JR Ignacio

Chief Technologist, dentsu mcgarrybowen, Philippines

The Dentsu Creative Academy is a platform offering learning modules and creative inspiration for all Dentsu Aegis Network employees. Interviews are featured to promote new modules as they are launched on the platform, to get know our people, and to connect our colleagues around the world.

This month’s interview features JR Ignacio​, Chief Technologist from the Philippines. JR has curated the AI & Machine Learning module and responded to the below interview on the topic.

First up, what are the advantages of using AI & Machine Learning technology in our business?

One of the primary advantages of using AI & ML is the speed at which we can now make sense of significant amounts of data. It's great for finding and using patterns at scale. We can also use it to help us wrap our minds around more complex challenges.

The other advantage is that AI & ML is not a single solution. There is a myriad of tools like language translation, image detection, speech recognition, natural language processing, and predictive modelling, just to name a few. By using any combination of these with our current ideas, we are able to come up with unique solutions we previously thought impossible.

How has AI & Machine learning affected Creativity?

AI & ML has given us another set of tools for solving today's problems in new and creative ways. A great example is Project Revoice) which combined assistive technology and machine learning to give ALS patients their voice back.

New forms of interactive content have also started to emerge. There are now tools like Magenta where you can make music and art using machine learning. The demos show a wide variety of what can be created, but I think there's a lot more that can be done with it.

AmazonAppleFacebookGoogle and Microsoft have also made AI & ML accessible to more and more people. They've created content hubs that showcase some exceptional use cases. Some of them even provide tools so we can try and experiment directly on a web browser.

However, we're just starting to scratch the surface on what's possible with AI & ML. A lot of the ideas we have now are focused on using it for executions. But, I believe once we start using AI & ML more and more to define and understand today's problems, we will be able to create new classes of solutions soon.

Artificial intelligence is continuing to evolve, but what do you feel is the best current example of AI?

The best example of AI for me is when it has become somewhat invisible to users. And today, it's almost everything you can do with your phone. It's when a crooked photo you took gets straightened with just a single tap. It's when you have an appointment, and your phone tells you how to get there and when's the best time to leave so you won't be late. It's when it can automagically recommend you the music you'd like to listen to or the shows you'd like to watch. It's when you can just type a date, a name or an object and the phone will help you find the photo you're looking for.

What is the most memorable project you’ve worked on at Dentsu Jayme Syfu and why?

Gabbie: The anti-sexual harassment chatbot

It's one of the few projects where we were able to use relatively new technology (in this case, chatbots) in solving a particular problem. What's also great is that it involved a lot of collaboration across different departments. It was a technology solution, but at the same time, a creative solution. We carefully crafted the chatbot's persona, wrote its language mindfully, and designed the experience with the user in mind. And I'm proud to say that after two and a half years, it's still in use.

What is one form of AI that you could not live without?

For me, it's being able to put words in a box and instantly find what I'm looking for. I use it on all of my devices — for launching apps, opening documents, recalling notes I've written and photos I've taken. But most importantly, I use it to look for answers to the seemingly endless questions our 8-year old asks. And now, I can do it without lifting a finger.

Do you have any tips to stay motivated when working from home?

First, be kind to yourself. Everything is new, so you're bound to make mistakes. Don't compare your productivity now with how it was before the pandemic hit. Allow yourself to grow, learn and adapt to the new environment. Next, be kind to the people you work with. Genuinely ask your team how they are. Like you, everyone is trying to adjust in the best way they can. Setting aside time to talk with your teammates helps us remember we're still interacting with humans and not just screens or voices — that we aren't alone. Finally, be kind to the people you live with, especially if you're with family. Appreciate the additional time that you can spend with them.