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Learning To Love AI

February is the month of love, and millions of people across the Philippines – and around the world – will express their feelings and celebrate the special relationships they have with their loved ones, through the exchange of cards and gifts in a tradition that can be traced back to the medieval era.

Also this year, in China, many more are likely to say ‘I love you’ to a girl named ‘Xiaoice’, and she is an Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbot.

Thanks to AI, we are currently witnessing a paradigm shift in technology, moving from a world where we have to understand computers to one where they now understand us and our intent. And this is not only revolutionizing how we live, work and play; it is upending our entire relationship with technology.

This disruption is brought about by the next big shift in computing, one that is fueled by advances in AI and built around a behavior that is the most natural of all to humans — conversations. Conversational AI, such as chatbots, heralds a new era where digital experiences can now mirror the way people interact with fellow humans. And there is much to love about this new development.

First Love: Microsoft’s AI Journey

For Microsoft, the vision of enabling computers that can see, hear, talk and understand us really began 25 years ago when founder Bill Gates created Microsoft Research. And on that journey, they have recently passed some significant milestones that, only a few years ago, would have seemed impossible to imagine.

Such milestones are vital to the adoption and use of computers for everyone; because when computers can speak “human”, every human can speak with computers.

These kind of advancements are the result of the deep engineering skills and unique technical capabilities of the team at Microsoft Research, who have received many prestigious national and international honours, including the Turing Award, considered the highest distinction in computer science.

Growing Love: Chatbots Around the World

Microsoft’s work with chatbots expanded rapidly with the launch of Xiaoice in China. This intelligent, natural-language bot is programmed to behave like an 18-year-old girl who is emphatic, humorous and affable. The conversations that she has with users range from advice about what activities to do during the day to relationship feedback. Using advanced machine learning algorithms, her responses mirror what a teenage girl would tell her friend, sometimes with sarcasm included.

Xiaoice can also speak with people over the phone and use streaming video to detect emotions and engage in conversations based on the person’s expressions. Today, she has conversed with more than 100 million users, averaging approximately 23 exchanges per session. This is nearly 10 times the industry average. In fact, it has been estimated that 25% of users have already declared their love to Xiaoice.

But that is not all. Xiaoice is also the first AI chatbot to have a real TV broadcasting job on Dragon TV, one of China’s biggest TV stations, with a viewer population exceeding more than 800 million.

Building on the success of Xiaoice, local variations are now available in four other countries — Rinna in Japan and Indonesia, Ruuh in India, and Zo in U.S.

Microsoft launched Rinna in Japan in 2015. Modelled after a school girl, Rinna has today spoken with 25% of the country’s population. She is also powering a chatbot that is serving an entire town in Japan.

Modelled after a smart and adorable 7-year-old boy, Shibuyu Mirai is currently helping residents of, and visitors to, Tokyo’s busy Shibuya district access local services and information. Shibuyu-kun is serving the community so well that the Shibuya municipal government has recently granted him residency status, a world’s first.

Much to Love: AI as a Force for Good

Today, many of the conversations revolving around AI are mired in trepidation and alarm – ranging from job displacements to the widening of social inequalities. However, it is evident from these chatbots that there is much to love about AI, and it has brought about both functionality and emotional connection to millions of people around the world.

Beyond conversations and companionship, AI also has immense potential to offer lasting, positive impact on the world by driving global economic and social progress. From the front lines of education to environmental advocacy to healthcare, AI will be vital in creating technological breakthroughs for humanity and facilitating inclusive solutions that will enable every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

For example, Microsoft’s recent AI for Earth initiative builds on the commitment to use AI technology to amplify human ingenuity and advance sustainability around the globe. Through ongoing projects and partnerships, Microsoft is striving to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time, including the health of our planet.

One of these projects is Farmbeat, which strives to address soaring food demands while dealing with limited amount of arable land. This initiative leverages existing connectivity infrastructure as well as the power of the cloud and machine learning to enable data-driven farming. This provides farmers with easily interpretable insights to help improve agricultural yield, lower overall cost, and reduce the environmental impact of farming.

AI can also be used to create a more inclusive future by empowering people with disabilities.  Seeing AI is a free app designed by Microsoft to make the visual world around us more accessible for the 285 million people in the world with low vision. By harnessing the power of AI, this app is able to perceive and recognize a wide spectrum of visual cues – from people to emotions, from barcodes to handwriting – and translate them into audible descriptions. By turning the visual world into an audible experience, this app is making the world more navigable and richer for those with low vision.

