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How Guam can keep up with the changing market amid AI revolution

Updated: May 12

 By Mar-Vic Cagurangan


Just upload the data and ask for the balance sheet with a corresponding financial analysis. And boom, in a matter of minutes, AI can produce a report that will take a CPA several weeks to prepare.

What we used to associate with sci-fi dystopias is now commonplace in our daily lives. It can be intimidating— even terrifying— but for small and large businesses, AI is increasingly becoming a crucial tool for managing certain areas of operations.

There’s no turning back on Artificial Intelligence, which is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. We can’t keep up with it and it’s impossible to predict where—or if— it will end.

Christoper Duenas

“I'm not qualified to speak to the bigger social picture but at least I could say that in the business world, we're going to get to a point where we won't talk about AI anymore. Like the internet, it's expected to be part of our daily lives,” said Christopher Duenas, chief financial officer of Triple J Enterprises.

It has been more than a year since OpenAI launched the generative AI revolution with the public release of ChatGPT, but at this point, it is still in the nascent stage of business applications. There is no better time than now to get acquainted with the tool and leverage what it can do, Duenas said.

AI is particularly useful for small businesses with limited staff, specifically in accounting, bookkeeping, human resources, customer service and marketing, Duenas added. “Right now, if you just think about the world of accounting, it's the people going to a software, creating transactions,” he said.

Using AI, Duenas said, “I'll take some of our financial statements and just throw them in” and “I might just have a voice conversation back and forth.”

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The tool eliminates the need for an accountant to sort through all the data, significantly streamlining the analysis-reporting process.

“Triple J has multiple businesses in different industries, and I don't always have time to do a deep dive,” Duenas said.

The final product still needs to be double-checked by human eyes and the level of accuracy “depends on the job that you're giving it,” Duenas said. “But it’s getting better.”

And like a human, AI can be instructed to practice diligence. “I don't want you to make things up if you're not sure, tell me you're not sure. So it's just you telling the software,” Duenas said.


AI can also perform personnel hiring functions. “Small businesses have just a handful of employees They don't hire an HR manager. The owner does everything,” he said. “If you want to draft an offer letter for an employee, an AI tool with a large language model is able to type in an offer letter.”

AI’s ability to generate visuals tailored to business needs can ease the load of a marketing job. “AI tools now allow you to create images of whatever you describe,” Duenas said. “Within two minutes, I have an image that can be used in a social media post, instead of hiring a graphic designer for a hundred dollars an hour. There's no licensing issues and it gets the job done.”

Amid the rise of cybercrimes and DeepFakes, managing the risks of using AI can be challenging, and taking caution is imperative. “Privacy is always a concern. When I'm talking to AI, where's that information going?” Duenas said.

“The AI industry is very aware of this and they're trying to build guardrails around the whole thing. There are paid plans where you can say, ‘I don't want you to ever share my data with anybody.’”

Cost reduction resulting from AI applications can be difficult to quantify but cost containment is easy to project. “If I were to rewind 12 months or maybe 18 months and we did not have AI, I might have hired one more employee,” Duenas said.

“The fact that the cost didn't go up when it would have otherwise, that's a cost reduction in my mind. Because if it weren't for the AI tool, I probably would have had to hire one more person and pay them $35,000 to $45,000 a year.”

Instead of hiring “somebody doing a little bit of everything,” Duenas said, “now I know that a little bit of everything can be done by AI.

As a result, the personnel cost is maintained at a certain level. “At the end of the day, a business is going to do what it needs to do to stay in business and to turn a profit,” Duenas said. “I don't think you can stop the economics of that—the capitalism. 

\What is AI? AI is a broad term that refers to computer software that engages in humanlike activities, including learning, planning and problem-solving. Calling specific applications “artificial intelligence” is like calling a car a “vehicle.” It’s technically correct, but it doesn’t cover the specifics. Machine learning or ML is one of the most common types of AI being developed for business purposes. It is primarily used to process large amounts of data quickly. ML-based AI includes algorithms that appear to “learn” over time. In other words, if you feed an ML algorithm more data, its modeling should improve. (Source:


But for every job taken over by AI, an employee cut out of the job market ends up standing in line for public assistance. The rise of the AI species is feared to result in an apocalypse of sorts, potentially rendering the human race irrelevant.

 While acknowledging the growing concerns, Duenas said employees have the option to stay relevant. “If you look at two people doing the same job, I don't think you have to worry about AI taking your job,” he said. “I think you have to worry about someone who knows AI taking your job.”

Certain positions may go the way of the dinosaurs, but new jobs are bound to emerge. “There are already a lot of jobs for things like prompt engineering or AI officers. These and other kinds of jobs are created because of the AI industry,” Duenas said.

 While some jobs may not be eliminated on the spot, Duenas said, they will probably evolve into something different. “I would encourage all people to be comfortable with the tool so that you become more valuable to the organization,” he said. “I think that's one way to kind of help you keep your relevance.


As a finance person, Duenas said his own job is at stake. “The main reason why I want to learn this is because I want to remain relevant,” he said. “I want to teach our staff because I want them to remain relevant.”

In terms of government operations, AI may be the solution to shrink costly bureaucracy.

Duenas said the Department of Revenue and Taxation, for example, would largely benefit from AI's ability to perform communication functions. “If I were to use AI in the government, I'd dump all the revenue tax rules and regulations and information into one AI box and I'll just let that be the interface so if the public has questions, the answer is going to be there for one or 10,000 people.” 

AI would be an ideal tool to cut government costs, but whether government leaders are willing to take the plunge is a different story. “The government is such a hard animal to predict. They'll create jobs just for the sake of creating jobs,” Duenas said. “Even before AI, there's just so many things they were able to do already that they're not doing.”


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