#AI4SMEs: Challenging Our Business Sense Through Disruptive Technological Trends

#AI4SMEs: Artificial Intelligence for SMEs

“Data is the new oil.”

These were the words commonly seen in the power point presentations and repeatedly heard from almost all the speakers in their oral discussions during the seminar #AI4SMEs held last 7 December 2019 at UP ISSI. The above statement can altogether recapitulate all the insights and ideas presented by the speakers, giving the relevance and essence of their talks.

The program opened with the welcome address of UP ISSI Director Dr. Aleli B. Bawagan, who spearheaded the holding of the one-day event. She mentioned the reasons why such an event is being conducted as she stressed on the importance of artificial intelligence for SMEs.

#AI4SMEs speakers, participants, and staff

The seminar proper started with the talk of Dr. Alvin Culaba, Professor of Gokongwei College of Engineering, De La Salle University, as he gave a bird’s eye view on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and SMEs, backed up with significant figures and statistics. In his discussion, he dealt on the disruptive technological trends in the world and in the Philippines and their impact on organizations and societies. He emphasized on the idea of deep learning over machine learning and also elaborated on the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is considerably the core of all the topics that were discussed that day.

On the other hand, Dr. Prospero C. Naval, Founder and CEO of Fish-I Analytics and Professor of UP Diliman College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science, discussed on AI Technology and Applications wherein he expounded on the specific applications of various AI technologies in business particularly the Fish-I which uses AI for marine biodiversity assessment. Believing that AI is forever, he expressed his optimism on the impact it can make to people without becoming a slave of it. He pointed out also that AI may be coming slow in the country unlike in the other nearby nations but definitely it’s on its way there.

Each of the said morning sessions was capped by an open forum in which the participants’ queries were answered readily and gamely by the two speakers.

After lunch time came the afternoon session which focused on the fourth generation SMEs and its early adopters. Three competent discussants and experts in their own field namely: Mr. Genesis Alegata, CEO and Head of Sales and Business Development of Senti AI; Dr. Nestor Tiglao, Founder and CEO of Adapsense; and Christine Marie V. Casal, Project Leader of Project SARAI gave comprehensive and in depth discussions on the following topics respectively: Getting Rid of Redundancies: Digitization of Business Processes; Being an Agent of Change: Providing Technology Solutions to Filipino Entrepreneurs; and Project SARAI: Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture.

Mr. Alegata in his talk differentiated the terms digitization and digitalization. He said that AI actually makes digitization intelligent while Dr. Tiglao reminded the participants to continue to educate themselves as they strive to be more intelligent than the machines. He aptly ended his talk by these statements, “Get out of your comfort zone. Be creative. Be inventive.”

On the other hand, Dr. Casal gave a lengthy but very interesting presentation of the applications that they created particularly the WAISS, EAMS, and SPIDTECH. All of which offer practical solutions to existing problems in agriculture. Each discussion by all the speakers fittingly ended with Q & A wherein the audience were given the opportunity to shed light on matters at hand that needed clarification.

UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Research and Development, Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo capped the program by his closing remarks with a suggestion that future or follow up activities should not only have experts but also end users or people on the ground to talk about their businesses and the problems they encounter in the field of entrepreneurship.

Truly it can be told again that data is the new oil. For all the participants of the seminar, it could be a thing ideal but not actually impossible. Perhaps they can only sigh and say this familiar expression from the millennials- Sana all. And to make it more millennial- Sana oil.


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