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Customer care top priority of PLDT, MVP Group amid industry wide adaption of AI

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(In photo from left, Mr. Paco S.A. Sandejas, Atty. Fiona W.M. Chiu, Ret. Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, Mr. Al S. Panlilio, Dr. Max Tegmark, and Ms. Cathy Y. Yang.)

PLDT Chairman Manuel V Pangilinan and the rest of the leadership of the MVP Group of companies are optimistic about the onset of artificial intelligence (AI) to shape the industries of the future, particularly to further improve customer experience. The group also remains committed to the call to establish rules and systems that will provide guardrails and manage the risks of AI, as articulated during the recent MVP-Groupwide Annual Corporate Governance Enhancement Session (ACGES).

Participating at the ACGES were directors and officers from some of the Philippines’ biggest companies including PLDT and its wireless unit Smart, Metro Pacific, Meralco, Maynilad, Maya, Philex Mining, PXP Energy, the MVP Group Hospitals and Tollways, and Hongkong-based First Pacific.

Given the risks and potential of AI, PLDT and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio stressed that the key is to balance the benefits of new technology while upholding core company values. “It is not enough to merely adopt AI – we must do so with a deep sense of ethics and responsibility. We need to safeguard customer and employee rights, uphold privacy and security, and champion diversity and inclusivity. Corporate governance principles must be at the core of the adoption of every new technology.”

Highlighting the pivotal role that AI plays in shaping the future of industries, and enhancing our capabilities to better serve customers, Panlilio shares how “in an increasingly interconnected world, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we operate, with opportunities to enhance efficiencies, improve customer experiences, ensure data accuracy, and rationalize costs.” 

Providing perspective to the discussions, Atty. Edsel F. Tupaz, partner at Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra presented a survey on Global Developments in AI Standards and Regulations.

Fresh from his influential participation at the recent AI Safety Summit held in the UK where the Bletchley Declaration saw global leaders calling for policies on AI across borders to prevent risks and global ‘catastrophic’ harm, AI researcher and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Max Tegmark spoke at this year’s ACGES, shedding light on the imperatives that leaders face in the time of AI.

Tegmark shared his insights on why regulations and further understanding of AI first need to catch up to how fast the technology is evolving. “The big reason why people are nervous about artificial general intelligence is because we really don’t have a good plan on how to make it safe or how to control it. But if we can understand these systems better, which I think we can, we will be able to do this,” he added.

Tegmark advocates for international collaboration, in turn encouraging the establishment of global standards to guide AI development. Additionally, regulatory frameworks can promote innovation by providing a clear roadmap for businesses and researchers, balancing the need for progress with ethical considerations. Tegmark emphasizes the need for ongoing education and collaboration between policymakers, researchers, and industry experts.

Ensuring that ethical practices and governance are upheld at the onset of newer AI applications, ACGES further expounded on the challenges of implementing AI and its practicability in the different companies through a panel discussion with Panlilio, First Pacific Executive Vice President and General Counsel Atty Fiona W.M. Chiu, Maya and Makati Medical Center Independent Director Paco Sandejas, and Maynilad CIO Dr. Francisco Castillo, moderated by PLDT and Smart FVP and Head of Group Corporate Communications Cathy Yap-Yang.

Independent Director Retired Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban underscored the importance of the ACGES conversation on AI as it challenges all to think- “What value will this technological evolution add to human interaction? What role will each of our companies, each one of us play in ensuring that AI technology keeps our customers’ data protected in the face of more varied data collection, and that there is integrity and accountability in transactions, that interactions are cyber-secure, respectful of law and good customs, and the spirit of competition will remain alive in all of us.”

Now on its 17th year, the ACGES has been an important conference of the PLDT and MVP Group Companies for their Directors and Officers as a training and learning session on best practices for corporate governance. A well-attended event, previous sessions have covered relevant and pressing topics such as leadership, new technology, data privacy and cybersecurity, ESG, customer engagement and ethics and compliance. 

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