PASAY CITY—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with the Singapore Industrial Automation Association, co-organized the Industrial Digital Transformation Congress (IDTC) and AI Asia Expo held from November 7-9, 2023 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom Convention Hall. The event focused on the convergence of government, industry, and academic representatives to foster knowledge exchange, strategic dialogues, and networking opportunities surrounding the responsible and ethical incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive economic development. 

Keynote Message of DTI Secretary Fred Pascual 

Highlighting the significance of ethical AI use, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual underscored the potential of AI, stating, “The future we envision is one where AI becomes an integral part of our lives, a tool that uplifts, augments, and brings forth unparalleled opportunities. Together, we can shape a future where the synergy of human ingenuity and AI advancements propels us to new horizons.”  

Secretary Pascual also emphasized the government’s proactive efforts, such as the creation of the DTI’s National AI Strategy Roadmap which is aimed to shape the future of AI in the Philippines. This commitment was echoed by Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), affirming their dedication to supporting emerging technologies for transforming the Philippines into a prosperous digital economy. 

To further solidify the government’s commitment to promote and regulate responsible AI use in the Philippines, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DTI, represented by Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba and the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), represented by its President, Ms. Michelle Alarcon was signed, emphasizing the need for a continued collaboration. 

DTI Undersecretary Aldaba shared the Philippine Industrialization Strategy and urged everyone to join hands in this endeavor to ensure that the challenges of AI can be turned into opportunities for growth. She said, “The implementation of AI is complex and multi-faceted. Requiring, at once, understanding of technology, industry-specific knowledge and ethical considerations, collaboration is the bedrock of successful AI adoption. It brings together diverse perspectives, expertise and resources, ensuring that AI systems are not only robust and effective but also align with broader social and economic goals.” 

The sessions of the IDTC featured experts in Responsible AI, Vibrant AI Ecosystems, and the Role of AI in various industries, which provided a comprehensive exploration of AI integration, considerations, and practical insights into responsible and innovative applications. 

UK Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils stressed AI’s critical governance role, warning against negative outcomes without transparency and ethics. Meanwhile, TÜV SÜD CEO Dr. Andreas Hauser advocated for human-centric AI values. UNIDO’s Teddy Monroy highlighted digitization’s post-pandemic potential for productivity and sustainability. Further, Microsoft’s Dale Pascual Jose urged a cultural shift in AI transformation, aligning practices with evolving technology. And Adobe’s Rajesh Patil discussed generative AI’s creative opportunities, emphasizing its symbiotic relationship with human creativity. 

Participants at the Industrial Digital Transformation Congress

Alongside the IDTC, the AI Asia Expo underscored AI’s role in regional digital transformation and inclusive growth. The main conference delved into key themes such as AI in Healthcare, Manufacturing, Environment and Sustainability, and Generative AI through a series of talks, panel sessions, and symposiums. Complementing this, the AI Asia Expo also featured exhibits by both international and local companies to showcase leading artificial intelligence products, services, and initiatives. 

A symposium was also held, facilitated by the InfoComm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP), which focused on critical themes within the dynamic AI landscape, including cybersecurity, IoT, fintech, robotics, and AI infrastructure. 

Booth Exhibitors at the Marriott Grand Ballroom Convention Hall 

Highlighting the significant role of AI in preparing a future-ready Philippines, Secretary Pascual commended the IDTC and AI Asia Expo 2023 for emphasizing the transformative potential of AI and said, “As we move ahead, it is vital to see AI as more than just technology; it is a strong partner on our path to progress, working with our goals. AI does not replace; it empowers. Through responsible integration, collaboration, and ethical considerations, AI can propel a Philippines where human-centered innovations empowered by AI are at the core of our progress.” ♦

Date of release: 18 November 2023