Trust: Fundamental to Our Relationship with AI

These examples are just a few of the positive applications of AI; the benefits it can bring to our world and our lives are multifaceted and countless.

Microsoft has been investing in the promise of AI for more than 25 years, and they are optimistic about the opportunities that AI creates, and how it can amplify human ingenuity to create a better future for all.

However, the road to a future powered by a partnership between intelligent machines and people will be a long, and sometimes, challenging one. There will be complex questions and broad societal concerns that need to be addressed, including the ethical usage of AI and its impact on employment.

Addressing these challenges will require trust, integrity, faith and listening to one another – the same fundamental building blocks that are needed to create a lasting and positive partnership with another person.

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HLURB Partners With LAMUDI, Aims To Increase Transparency

HLURB and property website Lamudi join forces to push for transparency in real estate this 2018.

The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and online real estate marketplace Lamudi Philippines come together for a partnership aimed at improving real estate practices in the country and encouraging transparency in the industry.

A ceremonial signing was held in Makati on January 24, and was attended by HLURB Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner Atty. Lloyd Christopher A. Lao, HLURB Commissioner Atty. Melzar P. Galicia, Lamudi Philippines Managing Director and CEO Bhavna Suresh, and Lamudi Philippines Director for Brand and Communication Ken Lerona.

A more visible HLURB

Under the one-year partnership, readers of the Lamudi: Real Estate Magazine should expect thought leadership pieces from none other than Atty. Lao, with topics ranging from the rights of buyers of real estate, to the verification of brokers, projects, and developers.

HLURB will also use the Lamudi platform to address frequently asked questions, including those about options for financing, procedures and remedies afforded to aggrieved buyers and developers, and even who to approach or look for when paying a visit to their office.

Consistent with its aim to increase transparency in the industry, HLURB also has revamped and upgraded its website, which now comes with a user-friendly online inquiry feature. This shall be integrated in the Lamudi website which receives around 1.5M visits per month, so property seekers will find it easy and hassle-free to search for registered brokers, as well as projects that have been issued License to Sell numbers.

All of these form part of HLURB’s efforts to keep up with the times by embracing digital, and to be more visible to the public and serve them better.

Transparency through technology

In the 2016 Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) by JLL, a leading real estate and investment management firm, the Philippines ranked 46th out of 109 countries and fell under the semi-transparent market. This tier, according to JLL, is where the most rapid progress in real estate transparency can be found.

Rising expectations from citizens as well as technological advancements serve as drivers for improving real estate transparency. Innovations in the prop-tech industry, JLL says, “offer the opportunity for a quantum leap in data access to support a rising culture of ‘open data.’”

Aside from high-quality accessible market data, ingredients of a transparent real estate market include: strong corporate governance, stringent regulatory enforcement, high ethical standards, and international best practice.

For Atty. Lao, responsible real estate practice is the key to the sustainability of the housing sector. He also maintained that although HLURB is a regulatory body, they are very much willing to help and cooperate with those under their jurisdiction.

Ms. Suresh, for her part, shared that Lamudi is one with HLURB in its aim to push for transparency as this shall open many doors in the future. As seen in JLL’s 2016 GRETI, higher real estate transparency is linked to new business and investment, and even plays a role in community well-being and inclusiveness.

“As the authority in the prop-tech industry in the country, Lamudi is thrilled to be partnering with HLURB for this,” she added. “We are here to support HLURB, and look forward to more partnerships like this one.”

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Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil Omelet

Do you consider cooking as part of your lifestyle? My mother considered it as part of her daily living not because she is in-charge of home cooking and have a food service business, but she have the passion and art of cooking with different menus of recipes with her own ideas and of what she have learned from the community.

As part of her challenge in cooking, I brought her a package of Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil from SLORD Development Corporation, a manufacturer of high quality canned seafood. SLORD is a HACCP accredited manufacturer of canned goods, was established on the 15th of April 1985.


The flagship brand of SLORD Development Corporation, products bearing the Uni-Pak brand contain only the finest ingredients. Exclusively available in select areas locally, Uni-Pak is exported throughout different markets worldwide.

With her generosity, she patiently cooked with the main ingredient of Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil named as “Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Natural Oil Omelet”.

