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Advancing Language-Driven AI Solutions in the Philippines

Image credits: Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) collaborating with the National University and Bicol University to promote the adoption of the iTANONG AI system and the BOSES KO toolkit from the E-Participation Project.

The iTANONG initiative, entitled “A Natural Language Interface to Databases for Filipinos,” is an artificial intelligence (AI) application that employs cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) technologies. It enables users to access information held in databases and generate insights by simply typing in Filipino, English, or Taglish queries or questions.

The E-Participation 2.1 Project, a collaboration between Northwestern University, Boston University, and the Commission on Higher Education, seeks to employ NLP for community participation. The BOSES KO toolkit is an AI and Machine Learning (ML) application that facilitates inclusive, deliberative, and multilingual real-time data collection and analysis in Ilocano, Bicolano, Tagalog, and English.

The goal of the MoU is to promote the use of iTANONG and BOSES KO in universities, colleges, local government units, and the public and private sectors to develop science and technology while encouraging creativity.

The MOU also aims to explore study topics, applications, and potential integration of iTANONG and BOSES KO, as well as to generate research proposals, joint projects, and collaborative R&D to increase ICT industrial competitiveness. The collaboration is planned to raise public awareness and build strong networks among key stakeholders and interested parties.

The iTANONG AI system and the E-Participation 2.1 project, according to Dr Franz de Leon, Director of DOST-ASTI, can revolutionise how they access and interact with information, making it more accessible to end users, especially for Filipinos who may struggle with English or technical language.

Dr Renato Carlos Ermita Jr, president of the National University, expressed his enthusiasm for and dedication to this alliance. He emphasised that they perceive goals that are aligned with this project, especially given that innovation and patriotism are the two main basic principles of the National University. He added that it was a clear example of how they may link or align knowledge and technology with community development, employing technology for the sake of the nation, must come from every venture they do.

Dr Baby Boy Benjamin Nebres III, SUC President IV, Bicol University, said that the latest effort, which is part of the e-Participation 2.1 projects, is very welcome. It is very important, especially because apps that use AI, ML, and multiple languages to collect and analyse data offer the whole package. As part of their university plan, they are looking for these kinds of innovations to help them build societies that can last for a long time. He hopes that this partnership will lead to a better, more productive friendship that will help everyone.

The signing of this MoU is a big step in how DOST-ASTI, National University, and Bicol University work together and work with the business sector. It fits with the DOST’s mission to do scientific research and development in advanced areas of ICT and electronics while modernising science and technology facilities.

This collaboration could help the iTANONG AI system in important ways, which would help DOST-ASTI and its partners reach their long-term goals of supporting inclusive growth, innovation, the spread of ICT, and the creation of policies that support these goals.


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