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UnionBank explores new use cases for generative AI via ‘Hack the Future: GenAI Hackathon’

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) has emerged as a prominent technology in 2020, revolutionizing various industries and reshaping human life. The increasing adoption of generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard in the workplace, in the classroom setting, and even just in the way people transact and consume content has experienced unprecedented disruption.

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently conducted a week-long internal hackathon called “HACK THE FUTURE: GenAI Hackathon.” The event brought together UnionBankers from different units of the Bank to explore and co-create new use cases for GenAI and find new ways for the game-changing technology to benefit organizations and the country as a whole. The hackathon was held from May 30 to June 02 at the UnionBank Plaza in Pasig City.

Conducted in partnership with Microsoft, the hackathon aimed to familiarize participants with tools like Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service for GenAI applications. Participants were tasked with identifying problems or opportunities suitable for GenAI, conceptualizing solutions, and developing prototypes to pitch before a panel of experts.

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In addition, the hackathon also emphasized the responsible uses of AI, considering the concerns related to security, privacy, and intellectual property ownership surrounding the technology.

During the opening ceremony for the hackathon last May 30, Microsoft Philippines Chief Executive Officer Peter Maquera highlighted the growing impact of GenAI on many aspects of creativity and productivity, causing disruption and in turn, uncertainty.

“Not only is it analyzing content, but it’s also coming back with new content. And that’s what a lot of people are really scared about, because it’s coming out with things that they didn’t anticipate,” Maquera said during his presentation.

Meanwhile, UnionBank Chief Technology and Operations Officer Dennis Omila urged the participants to share their learnings with other UnionBankers from different departments to encourage the use of generative AI in the workplace in a way that will help employees do their tasks more efficiently and allow them to be more productive.

He also underscored the importance of human-centricity when it comes to developing solutions using AI, saying that using the technology should not result in the loss of the human touch when used to complete tasks, which the bank refers to as “High-Tech and High-Touch.”

“AI should help us to be better at what we do, which is why we should develop capabilities for AI to be more human-centric, because at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, and we must not lose the human touch in the process of bettering ourselves,” Dennis said.

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