Other ingredients are slices of carrot, white union, garlic, potato, fine black pepper, green peas and fried egg. From preparation of ingredients and cooking, it took of around eight (8) minutes.

Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil Omelet
Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil Omelet

Watch the video on how to cook the Uni-Pak Mackerel In Natural Oil Omelet.

SLORD Development Corporation specializes in toll-packing quality canned goods. Since 1985, dozens of satisfied international and domestic companies have trusted SLORD with their packing requirements.

For more information, get in touch with any of their customer service representatives at +63-2-281-9453 or send email at

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Welcome to 2018, the year of AI

If the history of human advancement has taught us one thing it is this: genuine step-change progress does not occur because of a single technology breakthrough, but a combination of multiple complementary factors coming together at the same time.

The Industrial Revolution, which began around 1760, was driven by an amalgamation of steam power, improvements in iron production and the development of the first machine tools.  Similarly, the PC revolution of the early 1970’s was the outcome of simultaneous advancements in micro-processing, memory storage, software programming and other factors.

Now, as we enter 2018, we are at the cusp of a new revolution, one that will ultimately transform every organisation, every industry and every public service across the world. 2018 is the year of Artificial Intelligence – or AI – as it will be the year that it will start to become mainstream, to begin to impact many aspects of our lives in a truly ubiquitous and meaningful way.

AI: Over 65 Years In The Making

The concept of AI is not new. In fact, it stretches back to 1950 when early computing pioneer Alan Turing famously posed the question “Can Machines Think?” and it would be another 6 years, in 1956, before the term “artificial intelligence” was first used.

So it has taken nearly 70 years for the right combination of factors to come together to move AI from concept to an increasingly ubiquitous reality. And there are three innovation trends driving its acceleration and adoption right now.

  • The first is Big Data. The explosion of Internet-connected devices, sensors and objects has expanded exponentially the amount of data the world is now producing. In this increasingly digital era, data is the “new oil”– a source of value and sustainable competitive advantage.
  • The second factor is ubiquitous and powerful Cloud computing. Today, anyone with an idea and a credit card can access the same computing power that, traditionally, only global multinationals or governments have possessed. Cloud computing is democratizing technology and accelerating innovation on a global scale.
  • The third factor driving AI capabilities is breakthroughs in software algorithms and Machine Learning that can identify sophisticated patterns implicit within the data itself. If data is the new oil, Machine Learning is, perhaps, the new combustion engine.

So, it is this combination of powerful industry trends, all maturing at the same time, that is accelerating – and democratizing – AI today.


AI Everywhere

Industry experts refer to the way in which AI will impact our lives as an “invisible revolution”. This refers to its ubiquity. AI will be everywhere—powering your online recommendation engine, acting as a virtual assistant chatbot for your bank account or travel agent, personalizing your newsfeed or guarding your credit card against fraud. AI will be more pervasive – and yet less invasive – than any previous technology revolution.

In particular, AI will be embedded seamlessly into existing, well-established products and services to enhance their capabilities. For example, with a small piece of AI tech called Microsoft Presentation Translator, anyone can help overcome any language barriers as PowerPoint can show real-time subtitles in more than 60 languages, simultaneously as they speak, during their presentations.

In business, AI will be used by most companies for at least some part of the value chain either in research and development, design, logistics, manufacturing, servicing or customer engagement. In fact, leading IT industry analyst IDC believes that by next year, 40% of digital transformation initiatives globally will be supported by AI capabilities.

And you do not need to be a start-up or hi-tech company to embrace the possibilities of AI, just have the vision and commitment to make it happen. Take, for example, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), an 85-year-old Japanese auto manufacturer, which has given itself just two years to become a “100% digital operation” – complete with cloud-based capabilities in AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Mixed Reality (MR).

One of the initiatives they have recently implemented is an AI-powered chatbot where all its 10,000 employees can access information and assistance they need in a faster, more intuitive and reliable way. This significantly reduces the time employees spend on learning the Intranet site navigation, searching for information or calling each other for help. The company is now planning to extend chatbot technology to boost customer services, productivity, and maintenance across the whole company.

