With the theme "Enabling the Positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All", World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is being observed today (Thursday) in Bangladesh along with other countries in the globe.
In observance of the Day in a befitting manner, the Posts and Telecommunications Division and its affiliate organizations have chalked out elaborate programmes.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday issued separate messages on the eve of the day.
They called upon all concerned to make more meaningful contributions for ensuring utmost use of telecommunication for development and progress of the country.
President Hamid said the present government declared Vision-2021 to reach the benefits of information technology and telecommunication to the people in all areas of the country.
"I am happy to know that the country is going ahead with the development of telecommunication system and its expansion to achieve this vision," he added.
Terming this year's theme as time-befitting, the President said the society has entered into the era of artificial intelligence which has a dominating role in everywhere including smart phone, factories and communication. So, proper use of artificial intelligence for the welfare of the people is important, he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said telecommunication and ICT sector has witnessed a massive development over the last nine years. The government has implemented programmes for ICT infrastructure development and ensuring extensive use of technology to reach benefits of ICT to every corner of society," she said.
The prime minister said increasing internet density and capacity of submarine cable, installation of new submarine cables and all other services of the telecommunication sector have been made modern and time-befitting.
An ICT-friendly policy has already been formulated, she said, adding that the country's 99 percent area is now under mobile network.
"Mobile phone users are getting improved telecommunication services and 4G technology has been introduced," she said.
'Bangabandhu Satellite-1' will help build a revolutionary development in the communication sector, the prime minister added.
She said the government has brought all upazilas under optical fibre connectivity, set up "district information centre" in each district and "union information and service centre" in each union of the country.
"Implementation of these programmes in the ICT sector has open up a new window of enormous possibilities in all sectors, including education, health, trade-commerce and social communication," she said, adding that new employment opportunities have been created for the young generation.
Both the President and the Prime Minister wished success of the day's programmes.
The 2018 theme of WTISD will allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities for how AI can help accelerate the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
To mark the day, a rally and road show would be brought out from the IEB Bhaban at 11am tomorrow which is scheduled to parade different streets in the city.
Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar will inaugurate the event.
Well-decorated vehicles of mobile phone operators and different organizations will take part in the rally.
Besides, a seminar based on the theme of WTISD-2018 will be organized tomorrow in city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
Academics, ICT experts, representatives of mobile phone operators and officials concerned will take part in the seminar.
Special supplements would be published in the national daily newspapers while all the television channels would air special programs.
In observance of the day International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao issued a message.
He said Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is taking center stage with a lot of impact on people's lives.
"AI's potential power is being exploited and developed at an unprecedented speed. AI brings us many opportunities and challenges. AI will greatly change our economy and society," he added.
ITU, in its role of Specialized UN Agency for ICT services and technologies, wishes to work with Academia, researchers, industries, Administrations and Governments, UN Agencies, as well as other stakeholders and partners, to facilitate the AI development, to bring the benefits of AI to all, said Houlin Zhao.
In recent years there has been significant progress in AI technology, made possible by tremendous advances in contributing fields, such as Big Data, machine learning, computing power, storage capacity and cloud computing, among others. AI-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture, transportation, and a wide range of other services.
WTISD-18 will coincide with the second edition of the Artificial Intelligence for Good Global Summit at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.