Everything changes with time and it is natural. The development of human knowledge and creativity, innovation, newer technologies, and new economic order are changing our lives and livelihood. So, we need to adopt to these changes for our benefit.
Back in 1784, when the steam engine was invented, we entered into the first industrial revolution which entirely changed our process of production. During that time, a major part of the production was taken over by machines instead of human labour. This was a turning point in the history of industrialisation.
The second industrial revolution came in the 19th century (1870) with the advent of electricity, oil and gas. During this period, the invention of new technology boosted agricultural production; the communication system was revolutionised with the invention of the telephone and the telegraph.
The 3rd industrial revolution began in 1969 with the invention of newer sources of energy like nuclear power, the computer, semi-conductor and microchips etc. Internet and e-mail created new opportunities for the communication system. Medical technology and the pharmaceutical industry also saw progress during this time.
Currently, the digital revolution is creating a stir in the entire world. It is changing our lifestyle, activities and thoughts through technological change.
In the 3rd industrial revolution, USA, Russia, UK, China and India played a major role. Having similarities with the 3rd industrial revolution, experts say that the 4th industrial revolution will be characterised by significant industrial advancement with emerging technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), 5G, biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum compounding, fully automated vehicles and so on.
With the invention of new technologies, the patterns of production, distribution and marketing of goods are changing and establishing new economic order.
For example, in the past, we used typewriters to type our documents and kept the record in the paper. But now we are using modern computer/laptop/smartphones for typing, writing and recording our documents or to send it to others by e-mail.
The innovation of newer technologies always takes us forward and makes our lives easier.
Digital technology has created new opportunities for communication, production, business, income and employment. Many unemployed educated youths are getting jobs in IT (Information Technology) sectors. They are earning from outsourcings, e-commerce and other e-business related activities.
At present, the government has targeted more than $1 billion to earn from this sector in this financial year and more than $10 billion within the next two or three years.
Our neighbouring countries China and India are the glorious examples of success in this sector. Thus, we need to adapt and adopt the changing technology if we want to survive and cope with the competitive world and for economic development.
Currently, several institutions, industries and factories in the country have taken various steps to adopt the new technology using ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Usage of robots, AI in the production and distribution process has brought positive results.
To increase the efficiency, transparency, accountability and to provide better services to the people, Bangladesh government has been trying to introduce ICT in every institution. Steps have been taken to introduce e-learning, e-service, e-commerce, e-health, e-court to handle and curb corruption and introduce dynamism in the activities of the officials concerned.
However, the implementation of these initiatives will not be feasible if we fail to build strong IT (Information Technology) infrastructure and maintain the supply chain of material related to it along with the affordability.
Many developed and developing countries have introduced modern technologies in their educational institutions, administration, judiciary (USA, UK and India are some examples) and other productive fields. They have also accelerated their export-import capabilities, seaborne business by using ICT technology.
We have land and water resources. We have an agro-based economy, blue economy, small and cottage industry, textile, leather, jute, SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and other production-related sectors where we can apply it.
Bangladesh is now gradually moving towards industrial economy from the agricultural economy. If we can learn, motivate and utilise newly invented technologies in all sectors of the economy, we will be able to reach our desired goal of economic development.