Redefining AI landscape in the Philippines: Insights from AI Summit PH 2023

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AI Summit 2023 held on May 10-11 at Marriott Grand Ballroom, Pasay, Philippines

True to its thrust of advancing AI development in the Philippines, Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI) hosted this year the AI Summit 2023. The event brought together the nation’s prominent AI leaders and practitioners in a 2-day collaboration and discussion about AI solutions for the 21st-century challenges.

In partnership with Union Bank of the Philippines, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, and Google Cloud, Aboitiz Data Innovation has successfully hosted the first AI Summit in the Philippines at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, Pasay from May 10-11. It became one of the significant milestones in the country’s technological landscape – being the first AI Summit in the Philippines attended by more than 1,500 delegates.


David Hardoon, Chief Data & AI Officer at Union Bank, delivering his opening remarks at AI Summit 2023

AI for Financial Security and Inclusivity

ADI, leading the Aboitiz Group’s “Great Transformation,” strives to become the country’s first Techglomerate using Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) to transform data into business and sustainability products to provide better services to its customers and stakeholders. 

The AI Summit 2023: Redefining the Future with AI accentuated the group’s commitment to promoting AI development in the country. The conference featured real-world use cases of data being turned into actionable insights and tackled challenges, opportunities, and advancements of AI for every industry and sector. 

From left: Maya Philippines President Angelo Madrid, UnionBank of the Philippines President & CEO Edwin R. Bautista, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy, and UnionDigital Bank President & CEO Henry Aguda after the Secretary Address during Day 2 of AI Summit 2023

AI has been making it easier for users, businesses, and communities to get things done and live better lives. It opened a lot of opportunities including financial inclusivity and security – as AI serves as a bridge to reach out to less engaged communities through technological advancements such as mobile phones and other user-friendly gadgets. 


Richard Coombes, Regional Customer Solutions Manager at Google Cloud – Southeast Asia

The experts consider AI as one of the key technologies to mitigate risk and fraud, make faster and efficient decisions, and enhance customer interactions. 

Christopher Go, Head of Fraud at the Union Bank of the Philippines, shared insights into their ongoing development of an AI model to detect scams. “The idea is to identify the scammers before this happens. This fraud control supplement sharpens our strategy because it significantly reduces false-positive ratio as my focus is the consumer. [This is how we] protect the consumer, but still maintain an excellent experience in banking with us.” 

Upskilling for an AI-Driven Future

The conference also addressed how AI technology can stimulate gender equality in banking by generating fair data analysis that affects decisions. 

In developing smart cities, the summit focused on improving least developed communities with AI as the tool for designing landscapes, generative floor plans, and maintaining green spaces. 

AI also contributes largely to the country’s sustainability efforts. The plenary panel discussed the role of AI in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

“AI as a tool may enable 70% of the SDG targets,” cited by Lei Montilla, Co-Founder and Social Innovation Lead of AI4GOV. “But there’s also an updated study about looking at it at a different angle. They also used AI to analyze how AI is now being applied. 50% of the AI applications can be found within the SDG 9.” 

From left: Union Bank of the Philippines Chief Customer Experience Officer and Chief Digital Channel Officer Ana Maria Aboitiz-Delgado, Union Bank of the Philippines President & CEO  Edwin R. Bautista, KPMG Philippines Technology Consulting Head and Partner Jallain Manrique, Philippine Seven Corporation President & CEO Jose Victor Paterno, Insular Health Care, Inc. President & CEO Noemi Azura, and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Chief Transformation Officer Emilie Sydney-Smith during Day 1 C-Suite Roundtable: Enabling a Transformative Culture and Driving Towards A Data-Driven Company

Application of AI was also talked through in the event, emphasizing on AI awareness, education, and upskilling people to achieve digital inclusion and transform into an AI-driven company. 

During the 2-day forum, ADI signed Memorandum of Understanding with Connected Women, Union Bank of the Philippines, UBX, LBC Express, Inc., and Mila – Quebec AI Institute to boost provision of advanced services using AI technology, build more responsible AI solutions, and promote financial sustainability for the benefit the society.

From left: Aboitiz Data Innovation COO Guy Sheppard, Chief Financial Officer of LBC Express, Inc Enrique Rey Jr, and UnionBank Executive Vice President Roberto Abastillas.

Partner sponsor booths at the Grand Ballroom Hall showcased AI advancements such as Cruzr, a service humanoid robot designed to enhance relations with customers and between company employees and entertained the attendees with its impressive AI capabilities. 

Humanoid robot, Cruzr, exhibited at the Marriott Grand Ballroom Hall

The program was facilitated by Issa Litton, who was assisted by ADI – the Aboitiz AI assistant event co-host, all throughout the event. 

David Hardoon, Chief Data & AI Officer of UnionBank, concluded the summit by urging attendees to upskill themselves and their staff to harness the power of AI technology. “[AI technology] is not going to take away jobs. If anything, it’s about the creation of new opportunities and possibilities. Remember to upskill yourselves, the people around you, and your staff.” he stated. 

Aboitiz Data Innovation’s primary goal is to provide companies across diverse sectors transformative AI consulting and data driven Internet of Things (IoT), and sustainability solutions to make a positive impact using innovation, sustainability, and excellence. 

(The article was originally published by MB TECHNEWS on June 1, 2023 on Manila Bulletin.)