Although the United States, China, and India have started using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bangladesh only utilises the early stages of the latest version of this technology. However, there is a huge potential for the use of artificial intelligence in all parts of the country.
The increased use of online platforms such as tele-medicine services, work-from-home, video conferencing, online training, distance learning, video streaming, and use of social media for home delivery of consumer goods, Covid-19 and general health advice, commerce, education, and residential users have tremendously increased the demand for internet bandwidth.
The demand for connectivity will increase further in the coming years in order to safely navigate the pandemic. To ensure that more activities can be done from home, the application of artificial intelligence and Big Data will increase simultaneously.
To enter the global competition of artificial intelligence, it is necessary to emphasise the preparation of infrastructure and technologies conducive to the technological environment of Bangladesh. There are a few things to look for if we are to develop artificial intelligence in Bangladesh.
We must have the necessary hardware and systems. Until 2000, we developed machine learning with CPUs, but now we need to focus on graphics processing units or GPUs. Ensuring improved GPUs will bring more capability in machine learning.
Google is the reason behind the artificial intelligence skills of Facebook. Facebook is good at face detection; Google is good at spam image detection. This is detected by artificial intelligence.
But an innumerable amount of images, that is, an innumerable amount of data, are needed to enable artificial intelligence for this detection. Since Google and Facebook users are all over the world, they have a vast amount of data. That is why their artificial intelligence is extremely capable.
The youth of Bangladesh are curious about artificial intelligence. Many curious youths think that there is an opportunity to use artificial intelligence positively for the progress of the country. The number of agricultural workers in Bangladesh is 47% of the total population. But agricultural work is still nature-dependent and pesticides are being used traditionally.
There is a great potential for artificial intelligence in diagnosing crop diseases, soil conditions, and weather. The number of doctors for 160 million people in the country is only 25,000-30,000. We must increase the use of technology. Moreover, artificial intelligence can be a reliable way to reduce system losses in the industrial sector.
The United States, China, and India emphasise artificial intelligence as a way to reduce the physical labour of humans into knowledge-based labour. Artificial intelligence is already being utilised on a small scale in well-known business organisations around the world.
If Bangladesh backs away from artificial intelligence for fear of unemployment, it may fall behind the rest of the world. This advancement in technology is likely to reduce the number of manual labourers, but will expand the field of knowledge-based labour.
Artificial intelligence is all around us, even without our awareness of it. This technology is being taught to make decisions like human beings. People need it. For example, it is used in the healthcare system to provide proper health care to patients, by reducing human error. Furthermore, artificial intelligence is being used to simulate 'Drug Discovery', which prescribes a specific treatment or drug without using the drug on the patient.
Governments in developed countries use artificial intelligence in many aspects and manners, such as urban planning, mass transit systems, diversion of rivers, early detection of floods, proper distribution and use of government resources, how much pensioners may have to pay in the coming years, crime prediction, and traffic management across the city.
In addition to its use in wargaming, an idea for the use of this technology in the military has emerged in the United States, as the Third Offset Strategy. In 2016, the Pentagon spent $2 billion on the use of artificial intelligence. The thing is, we may not be able to guess how this is happening - but everything around us is changing under the influence of this artificial intelligence.
Whether we like it or not - AI is in almost everything. As we have seen - from healthcare to government work, to the transportation industry, to education - this technology is making everything easier for those who want to use it. A great deal of power is indeed in the hands of the people - very few people realise that.
Hiren Pandit is a Research Fellow, BNNRC.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.