Smart Cities

From Hindsight to Insight to Foresight: AI as a Functional Enabler

Alvin Ng, Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI)’s Chief Operating Officer for Smart Cities, shared invaluable insights at the recent Plug and Play APAC Summit 2023 in Singapore.

Alvin Ng, Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI)’s Chief Operating Officer for Smart Cities, shared invaluable insights at the recent Plug and Play APAC Summit 2023 in Singapore. His keynote speech centered on "Advancing Businesses, Governments, and Communities with AI and Data-Driven Innovation," highlighting two fundamental pillars pivotal to progress—reshaping decision-making processes and paradigm shift in perceiving AI.

Alvin Ng_Plug and Play Summit 2023In photo: Alvin Ng, Chief Operating Officer for Smart Cities, Aboitiz Data Innovation at the Plug and Play APAC Summit in Singapore.

Evolution of Hindsight to Dynamic Insights

The first pivotal aspect underscored AI's pivotal role in reshaping decision-making processes, pivoting away from traditional reliance on hindsight data to embracing dynamic insights. This shift marks a monumental transition, empowering businesses and governments to leverage contemporary signals for strategic foresight, particularly in unprecedented scenarios like the global COVID crisis.

Consider the scenario at Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), where the challenge lies in engaging prospective customers devoid of established credit scores. By leveraging alternative data like geolocation and rent history, UnionBank tapped into AI to offer loans to a wider demographic who may have not qualified under traditional scoring methods. This case study illustrates AI's transformative power in customer outreach and championing financial sustainability.

In the sphere of cement production, AI was able to optimize Republic Cement’s manufacturing process - leading to better-managed resources, increased efficiency of raw materials usage, and most importantly, effectively reducing carbon emissions in the cement manufacturing process by approximately 35,000 tCO2e annually, all while ensuring consistent product quality.

Reframe AI as a Function, Not an Industry

The second pivotal emphasis from Alvin’s discourse prompts a paradigm shift in perceiving AI: transitioning from viewing it solely as an industry to recognizing it as a functional tool. This shift in perspective unveils AI's profound applications beyond a singular industry's confines, redefining its role as an instrumental functional catalyst for multifaceted advancements.

Generative AI (GenAI)'s functionality within government realms exhibits its impact. The collaboration between Singapore and Microsoft leverages GenAI and cloud innovation in healthcare, while initiatives like Stanford researchers employ machine learning to analyze the causes of long-term changes in extreme weather events. Singapore's comprehensive utilization of AI within the framework of smart nation planning fosters the creation of sustainable, intelligent urban ecosystems.

Moreover, ADI's engagement with local government units in the Philippines underscores GenAI's potential to revolutionize and elevate government processes and citizen engagement. GenAI adoption transcends mere optimization; it becomes a pivotal tool for enhancing productivity and services, citizen interaction optimization, and the creation of comprehensive data repositories. Behavioral science amplifies this impact, uncovering invaluable insights into citizen sentiments.

ADI’s mission extends beyond organizational growth; it aspires to harness AI's transformative potential to propel progress and sustainability across Southeast Asia and beyond. True to the Aboitiz Group’s promise of advancing businesses and communities, ADI is making AI work across verticals not merely as a technological innovation but as a catalyst in driving societal progress.

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