AI for business gets boost with new IBM Watson tech

AI for business: Project Debater
The Project Debater AI was not only a good debater, but also an aspiring comedian

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is hardly elementary for AI for business. IBM Watson, however, will now have a better understanding of the language of business. This is thanks to the incorporation of new technologies from IBM Research’s Project Debater.

Project Debater made headlines in 2018 when the IBM AI successfully debated humans and even made jokes. The new IBM Watson technologies represent the first commercialization of Project Debater’s groundbreaking NLP abilities. Now companies can reap the benefits of an AI for business that understands idioms and colloquialisms in conversational English. IBM Watson will not just analyze human language for information. It can now also understand the thought and opinion of customers. This is in line with IBM’s vision for the relationship between humans and AI in the workplace.

“This combination of human and machine makes AI both powerful and transformative. It’s why IBM refers to AI as augmented—not artificial—intelligence. This is a critical difference. IBM believes in systems that can enhance and scale human expertise, rather than those that attempt to replicate human cognition,” IBM Philippines Chief Technology Officer Lope Doromal Jr. told Digital Life Asia via email.


Online giving: 5 simple ways to use technology for good

Online giving

(Editor’s note: A different version of this article on online giving was originally published on Reposted with permission.)

Online giving allows us to make a difference—sometimes, with the simplest of acts.

That’s how powerful technology is. And that’s how connected we all are.

Here are five simple ways you can take advantage of online giving to help people even while staying home because of the enhanced community quarantine.


Tech startups helping Filipinos cope with quarantine

Tech startups that can help you while you stay home

With the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon forcing us to stay home, these eight tech startups can be a godsend.

More and more Filipinos have been embracing ecommerce over the years. Expect online services to become even more popular in the age of social distancing and quarantines due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Need to buy groceries? Have food delivered? Or have someone run errands, or make repairs? Find out how foodpanda,, GrabFood/GrabExpress, LalaFood/Lalamove, Lazada (LazMart), MEDIFI, MetroMart, and MyKuya can make life a bit easier for you in these unusual times.

A Life Less Analog Technology

Civil society vs online trolls: Reclaiming social media

Technology column header

Social media has been weaponized against civil society. In the Philippines, the pro-government troll army continues its online attacks on citizens even in the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis.

Most recently, these online supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte have attacked two government officials that have earned praise for their efforts in helping citizens cope with the enhanced community quarantine in the main island of Luzon.

On March 18, Vice President Leni Robredo slammed social media users who were spreading fake news about the free shuttle service that her office was providing to frontline health workers. Meanwhile, #ProtectVico became the No. 1 Twitter Trending Topic in the Philippines on March 19 as online users defended Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto against troll army attacks.


Cryptocurrency compliance to ensure bright future in PH

SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lee talks about cryptocurrency regulation in the Philippines
Commissioner Kelvin Lee of the Securities and Exchange Commission talks about cryptocurrency regulation

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity in the Philippines, industry stakeholders launched on March 5 the first in a series of quarterly meetups.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Kelvin Lee was the keynote speaker at the first “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup. The meetups will provide a deep dive into compliance issues for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) while also encouraging innovation.

Also joining via Zoom from Singapore were Elliptic Chief Operating Officer Simone Maini and Elliptic Head of Growth Seimin Kuan. They shared the blockchain analytics firm’s expertise in helping businesses protect themselves from financial crime in cryptocurrency.

Science Technology

Mental health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic

Protect your mental health

Apart from our physical health, it is important to protect our mental health in the face of the novel coronavirus crisis.

Anxiety is on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to become sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, fearful, or angry. The problem, however, is even more compounded for those with existing mental health conditions.

Recognizing the stress that this crisis is generating, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed guidelines for supporting mental and psychological well-being.

Science Technology

Coronavirus: The end of the world as we know it?

Coronavirus scared man
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire of

I firmly believe that how humanity responds to the novel coronavirus will change the course of history.

No, the world won’t end because of this pandemic. But we have to face the fact that COVID-19 is already changing the world as we know it.

Things may never be the same.


Mass extinction: How humans can survive the apocalypse

Mass extinction book

A book on mass extinction happens to be one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read. It’s oddly comforting, particularly in the time of coronavirus.

If you love science, I highly recommend “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction” by Annalee Newitz.

I’ve read this beautifully written book twice, and most likely will read it again this year. It’s somewhat ironic considering this book tackles the inevitability of one apocalypse or another causing a mass extinction on Earth. Yet it fills me with pragmatic optimism that humanity will survive, not because of some vague hope, but through science and the strategies that our ancestors and different species have employed in order to avoid extinction.

A Life Less Analog Technology

Social distancing in the time of coronavirus

Technology column header

Social distancing is one of our best weapons these days as the world battles the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Social distancing, cancellation of events, working from home. These can help stop or slow down the spread of COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic. The World Health Organization has advised us to maintain social distancing. We are supposed to keep a one-meter (three feet) distance between ourselves and someone who is coughing or sneezing.

Today, March 12, we are celebrating the 31st birthday of the World Wide Web. We certainly should be thankful to Sir Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web. Imagine how much worse the situation would be if we weren’t able to keep working or communicating online.


Dataism: ‘Homo Deus’ and tomorrow’s gods and humans

Dataism and "Homo Deus"

Dataism is the new religion of the 21st century. The greatest good it upholds? Freedom of information.

“Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” continues the story that Yuval Noah Harari began with “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”. “Sapiens” was about where we came from, while “Homo Deus” is about where we are going. And “Homo Deus” is just as provocative as Harari’s first book, challenging our notions of what it means to be human.

In “Homo Deus”, Harari talked about the rise of Dataism. David Brooks was the first to coin the term Dataism in a 2013 New York Times column piece. While you might not agree with it, Dataism represents current scientific dogma. We may be familiar with the rise of Big Data, but may not sufficiently grasp its implications for society and humanity. Most firmly entrenched in its two mother disciplines of computer science and biology. Dataism sees organisms as algorithms. Everything is connected. Everything is data. And Homo sapiens will no longer exist.