Get prepared for 4IR: Experts

The country’s young people will have to be trained with updated and modern technology-based knowledge to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), experts said on Tuesday. They came up with the observation at a Business Luncheon titled ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution- Preparation’ organised by Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), at the Westin Dhaka in Gulshan of the capital.

Otherwise, a large number of young people in the country will become jobless as the updated and modern technology is set to replace them in the workplace, they cautioned. They also urged the people to get prepared for the fourth industrial revolution. However, if people, who either are in job now or seeking job obtain training on fourth industrial revolution and have adequate knowledge on it, they will not lose job.

Rather, they will have more worth and be more capable to contribute to their respective industries and the nation as well. But in this context, the country’s Readymade Garment (RMG), sector which now contributes about 76 percent of the export earnings, will have to face a serious disaster as the foreign countries will not express interest to purchase accessories from here as there will be automated machines.

And these automated machines will make thousands of RMG accessories without the help of any worker. As a result, the foreign countries, which are now purchasing RMG accessories from Bangladesh, and other countries at cheap rate due to very low cost worker wages, will not continue. Syed Almas Kabir, President of BASIS and Vice President of BMCCI presented the keynote paper on the occasion and highlighted the preparation of Bangladesh to face the challenge.

In his presentation, Almas Kabir said, the destructive effect as is the focus of most analysts is the replacement of labour by technology, with an associated reduction in labour demand, wages and employment. Citing different economists, the BMCCI vice president said, “On an average, 35 percent of core skills across countries and industries will change between 2015 to 2020.”

He pointed out that 60 percent of children entering school today would work in jobs that do not yet exist, 47 percent of all American job functions could be automated within 20 years. He also said 100 million global knowledge-based workers could be affected by robotic process automation by 2025, about 10 percent of labor would be displaced by intelligent automation, and new job creation will offset losses.

Mentioning different reports and Access to Information (A2i) research, Almas Kabir said, In Bangladesh, 60 percent workers of Readymade Garments, 35 percent workers of Leather sector and 20 percent workers of Tourism sector will lose their existing jobs by 2030, adding, around 1.4 million jobs of furniture sector as well as 0.6 million jobs of agro-processing industry will also vanish.

To get success from the 4RI he recommended developing education, increasing mental capacity, practice creative knowledge, and use new technology.
In his speech as the chief guest, Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Advisor Salman F Rahman emphasized on preparation for Fourth Industrial Revolution. The advisor urged the Bangladeshi business leaders to prepare themselves to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
He said, “The challenges to be created due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be extremely tough.”

The advisor said, “It is true that we have come so far because of the leadership, wisdom and vision of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She brought into us a belief in Bangladesh and feeling for Bangladesh as well.” Rahman also said, the fourth industrial revolution is taking place and people now resort to artificial intelligence and the internet of things to control the supply chain network, adding, we need to adopt and model our own network in line with those latest technologies.

In his speech, Acting High Commissioner of Malaysia, Amirfarid Abu Hasan also emphasized skilled manpower. He said, “due to industrial revolution in developed countries, currently new employment opportunities are being created, alongside with traditional professions being abolished. Already, the negative impact of automation has fallen in the ASEAN countries; as a result, a large number of people have become jobless.”

He suggested that all involved researchers, innovators, policy makers and citizens be well informed and adequately trained to ensure that we build a better future. BMCCI members, presidents of leading Chambers and Associations, bankers, government officials, business leaders, media personalities, and journalists took part in the Business Luncheon.