DOST-ASTI teams up with National University and Bicol University to bring iTANONG AI System to Filipinos
Manila, PH — The Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) has joined forces with the National University and Bicol University to encourage the adoption of the iTANONG AI system and the E-Participation Project’s BOSES KO toolkit. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on 12 May 2023 at the DOST-ASTI Building in UP Technology Park Complex, Diliman, Quezon City.
The iTANONG project, titled "A Natural Language Interface to Databases for Filipinos," is an AI application utilizing cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) technologies. It allows users to access information stored in databases and generate insights by simply typing requests or questions in Filipino, English, or Taglish. The E-Participation 2.1 Project, a collaboration between NU, BU, and the Commission on Higher Education, aims to harness NLP for community participation. The BOSES KO toolkit is an AI and Machine Learning (ML) application that enables real-time data collection and analysis in an inclusive, deliberative, and multilingual manner, supporting Ilocano, Bicolano, Tagalog, and English languages.
The MOU's objective is to encourage the adoption of iTANONG and BOSES KO in universities, colleges, local government units, and public and private sectors to further advance science and technology while fostering innovation. The MOU also seeks to identify research areas, applications, and potential integration of iTANONG and BOSES KO, as well as develop research proposals, joint projects, and collaborative R&D to bolster ICT industrial competitiveness. The partnership is expected to enhance public awareness and establish effective networks among key stakeholders and interested parties.
Dr. Franz A. de Leon, Director of DOST-ASTI, highlighted the potential impact of this public-private collaboration in his welcome remarks. He stated, "The iTANONG AI system and the E-Participation 2.1 project can revolutionize the way we access and interact with information, making it more accessible to end-users, especially for Filipinos who may have difficulty with English or technical language."
National University President, Dr. Renato Carlos H. Ermita Jr., shared his excitement and commitment to this partnership. In his message, Dr. Ermita said, "We see an alignment of objectives with this project, especially since the two major core values of National University are innovation and patriotism. It is important to us that every endeavor we undertake contributes to concrete examples of how we can link or align knowledge and technology with community development, using technology for the betterment of our country."
In a recorded video message, Dr. Baby Boy Benjamin D. Nebres III, SUC President IV, Bicol University, said, "This latest endeavor, as part of the e-Participation 2.1 project, is a much-welcomed aspect. It is highly relevant, particularly because artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, alongside inclusive, deliberate, and multilingual data collection and analysis, offer the whole package. So, in its completeness and utility, it becomes a one-stop-shop toolkit. These are the innovations we are looking for as we move towards building sustainable societies as part of our vision for a university for humanity. I fervently hope that this partnership will redound to an even better productive relationship towards collective service."
The signing of this MOU marks a significant milestone in public-private cooperation and engagement between DOST-ASTI, National University, and Bicol University. It is in line with DOST's mandate to conduct scientific research and development in advanced fields of ICT and electronics while modernizing science and technology infrastructures. This collaboration has the potential to provide valuable insights for the iTANONG AI system, helping DOST-ASTI and its partners achieve their long-term goals of promoting inclusive growth, innovation, ICT diffusion, and the development of enabling policies.
The MOU signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Glendora Tiu, Director of Academe Industry Linkage and Placement of National University; Dr. Mideth B. Abisado, Project Lead of e-Participation 2.1 from National University; and Ms. Joanna G. Syjuco, Chief Science Research Specialist and Chief of the Computer Software Division who delivered the closing remarks. Dr. Lany L. Maceda, Project Lead of e-Participation 2.1 from Bicol University; President Dr. Renato Carlos H. Ermita Jr., President of National University; Dr. Baby Boy Benjamin D. Nebres III, SUC President IV of Bicol University; Mr. Rommel R. Serrano, CESO III, Regional Director of DOST RO V; and Mr. Elmer C. Peramo, Senior Science Research Specialist and Project Lead of the iTANONG Project, joined the MOU signing via web conferencing.
For more information about the iTANONG R&D Project, please visit https://asti.dost.gov.ph/projects/itanong/.