Tech Post

Smart Bangladesh and 4th Industrial Revolution : Opportunities and Challenges

Published : 24 Jul 2023 08:46 PM
The 4th Industrial  Revolution and  the 'Smart Bangladesh' are the current trends in the use of high technology which has influenced many services in this age of globalization. Likewise, the functions of Smart Bangladesh and its practices have been strongly influenced by the 4th Industrial Revolution .
With the usage of innovative technologies and trends like robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet  of Things  (IoT), the 4th Industrial Revolution  is transforming the day-to-day activites in every sphere of lives. It has a great impact on automated work. The rapid growth  of digitaization and automation will  have an enormous influence in making "Smart Bangladesh". Opportunities in functions and services of future Smart Bangladesh's improvement are delineated.
Bangladesh is a third world country that is developing . In spite of its being a small country with a huge sum of people, it has been able to gain a strong ground among other countries of the world in respect to socio-economic advancement. Bangladesh is known as a rising tiger of the Asia. Bangladesh is on an unstoppable journey towards becoming a developed country by 2041, and the concept of a 'Smart Bangladesh' is central to achieving this goal. 

The government of  Bangladesh has taken initiative to build a "Smart Bangladesh " based on advanced information technology in the country.
'Smart Citizen ', 'Smart Economy' , 'Smart Government' and 'Smart Society'- these four pillars are fixed to transform the country into 'Smart Bangladesh'.  Honourable  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced that Bangladesh will turn into 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041. Every citizen will be skilled in using technology; economic activities will run through using technology; government will be technologically smart; the whole society will be technologically smart; and that Bangladesh will be a 'Smart Bangladesh' . 
The word 'SMART' consists of five letters where 'S' stands for specific,'M' for measurable ,  'A' for achievable, 'R' for realistic and 'T' for timely .The term 'Smart Bangladesh' refers to the use of  technology and innovative approaches to improve the lives of the populations of this country . In smart Bangladesh everything will be done technologically where the citizens will be efficient in using technology .This  vision aims to creat new economic opportunities for all citzens. 
The first goal of Smart Bangladesh is to build skilled human resources . Bangladesh is moving forward to the path of development with the aim that the youth of this country should not only be educated in certificate based education but also become skilled human resources in technical education.
Bangladesh has accomplished the aim of "Digital Bangladesh '' through establishing  four-lane highway, six- lane highway, Metro Rail , Karnafuli Tunnel ,Ruppur Neuclear Power  Plant  , Bangabandhu  Satellite , online activities of the students , the laptop support program for the students . Now the aim is to accomplish "Smart Bangladesh '' that is being implemented by the ICT Divison.

The key features of  Smart Bangladesh includes  the following four elements of changes:
 (a) Smart Government: It's an approach to public administration that involves technology to improve the efficiency, and effectiveness of government services. Its aim is to creat more connected transparent government by using data and information technology.

 (b) Smart Citizen : It refers to the digitally literate persons who take advantage of technology in order to engage in smart city environment . Smart Citizen empower communities to better understand their environment by offering data production and management . Smart citizens are active digital citizens who contribute by providing their data, particiapte in e-governance and become parts of connected communities. 

(c) Smart Society: Smart society is a concept that describes a society that levarages technology and innovations to improve the quality of life for its citizens. Smart Society focuses on the use of technology to aid human activities ,especially in urban areas . A Smart Society should not only embrace technology but also decisively eradicate every single socital ill. 

(d) Smart Economy: Smart Economy emphasizes the use of digital technologies such as block chain , artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of economic process. It is technology based, closely connected and using ICT applications for economic advancement , urban planning and public health improvement . Smart Economy is expected to generate more products and services with less energy and pollution and create social benefits.

Across all the pillars of changes ,the target of buildinging a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041 is divided by three main programs . They are:
(1 ) Immidiate target (by 2025)
(2) Short to mid- term target (between 2025-31)
(3) Mid to long term target ( post 2031).

There are various opportunities of Smart Bangladesh like:- Digital economy , improved public services, increased efficiency , better disaster management, enhanced connectivity, education and skill development , developed health sector, inclusive economy etc. 
There are some challenges towrads buliding a Smart Bangladesh like:- infrustructure , digital literacy  , privacy and security ,cost , inclusivity , insufficient power supply, inadequate  regulatory framework, limited access to funding , lack of public awareness etc .So the ultimate vision of Smart Bangladesh aims at developing an education  system that can equip people at all level in public and private sector to make the full use of digital and 4th IR technologies. 
The term 4th Industrial Revoultion was coined by Klaus Schwab , the founder of the World Economic Forum and an academician . In 2016 he defined the 4th IR as a technological revolution that is blurring the lines between the physical ,digital and biological spheres .The integration of the physical world with the computer world is rigtly defined in the example of 'genome sequence'. Aartificial  intelligence ,robotics ,Internet of Things ( IoT) ,Cognitive Computing , Cloud  Computing ,5G, Quantum  Computing  , Technology  based agriculture ,Smart  Farming ,biotechnology ,and nanotechnology are at the heart of this 4th Industrial Revolution.
The 4th IR is divided into three categories which are physical , digital and biological.
 'Physical' includes intelligent robots, autonomus drones, autodriven  cars, 3D printing , Smart Sensors etc. 'Digital' includes internet of things (IoT), services, data etc. And 'Biological' includes synthetic biology ,individual genetic make-up etc.
 The 1st IR ( invention of steam engine), 2nd IR (invention of electricity ) and the 3rd IR ( invention of  telecommunications) substitute the humans but not their thinking ,whereas the 4th IR substitutes human thinking. The World Economic Forum observed that ,in the future ,artificial intelligence (AI) would become the ideal personal assistant performing better than humans and be available to all.

The 4th Industrial  Revolution makes lives better , easier , and more productive but it will be a threat to the job market of the general people because many of the people may lose their jobs because of the substituition of human labour by artificial intelligence. For example, recently we have watched 'Aparazita' to become the first ever artificial news presenter in the histry of Bangladesh .

 We should be aware of the trend of 4th IR and also should have positive attitude to embrace the requisite ICT skills to face the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolutions and 'Smart Bangladesh'.

Mahabub Alam
Department of Public Administration 
University of  Dhaka.
Mobile: 01924055920