Companies should just dive into artificial intelligence or AI but with a business mindset, digital foundation, responsible outlook, and a people-centric approach, said Accenture Philippines Country Managing Director and Technology Lead Ambe Tierro.

“We are undoubtedly seeing a resurgence of AI as interest continues to grow globally for Generative AI or language-based AI and how these game-changing technologies can potentially transform and shape the future of businesses and societies. Our latest research tells us that 98% of the global executives surveyed think that AI will play an important role in their strategies in the next three to five years while 97% agree that AI foundation models will revolutionize how and where AI is used in industries,” Tierro said.

Accenture Philippines Country Managing Director and Technology Lead Ambe Tierro
Accenture Philippines Country Managing Director and Technology Lead Ambe Tierro

Tierro is in Cebu for the CCAP Contact Islands 2023 “Generative AI is Here!” panel on July 28 and met with Cebu media ahead of the talk to discuss AI.

AI will be a net positive gain for the industry, Tierro said. She said job losses are unlikely, instead what’s more likely is that work will be changed and new types of employment will be created.

Tierro said “60 percent of the jobs that exist today did not exist in 1940.” She said jobs have to evolve in order to keep up with advances in technology.

“In our research in Accenture we believe that 40 percent of tasks will be transformed,” Tierro said. This is because of the productivity boost that will come with AI serving as “co-pilot” of employees.

Tierro said AI will change “not just our clients’ businesses but the way we also deliver our services.”

Those in the enterprise should just dive into AI for people “to get to know what it is and develop a working knowledge … understand what it is and what it can do so that we’re quite realistic about the capabilities of the technology, especially for executives,” Tierro said.

She cited as an example their agent assist technology which uses AI to provide a customer service agent taking a call with information that will not only make the agent’s job easier but also enhance it. She said this approach finds the optimal spot for “the human in the loop.”

The impact of the system, Tierro said, “is a richer customer experience and a richer employee experience.”

Tierro stressed, however, for organizations to build a digital foundation for AI by making sure they have data and are in the cloud.

“The foundation of your enterprise has to be digital – we call it digital core. Before a company can take advantage of some of these new technologies, it’s not just AI, they have to have a strong digital core, meaning data, cloud, security,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of an ecosystem, saying that “I don’t think one company can just do this alone. There is always an ecosystem of different ones.”

Tierro also stressed the importance of “leveling up responsible AI.”

“In Accenture we have a responsible AI framework. We believe using AI needs to be transparent – you need to know where your data is coming from, you need to be able to explain and trace who is training the data. And so all of our principles on inclusion and diversity – very aligned. Because the ones training the AI, the prompt engineers, should be diverse,” she told reporters.

With technologies like AI permeating everything in our daily lives, Tierro said it is important to have more computer science subjects and start offering these even in primary schools. She also said society shouldn’t stop students from using AI because it’s just a new tool for education, similar to how calculators were in teaching math.

Tierro also said that even with AI, contact centers will not go away. “As human beings we still want to talk to a person. Now the way that person does their job will change.” She said they are “designing a process flow “with humans in the loop. So it’s human plus machine.”

Accenture is investing $3 billion over three years on data and AI to “help clients across all industries rapidly and responsibly advance and use AI to achieve greater growth, efficiency and resilience.”

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering Cebu City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since...