READINESS to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) is uneven as companies try to work out the shape of future regulation, even though a consensus has emerged that the technology will be useful and transformative, panelists said at the BusinessWorld Forecast 2024 economic forum on Wednesday.

David R. Hardoon, chief executive officer of Aboitiz Data Innovation Pte. Ltd., said at one of the forum’s fireside chats that a “spiritual agreement” on the benefits of AI is already in place, though adopters are anticipating regulation and trying to determine what the compliance regime might be like.

The constants in such an environment of tech wariness are the need for good governance and trust, Mr. Hardoon said.

“We need to understand the path we want to take (with AI) — where and how we want to go,” he added.

“It is still limited to the information we feed it… Start identifying the kind of information sources we provide it, and what is relevant.”

A report issued by technology firm Cisco this month said only 17% of Philippine organizations are ready to utilize and deploy AI, with the majority of them raising concerns about the impact of not adopting these advances.

It added that about 44% of Philippine organizations consider themselves chasers or are only moderately prepared; 35% are followers with limited levels of preparedness; and about 4% are laggards, not prepared to leverage AI at all.

Mr. Hardoon said the way to build trust in technological development is through transparency.

He likened AI to a library with a great yet limited capacity to solve knowledge management and productivity issues. “(AI) is only a tool to help us push the boundaries to be even better at what we do,” he said.

“What we should be worried about is another person with the knowledge and skill set we don’t have,” he added, noting that AI should be used to make humans shine at what they are best at, and not necessarily to replace jobs.

“It is our responsibility to want to be better… We need to be us. We need to be creative. We need to be challenged because we are hardwired for innovation.”

“What we can do is embrace it with compliance, management, and government.” — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola