By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday called for an inquiry into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) that poses a major threat to workers in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) industries.
“AI is developing faster than most people can comprehend and is threatening to take away jobs and turn employment growth upside down,” Marcos, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said in a news release.
AI, she said, poses a grave danger to the BPO industry and factory workers who helped the country’s economy at the height of the onslaught of the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In 2020 to 2021 or when the world was critically battling the effects of the pandemic, the BPO industry grew by 10 percent to US$29.5 billion.
“Will call center agents and factory workers soon be treated as dispensable after propping up our economy during a global health crisis?” she said.
Marcos, in her Senate Resolution No. 591, cited the study conducted by Oxford Economics and US-based digital technology company Cisco, that at least 1.1 million jobs in the Philippines will disappear in 2028.
Some 50 percent of worldwide organizations are seen adopting AI and automated machines this year, and investments in such technology are projected to increase in the next three years by 50 percent to 100 percent.
Amid these projections, Marcos said “upskilling and training of workers in special services that AI cannot easily replace must be asserted in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of every company.”
She also stressed the urgency of educating lawmakers about global developments in AI technology through Senate inquiry, and the need for both the legislative and executive branches of government to deal squarely with “an inevitable technological tsunami.”
Marcos added that Congress must formulate regulatory measures against severe unemployment and make the necessary amendments to the Intellectual Property Code, Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime Prevention Act. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)