Tech expert says BPOs need to prepare for artificial intelligence


Posted at Mar 28 2017 07:46 PM

An American technology and business expert urges Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies to prepare for the disruption that will be brought about by artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently held a talk about how to prepare for the time when intelligent computers take over call center agents' jobs.

But Dr. Ted Ladd, who is on a lecture tour of the Philippines, says the technology for artificial intelligence is already here.

"The question is how fast can people commercialize it and how fast can they put data into artificial intelligence to ensure that they're answering questions well and providing customer service and experience that people expect," Ladd said in an interview on ANC's 'Market Edge.'

Ladd said that the technology for a market as large as the BPO industry is developing at a fast pace, and that there are already firms contemplating on how to pair AI with 'big data' to replace BPOs.

While some experts say AI's impact on BPOs will start to be felt in five years, Ladd says BPOs and entrepreneurs should already be preparing for this. 

He also suggests looking for new opportunities that will be opened up by AI. 

"We don't have to wait for the industry to show cracks before entrepreneurs prepare new solutions," Ladd said.

"Artificial intelligence solutions could even come from Manila," he added. 

Ladd says that AI was not just going to create new products or services but will create new business models which entrepreneurs could take advantage of. 

He suggests using some of the creative talent in the BPO industry to create the algorithms that are necessary for AI. 

The BPO industry is estimated to employ around 1.3 million people in the Philippines and is forecast to bring in around $28 billion to the country this year.