AI in 2018

As we stand at the cusp of the new year, there are four key AI developments happening over the next 12 months:

Mass adoption of AI starts from 2018: AI adoption is set to soar in 2018 and beyond when organizations start to see clear benefits being reaped by AI innovators such as MFTBC. IDC forecast that worldwide AI revenues will surge past US$46 billion in 2020[2]. Closer to home, AI investment in Asia Pacific is predicted to grow to US$6.9 billion by 2021, expanding rapidly by 73% (CAGR).

  1. Ubiquitous Virtual Assistants: We will begin to see the adoption of broad-scale AI in the form of conversational AI chatbots in both consumer and business scenarios. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions with the enterprise will be managed without a human interaction and AI will be the key technology deployed for customer service.
  1. Democratizing data and decision-making: In a world where more data exists than ever before, the ability to deliver meaningful business insights from that data to the maximum number of relevant employees becomes of paramount importance. AI will be the key technology for making that happen by bringing together data from employees, business apps, and the world.
  1. Building trusted foundations for AI: There will be increasingly more discussions at governmental and industrial levels to create formal governance and regulations in the usage of AI. We saw these discussions with the onset of eCommerce and the advent of cloud technologies. It is critical for transparent public-private conversations to take place as they will shape how AI can benefit economies and societies in a fair, transparent and trusted way.

The future of AI burns brightly and 2018 is the year that will establish a solid foundation for the mass adoption of this exciting and vital technology.

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Top 5 Noisiest Stories in 2017

Digital data authority compiles the most talked about stories in 2017

Now that we can easily identify what ticks the Filipinos interest through a study of the social media world, the internet landscape suddenly became the most important and most powerful tool that can spell the pulse of the market.

To highlight what the online platform can do to help businesses and all other sectors and industries, digital data authority Research and Tech Lab (RTL) sums up the five most trending topics that have caught the attention of millions of Filipinos this 2017.

With exactly 27, 273, 741 mentions all around the different social media platforms, MMFF2017 was the hottest topic ever discussed in Filipino social media pages. Nearly every netizen turned into movie critics and blockbuster gurus during the recent leg of the Metro Manila film festival. Undoubtedly, Filipinos’ number one mode of entertainment is movie time as more than 27 million people made sure that their insights will be heard and through their own little way influence how the movie industry will go moving forward.

Who doesn’t love weddings? This is especially true with celebrity unions and all the fancy trimmings that come with it. For 2017, the most talked about nuptial were by Anne Curtis and husband Erwan Heussaff. #TheWanForAnne gathered 11, 930, 270 social media posts. Almost 12 million netizens took part in the celebration by sharing their well wishes and the most memorable parts of the union. These numbers made the Heussaff-Curtis wedding the second most talked about event in the history of 2017.

Next most trending topic for 2017 was none other than the prestigious Miss Universe competition. 11,818,084 netizens showed their support to the pageant and the Filipino candidate through social media. This only goes to show that the country can work for a sole cause especially in assisting the Philippine candidate clinch the coveted title.

The transformation of Xander Ford on the other hand, landed him as the fourth hottest topic last 2017. His bold decisions to introduce what he says as a better version of himself triggered the social media nation to give their support or their negative reaction. He generated a total of 10,598,130 posts. You can just imagine the vast impact of his transformation that more than 10 million people have to join the bandwagon and react on his actions.

Lastly, Coldplay Manila is on the fifth spot with 1,221,430 social media mentions. More than a million Filipino fans were busy flooding their pages with what we can consider the most popular concert in 2017.

From the five most trending issues of 2017, it can be concurred that culture and family values are still part of the activities that interest Filipinos. Spending quality time watching movies, seeing stories of happily ever after and showing of Filipino pride are just some of the everyday realities that uplift and entertains every Filipino.

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Buendia Food By The Court: Play Basketball, Relax, Eat & Drink

Have you visited yet the Buendia Food By The Court in Makati City? A place where you can play basketball with your team and relax while eating your favorite nutritious and delicious food with different recipes from the food stalls in the food park. Of course, the food of your choices is great with ice cold drinks and juices to fully satisfy your cravings.

The Buendia Food By The Court is the first food park with basketball court in Makati.

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Hortikultura Festival 2018

Are you interested to celebrate the best of nature in the biggest plant show in the country?
Hortikultura will be having its grand plant festival on February 2-11 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.  Exciting activities are in store, from pocket garden set-ups, seminars, raffle to a Coachella inspired open-air event.
Do not hesitate to inquire Hortikultura about the Hortikultura’s greenery festival!