Government warns against over-regulating tech

The co-founder of a social impact tech start-up has warned the government against over-regulating technology in the country.

“A lot of us worry about over-regulation,” Connected Women CEO Gina Romero said in an interview on “Business and Politics,” hosted by Manila Times chairman Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd, which airs Saturday on SMNI night.

“Because this is an opportunity for the country to thrive, over-regulation could cause it to shrink. We don’t want to lose our potential there.”

Romero, a 2022 TOWNS (Women in Service of Nation) honoree for Women’s Empowerment through ICT, emphasized that “technology allows us to impact more people and create at a greater scale.”

Turning to the tech space, Romero emphasized that the challenge is to build trust and relevance at every level.

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“People are nervous about technology, especially new technology like AI (artificial intelligence),” she said. “There are a lot of different conversations, so it’s really important that the people making the decisions talk a lot with the experts.”

Romero, who has advocated for women’s empowerment for 17 years, noted that the Philippines has “some really top world-class data scientists” who have studied technological challenges around the world and have a very intrinsic understanding of the potential and technology of technology. its dangerous.

“We have so much innovative talent in the Philippines. We really need to consult with them and make sure they are included,” she said. “Building that trust and relevance requires a lot of dialogue, or we risk making decisions that negatively impact large numbers of people.”

Romero said the government could start by talking to organizations like Connected Women.

She said her team focuses on people who are not left behind.

Romero said that while people now see the Philippines as a potential tech hub, that will only happen if both the government and the private sector continue to upskill and support socially impactful organizations like Connected Women.

“us [social-impact organizations and entrepreneurs] Needs to be taken as seriously as a start-up because the potential for commercial and impact return is huge,” she said.

Romero laments that they have struggled to find funding to scale up and develop skills.

Social impact enterprises are a relatively new concept, especially in Asia, she said.

“The model of social business is that you can make money, but you can also incorporate doing good into your business,” Romero said.

The country is full of social impact entrepreneurs, but many of them tend to shy away from technology, she said.

“It’s such a shame. We need to encourage more entrepreneurs to use technology because they can amplify their impact and help more people,” Romero said.

That’s why education is also very important, she said, especially when it comes to developing technical skills early on.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have any knee-jerk reactions around this topic because we now have the opportunity to really look at what we’re teaching our kids,” Romero said.

“Let’s remember that the jobs of the future, we don’t know yet. We cannot rely on education today to provide all the talents and skills we will need in the future,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity to look at how technology can support education and how it can support the future of work,” she said. “We need a lot of different people to be in the conversation because if we just had educators doing education, we wouldn’t be building for the future by now.”

Romero also believes it is important to “continue to push forward with digital infrastructure” in the country.

“Even in a very large and dispersed country outside of the Philippines, there are many complex issues,” Romero noted. “It’s amazing that we’re making the progress we’re making.”

“I was really pleasantly surprised when I got back. I thought it was going to be worse from what I heard, but the connectivity wasn’t that bad,” said Romero, who has lived in the UK since he was 6 months old until recently. Back to the Philippines to build Connected Women.

Founded in 2010, the group provides Filipino women with online skills training, development and remote work opportunities.

Its flagship program, Elevate AIDA (Artificial Intelligence Data Annotation), aims to equip women from grassroots communities with market-aligned data annotation skills for the AI ​​industry.

These skills include labeling, classifying, and processing text and images for AI applications.

Connected Women’s clients and partners include Meta, PLDT, Union Bank, ScaleHub, Aboitiz and Smart.

“Many women come to us without any educational background or experience in technology or artificial intelligence. Once they graduate from our training, we give them access to remote and flexible work opportunities and make sure they earn decent wages and have the opportunity Upskilling,” said Romero, whose mother was one of the pioneer domestic workers who came to Britain in the 1970s.

She said she wanted to dispel the misconception that social enterprises are poor, small and philanthropic.

“A social enterprise doing good because that good is built into the business model doesn’t mean it can’t be profitable … there should be a shift in thinking,” Romero said.

Connected Women is a model project not only for the Philippines but globally in terms of building future skills, she said.

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