Saturday, May 25, 2024

Businesses must trust AI to use it, says IBM Philippines chief

Trust is the foundation of artificial intelligence (AI) and without it, business cannot fully maximize the technology’s advantages and realize its immense potential.

This is according to Aileen Judan-Jiao, country general manager of IBM Philippines, during the Tech Innovation Forum 2023 where it launched the company’s AI and data platform called “Watsonx” at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taguig City on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

“We must trust AI; if you can’t trust AI, you can’t use it. AI will augment human capability, not replace it,” she said during the press briefing prior to the conference.

“Organizations must place trust at the core of their AI strategy to be better positioned for compliance with impending regulations of AI and data use. Taking ethical shortcuts in AI will not only lead to increased costs due to redesigning or recreating models, but also prevents a future where many people can benefit from this transformational technology.”

Judan-Jiao said that businesses are still quite fearful about AI, they also fail to realize that they run a risk of falling behind their AI-augmented competitors.

“They would need to put AI to work at the strategic core of their business to meet tomorrow’s elevated customer expectations. At the same time, it is critical for organizations to use AI that is explainable, fair, robust, transparent, and prioritize and safeguard consumers’ privacy and data rights to engender trust,” she added.

According to the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV)’s global CEO study, an impressive 75% of global CEOs surveyed believe that enterprises equipped with the most advanced generative AI will gain significant competitive advantage.

A significant number of CEOs (43%) have already implemented generative AI to inform strategic decisions, while 36% use it for operational decisions and 50% are incorporating it into their products and services.

Meanwhile, 50% of Asean CEOs including businesses in Philippines surveyed pinpoint technology modernization as a top priority for their organization; enhancing productivity (48%) and customer experience (48%) follow tied as their second highest priority among their top challenges.

IBM said businesses need AI that provide accurate results they can trust, can be built and scaled quickly across clouds, and can easily be adapted to new scenarios and use cases.

The Watsonx platform, it said, can provide the tools, technology, infrastructure and consulting expertise at scale in one place.

The tech giant said models in Watsonx ensure accuracy and prevent the generation of false information. In addition, the platform’s security and automation features allow data scientists and developers to utilize governed enterprise data for training foundation models while addressing compliance and security across the data ecosystem.

The platform is comprised of the following:

  • Watsonx.ai studio for new foundation models, generative AI, and machine learning;
  • Watsonx.data data store, built on an open lakehouse architecture, and
  • Watsonx.governance toolkit to help enable AI workflows to be built with responsibility, transparency and explainability. 

In developing the platform, IBM said it was guided by five fundamental properties to ensure trust: explainability, fairness, robustness, transparency, and privacy.

“No organization wants to be in the news for the wrong reasons regarding issues of unfair, unexplainable, or biased AI. Organizations need to protect individuals’ privacy and drive trust,” the US tech firm said.

“Incorrect or biased actions based on faulty data or assumptions can result in lawsuits and customer, stakeholder, stockholder and employee mistrust. Ultimately, this can lead to damaging to the organization’s reputation and lost sales and revenues,” the company added.

During the event, IBM also presented local partrner startups which are now tapping the power of AI in the local setting.

One of the startups is Komunidad, a Filipino-funded startup supporting organizations and communities, which is working towards building resilience to manage climate changes by leveraging IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite to strengthen its tech solutions and provide timely and actionable insights to proactively manage the potential impacts of severe weather and climate change events on revenue, operations, and business critical processes.

The Philippines suffered P506.1 billion in economic losses and damage over the past decade due to climate-related hazards, according to the Department of Finance.

Felix Ayque, Komunidad founder and CEO, said, “The World Bank forecasts economic damage to reach up to 7.6% of the GDP by 2030 and 13.6% by 2040 if no action is taken to address climate change in the Philippines. This underscored our collaboration with IBM and leveraging the game-changing power of AI to help our customers make better business decisions and implement effective business continuity planning (BCP) strategies that minimize risks of environmental changes.”

According to IBM, the rise of generative AI has also surfaced concerns about how the technology will augment the workforce as the global skills gap continuing to rise.

According to the global CEO’s guide to generative AI study, 77% of entry-level workers will see their jobs shift by 2025 — and so will more than a quarter of executives.

The study, however, suggested that generative AI is about people and skills, not just technology, and competitive advantage comes from scaling employee expertise and transforming how work is done. As a result, organizations have to make human talent central to their generative AI strategy.

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