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Center for AI Research expected to be self-sustaining in 3 years

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it expects the newly launched Center for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research to become self-sustaining in three years.

Competitiveness and Innovation Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba told reporters on Wednesday that the business model of the center will allow it to generate revenue.

“Its business model allows it to pursue income-generating projects. Based on our calculations, after three years, it will be net positive or income-generating,” Ms. Aldaba said.

Initially, the center will be subsidized by the government and given P70 million for the first two years of its operations.

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said commissioned research will be one of the center’s revenue streams.

“For the remaining part of the year, we intend to do four research projects in the center: two from the government and two from the industry sector or specific companies,” he said.

“In the coming years, the AI research center will engage in applied research and development collaboration with industries, encourage high-quality research, and cultivate AI talent,” he added.

According to Mr. Pascual, the DTI is working with Amazon Web Services to explore AI, machine learning, and generative AI solutions for government and citizen services, including healthcare and agriculture, this year.

“Moving forward, we will explore other industry applications, such as automotive, semiconductor, and renewable energy,” he said.

“This will be supported by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Promoting Research and Innovation to Strengthen Transformation of Industries and Enterprises (PRISTINE) project,” he added.

The center will first operate in DTI offices and eventually move to the National Innovation Gateway that will rise in Manila, funded by the ADB through a P400-million loan under PRISTINE.

Asked when the project is expected to go through the National Economic and Development Authority’s approval process, Ms. Aldaba said that no schedule has been determined as yet.

“But it has to go through that, and we need to get their approval,” she added.

Separately, the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the launch of the center and the upgraded National AI Roadmap. 

“We welcome and congratulate DTI on this significant milestone for the country’s national development in the field of AI, innovation, and research,” GPCCI President Marie Antoniette Mariano said.

“The launch of these projects aligns with the expectations of the German-Philippine business community in AI research, as reflected in our White Paper on Industry 4.0,” she added.

In its white paper, the GPCCI said the Center for AI Research will help the country position itself as a leader in AI technology. — Justine Irish D. Tabile