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News » PH senator fears AI takeover in BPO industry

PH senator fears AI takeover in BPO industry

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Business process outsourcing (BPO) employees should be protected from the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over jobs in the industry, Senator Risa Hontiveros tells the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

“Is the BPO industry in trouble too? Does Sec. Pascual, being at the helm of the DTI, have a plan for when more companies invest in AI instead of workers? Malaki ang magiging epekto nito sa ating BPO industry, sa ating ekonomiya, kaya dapat ngayon pa lang handa na ang ahensya sa posibilidad na ito [This will have a great impact on the BPO industry, the economy. The DTI should prepare for the possibilities],” Hontiveros said, noting a recent study from research firm Gartner. 

Hontiveros explained that according to Gartner, call centers could save up to US$80 billion if humans are replaced by AI by 2026. The global tech giants are experiencing an upheaval, in part because of the surprising acceleration and commercial attractiveness of AI deployments.

“If this industry gets into trouble, then dollars become scarce, they become more expensive, and the peso devalues. A pathway to entry into the middle class will also disappear,” Hontiveros said.

The Philippine BPO industry is one of the major drivers to the Philippine economy, earning around US$30 billion yearly. The senator stressed that BPO earnings are one of the three legs of the economy, alongside tourism and OFW incomes, on which the sustainability of the country’s import intensive growth stands.

“The IT-BPO industry seems to know what it needs to survive and thrive in the time of Chat GPT and, at the conceptual level at least, I think Secretary Pascual does too,” Hontiveros said. 

Hontiveros suggests that the DTI put in place trainings and education that will enable Filipinos to work “alongside” intelligent machines.

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