Adopting AI (Artificial Intelligence) may be one of the biggest ways to advance a business’ digital transformation but at its best, managers should see it as a way to help, not replace workers.

“I think where AI is super powerful is not in isolation, but as part of a human-centered workflow where it helps to augment the humans’ judgment calls,” said Stef Sy, CEO and founder of leading data technology consultancy firm Thinking Machines, at Makati Business Club’s “Unlocking Your Business With AI” event on March 28.

The event was organized by the Makati Business Club’s Global Ideas Committee, which aims to challenge traditional perspectives of the local business community with the latest industry trends and developments around the world. AI is machines programmed to “think” and “learn” — mimicking human intelligence — to do tasks better and better.

“There is a common interest among the business community to better understand the applications of digital transformation, and it’s important to recognize how AI enhances digital transformation processes and the decision-making associated with it,” said Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, head of Business Development at Ayala Corp. and MBC Global Ideas Committee chair.

The “human-centered workflow” applies from the beginning. For companies who are starting with AI adoption, EastWest Bank’s Senior AVP and Executive Director Isabelle Yap advises business leaders to not only work with data scientists, but to “have a team that is able to clearly translate your business needs to data experts.”

Ms. Sy added, “Businesses do not only need someone who can code, but someone with strong analytical skills of the industry they are in to help inform a company’s AI framework.”

Thinking Machines assisted EastWest Bank in launching its “ATM Auto-Reconciliation Project”, which used AI to detect fraud and predict which of the bank’s ATMs are broken down. This AI-adoption project improved EastWest Bank’s operations and customer experience by automating its systems for 400+ ATMs nationwide and streamlining 2 million monthly customer transactions, which were done manually in the past and was prone to errors, according to Ms. Yap. She added that adopting AI for its bank operations has allowed their staff more time to focus on other tasks, which boosted productivity.

Nicolas Bivero, co-founder of Penbrothers and MBC Global Ideas committee member, moderated the discussion.

To learn more about AI solutions for business, listen to episode 1 of MBC’s Global Ideas podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts — featuring Bivero, Sy and Yap.

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