Manila wobble continues?

Either the Philippines remains in trouble as automation continues to take over low-level communications, or Reuters (whose write-up this short piece reflects) has only just noticed automation.

The article suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to take over a lot of the contact centre functions in which the Philippines population excel, due to automatic translators and other advanced technologies. IBM, it points out, divested itself of its voice business some time ago.

Which is fine as far as it goes but we can’t help noticing at Intelligent Sourcing that we’ve been covering this issue for some time and the industry doesn’t seem to have gone away. In fact there are signs that even in the Philippines, the industry is still growing.

We have a number of possible explanations. The first is sheer inertia. Just because a particular technology could perform a function, that doesn’t mean it’s going to immediately. Second, reliability. It’s a related point; if you know something works well enough, the impetus to “fix” it might not be all that great.

Third there’s the small matter of installed base. If you have an entire infrastructure based on human voices there is no immediate rush to replace it just because you can.

We’d forecast growth for the Philippines for a good few years yet. It will level out and it will change – and the country itself will assimilate elements of AI. But we’re against counting countries out just because a particular technology is available. 10/10 to Reuters for waking up – but this is about evolution and gradual change, not a wipeout.

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