Investments carrying potential for new tech pushed

The country needs to foster an open economic environment crucial to helping facilitate investments that carry with them the potential for new technology to boost productivity and employment opportunities, as digital transformation accelerates in the post-pandemic era.

“Pagtanaw 2050” cited analysts predicting that consumer behavior may have begun to permanently change under the “new normal” with e-commerce within and across borders playing a much larger economic role.

It said policies thus must promote sustainable development, resilience, and competitiveness as some aspects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe) are also present in the country, with several industries and government instrumentalities adopting technologies to expedite processes and supplement capabilities.

Pagtanaw 2050 also cited results of a survey conducted by an American consulting firm in June 2020 indicating that 80 percent of firms in the Philippines had ongoing digital transformation programs, while 20 percent have not started or did not have any plans for digital transformation.

Citing an earlier report, it said the disruptive technologies that have been identified by the US Council on Competitiveness (2018) are biotechnology, sensorization and internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and nanotechnology and new materials which are believed to have an impact on expectations of customers, new and improved products, collaborative innovation, and organizational systems.

“The Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic has interrupted globalization, and it may have erected additional economic, political, and health challenges for many countries, increasing the possibility that there will be varied progress in establishing the conducive institutional frameworks for fully engaging in the FIRe,” Pagtanaw 2050.

Pagtanaw 2050 is the first Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-funded inter-disciplinal and trans-disciplinal project on Philippine-focused STI (science, technology, and innovation) Foresight and Strategic Plan that will impact on the aspirations of the Filipino people by 2050.

The project underscored the need for the country to institute policies that will maintain the knowledge infrastructure that facilitates the seamless flow of information in the National Innovation System, including market opportunities for Philippine products.

“In this regard, the active participation of the micro, small, and medium enterprises must be assured,” it said.

Pagtanaw 2050 said it is also imperative to set up an assistance system that will guide the sectors of the economy as they adopt new production technologies and produce new products that can compete in the global market.

“The technological choices that will be made by the Philippine government and private companies must be consistent with our participation in the global effort to mitigate climate change and our commitments to the UN (United States) Sustainable Development Goals,” it added.

To ensure that the Philippines can reap the benefits of the FIRe, Pagtanaw 2050 said the government needs to increase and protect investments in human capital by building a more crisis-resilient and inclusive healthcare system, and equipping the vulnerable population with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, as well as specialized education to combat disinformation.

“Government needs to be agile and innovative in creating new livelihood opportunities as the disruptive forces in the economy start to operate. Leveling the playing field should be accompanied by opportunities to earn a decent living,” it said.

Pagtanaw 2050 also highlighted the importance of addressing barriers in technology adoption among businesses and populations through flexible and adaptable government policies.

“Promoting strong competition across sectors will be crucial in facilitating an environment conducive to strong innovation and technology flows,” it added.

Meanwhile, Pagtanaw 2050 includes a compendium of STI megatrends, global and national societal goals, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary operational areas, and current and emerging technologies relevant to the nation’s development.

During the project’s grand launching, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said “This first Philippine foresight supports a technology explicit development agenda that is inclusive, sustainable, and nurtures a citizenry that is educated, healthy, and productive in the coming years. Developing a globally competitive Philippine knowledge economy with a maritime base will allow the Philippines to finally break free from its stagnation in this shadow of more scientifically advanced nations.”

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