Exclusive: Blockchain to Save Philippines From AI Onslaught

The Philippines should invest in blockchain development to shield itself from a new wave of brain drain and cope with the impact of AI on jobs.

Blockchain technology will help the Philippine economy preserve jobs that the advent of artificial intelligence (AIs) is expected to eliminate, according to Edwin Bautista, president and CEO of Union Bank of the Philippines.

Bautista told Cryptovest in an exclusive interview:

“Blockchain could play an important role in the Philippine economy. If we play it right, we have the potential to emerge as one of the leaders in blockchain’s future.”

The emergence of AIs will eliminate many jobs, and developing the blockchain skills of Filipinos could offset these job losses, Bautista added on the sidelines of the launch of XLOG, a locally developed blockchain-based logistics solutions platform.

Robots to take over jobs

Eugenio Ynion Jr., founder and CEO of XLOG creator Shiptek, echoed Bautista’s warning about the threat of robots for hundreds of thousands of Filipino jobs.

“Me and my wife just came from China to discuss XLOG with capitalists there, and we were informed by Chinese officials that their country would be needing close to five million IT developers, programmers, etc., over the next five years. China is looking at the Philippines for skills and talents to fill up the various IT-related positions,” Ynion said.

Given the warming relations between China and the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot towards its Asian neighbor, it is very likely that Beijing will look to Manila for its new job requirements.

China has already offered the Philippines some 300,000 jobs, including 100,000 positions for English-speaking teachers.

According to Ynion, the government should invest in blockchain skills development to prepare the country for another wave of “brain drain.”

He went on to say:

“We have seen how brain drain has stunted the growth of our cottage industry. Our cottage industry products used to be exported worldwide. But now you can buy these products that are made by Filipinos working for Chinese companies. Those products are now labeled ‘Made in China.’”

But with a blockchain skill set in place, Filipinos will not need to go overseas to look for work. Instead, companies who want to engage in blockchain development will come to the Philippines to invest. Local investors should also allocate money to blockchain projects, Ynion added.

Blockchain group wants government help with skills training

In a previous interview, members of the newly-established Philippine Association of Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industry (PADCDI) said the organization is seeking closer collaboration with the government to upskill local workers.

PADCDI chairman Mary Rose Magsaysay said she had contacted the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) with a view to having it offer blockchain training courses in one of its several accredited schools. TESDA is tasked with providing alternative training and skills development for employment.

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