The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said during the National Research and Development Conference that the science department plans to include artificial intelligence (AI) on its research and development agenda starting 2017-2022.

The National R&D Conference is a prologue to the crafting of a Harmonized National R&D Agenda (HNRDA) for science and technology, which intends to unify all R&D projects and initiatives in line with the Philippine Development Plan called “Ambisyon Natin 2040.”

“Now we would like to pursue new areas, not necessarily new in the global sense but as far as local research and development is concern and that is in the field of artificial intelligence and space technology,” says De la Peña.
He added that in the 80s, he wrote a scientific article on the future of technology where AI had been prominently described as the next wave of technological development in the global technological space.
However, the former UP professor said that the government then had to focus more on other priority areas of development.

Moreover, the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and DevelopmentDeputy Executive Director Raul C. Sabularse confirmed the plan initiatives on AI by DOST.
Engr. Sabularse shared that DOST is in talks with other R&D institutions to develop a program on AI consisting on various project components.

“We are in the process of consulting experts and stakeholders to form a development program on artificial intelligence. This is something not totally new but it is a promising field for our researchers with applicationsin the industry,” explained Sabularse.

He added that Filipino tech giant Dado Banatao is also involved in the talks but told that details are underway and may be included in the national R&D agenda for 2017. 

Artificial intelligence is intelligence exhibited by machines that has the capability to perceive its environment and takes the necessary actions to a given situation and carrying out a positive outcome. It is simply understood as machines capable of mimicking human cognitive functions in doing simple to complex tasks.

The AI technology has a wide range of use including medical diagnosis, stock trading, robot control, law, remote sensing, scientific discovery and toy making. Currently, some applications are no longer labeled as AI.

Sabularse said that DOST initially plans to use AI for the manufacturing industries to optimize mass production of goods in the country.

De la Peña added that the harmonized R&D agenda will pick research initiatives that are in line with the DOST’s 11 research agenda namely R&D for pressing problems, productivity, tap and manage resource potentials, application of new technologies across sectors, climate change and disaster risk reduction, utilization of R&D through technology transfer and commercialization, assistance to production sector, upgrading and improvement of S&T services, human resource development for S&T, capability building and involvement of regional R&D institutions, and industry and academe collaborations.

The DOST, through  Executive Order 128 of 1987, is the sole government office mandated to direct all scientific R&D activities with potential benefits to the socioeconomic development of its people.

It is also mandated through Sec. 19, article 9 of RA 10055 that “DOST shall call for regular national conference of Government Funding Agencies and Research and Development Institutes in order to: promote multi-disciplinary, joint, and cross collaboration in R&D; coordinate and rationalize the R&D agenda; and harmonize all R&D agenda and priorities. “

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