIn.”

Also at the summit, Ambe Tierro of Accenture presented the BPO company’s report showing a bullish AI impact on corporate profitability in 16 industries.

Citing the Accenture Report, she said AI carries with it a potential of increasing the 16 industries’ profitability by an average of 88 percent by 2035. AI’s introduction is seen to drive “an economic boost of $14 trillion in additional gross value added across 16 industries in 12 economies.”

Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer, Paul Daugherty, summed it up. “Artificial intelligence will revolutionize how businesses compete and grow, representing an entirely new factor of production that can ignite corporate profitability,” he said.

Daugherty suggested ways to realize AI’s potentials to move the economic needle. The Accenture executive said “it’s critical that businesses act now to develop strategies around AI that put people at the center, and commit to develop responsible systems that are aligned to moral and ethical values that will drive positive outcomes and empower people to do what they do best — imagine, create, and innovate.”

He mentioned eight strategies that companies in whatever industry they are in can consider leading to a successful AI integration. These are: AI strategy and leadership; reinvent HR to HAIR (Human AI Resources); learn with machines; appoint a chief data supply chain officer; create and open an AI culture; take the crowd into the cloud; step beyond automation; and measure your return on algorithms.

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