DOST Includes Artificial Intelligence On Research Agenda

November 4, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is planning to include artificial intelligence (AI) on its research and development (R&D) agenda for 2017-2022.

“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,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the recent National Research and Development Conference.

De la Peña noted that in the 80s, AI had been prominently described as the next wave of technological development in the global technological space.

But the government then had to focus more on other priority areas of development, he said.

AI 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, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development deputy executive director Raul Sabularse said some applications are no longer labeled as AI.

As he confirmed the plan initiatives on AI, he said the DOST is now talking with other R&D institutions to develop a program on AI consisting on various project components.

He noted 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.

“We are in the process of consulting experts and stakeholders to form a development program on artificial intelligence,” Sabularse said.

“This is something not totally new but it is a promising field for our researchers with applications in the industry,” he added.

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

Meanwhile, De la Peña said the national R&D conference is a prologue to the crafting of a Harmonized National R&D Agenda for science and technology (S&T), which intends to unify all R&D projects and initiatives in line with the Philippine Development Plan called “Ambisyon Natin 2040” that enunciates the 25-year vision for the country.

He noted 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. – MBL

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