Technology is now a part of our lifestyle. It makes everything easy—from booking a trip down to ordering something online. Innovation has its way of getting things done. As it progresses, businesses big and small also found easier ways of reaching out to their clients and customers—that’s how business process outsourcing (BPOs) came into view.
But with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), economists predict that it could leave call center agents jobless in about ten years. In a news brief from Philippines Outsourcing Weekly Briefing, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has joined the call for BPO companies to innovate or be left out by the emergence of AI. Looking back, the country has been in the top ranks in providing call center jobs to people.
Lopez has predicted that AI will likely take 45 out of 50 percent (approx. 1.2M) employees of the BPO industry in the country. As this threat slowly approaches, he stressed a possible solution wherein BPO companies could still function with AI innovation.
AI basically is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. These features include speech recognition, planning, and problem-solving. In the near future, this would replace call center agents. Now that this is laid out, Lopez’s solution would be to start training BPO employees and strategically orienting them on the emerging technology requirements of the industry that will enable them to continuously improve job performance. In other words, making use of technology in their jobs rather than being displaced by it.
The solution is directed at the academe, government, and business sectors, requiring in-depth learning and training.
George Yang, a Filipino-Canadian computer engineer and founder of a startup called AI Pros, conducted field tests for “augmented intelligence” technology among several call centers in the Philippines. Augmented intelligence basically means the combination of artificial and human intelligence. The test gave positive results. This would mean that it could help the country’s BPO industry cope with AI innovation. With that, BPO companies would still be in the game for growth and development.