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Imee Marcos seeks inquiry into AI's impact on call center, factory jobs

Senator Imee Marcos filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the possible effects artificial intelligence (AI) would have on business process outsourcing (BPO) and original equipment manufacturing (OEM) jobs.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare, and Rural Development, sought the inquiry as she was concerned over the possible loss of jobs in the BPO and OEM industries, which had shown significant potential in job creation despite the pandemic.

"AI is developing faster than most people can comprehend and is threatening to take away jobs and turn employment growth upside down," the senator warned in a Sunday statement.

"Will call center agents and factory workers soon be treated as dispensable after propping up our economy during a global health crisis?" she asked, adding the BPO industry grew by 10% to $29.5 billion at the height of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 to 2021, .

In her Senate Resolution No. 591, Marcos said that an Oxford Economics and US-based digital technology company Cisco study predicted that at least 1.1 million jobs in the Philippines would disappear by 2028.

Furthermore, global consulting and advisory group Deloitte predicted that some 50% of organizations worldwide would adopt AI and automated machines this year.

Professional services network KMPG, meanwhile, saw investments in such technologies increasing in the next three years by 50% to 100%.

Given these scenarios, Marcos said lawmakers needed to be educated about global developments in AI technology through a Senate inquiry.

There was also a need for the legislative and executive branches of government to deal squarely with the "inevitable technological tsunami."

Marcos believed both houses of Congress needed to take action and formulate regulatory measures against severe unemployment and to make the necessary amendments to the Intellectual Property Code, Revised Penal Code, and Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Besides legal safeguards that government agencies can implement, Marcos also asserted that the future of CSR (corporate social responsibility) should include the "upskilling and training of workers in special services that AI cannot easily replace." — DVM, GMA Integrated News