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Japanese startup Spectee launches AI-powered disaster management tech in Phl

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A disaster management tool using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology invented by a Japanese company is recently being piloted in the Philippines in a move to protect and save more lives in times of disasters and other emergencies. 

SAKAMOTO Takema, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) underscores how Philippines being a disaster prone country like Japan he Philippines and Filipini people can benefit from this technology especially during the disaster management.

A briefing session for Philippine media was held at Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Makati introducing this innovative AI-powered crisis management tool. The event was led by Jose Torres Jr., Director-General of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), NEGORO Satoshi, Chief Operating Officer of Spectee, Inc. and SAKAMOTO Takema, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). His Excellency KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines also attended the event.

Jose Torres Jr., Director-General of Philippine Information Agency (PIA) expresses his amazement and shares his view how Specree AI technology can help the media in the Philippines especially in verifying news, photos, video and other images to avoid publishing unverified information.

The technology is launched by a unique Japanese startup, Spectee, Inc., through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) promotion program of JICA, as part of their efforts to provide real-time information in disaster-prone countries like Japan and the Philippines. 

In photo seated from left, OCD Chief of ICTD Mr. Kelvin Art T. Ofrecio, PIA Director General Jose Torres, Jr., Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines  KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko, Spectee Inc., COO NEGORO Satoshi, JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema. Standing from left, (From upper left) Mr. Rey Gerona, Mr. SASAKI Takihiro, and Ms. KOMINAMI Minami from Reaple, Ms. Katherine De Castro and Mr. Darrel Winthrop Torres from PIA, Mr. NIWA Kenji and Ms. Sherilyn Aoyama from JICA.

Spectee Inc., under JICA’s cooperation framework mentioned above, has partnered with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to use the AI tool as a trial in disaster prevention operations. The OCD and some local government units (LGUs) are piloting the technology to mitigate disaster risks and save more lives. 

The AI makes judgments based on huge social media information data, while a human team on duty re-checks and verifies the information. The information is then channeled through a dashboard, smartphone notifications, and e-mail alerts. It is already being used by more than 100 government organizations, including police and fire stations, as well as 90% of news organizations in Japan. 

The technology visualizes the crisis using data from social media, climate information, river/road camera, people traffic among others. It has its own primary check features based on sentence and image analysis as well as credibility scores. This helps discard fake news and eliminate them from the data.  

“JICA believes that AI brings benefits to society if we use it well. The Philippines needs and is ready for this kind of technology. We see the potential that more Filipinos would benefit from this digital innovation from Japan, particularly in the area of disaster management,” said JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema. 

JICA has been introducing Japanese innovations to its partner countries under the JICA PPP promotion program. This scheme allows for Japanese private companies to share their ideas and innovations in solving society’s problems in various sectors like agriculture, education, health to name a few. 

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