The world has undergone many transformations riding on the back of new ideas and invention and the lives of the people have transformed many times. From the Dark Ages to the Age of Enlightenment and then to the Age of Science and Technology, people’s lives have acquired different meanings along with how they lived. Men once spent much of their time hunting and looking for food, and eating them raw. But all that changed with the invention of fire. And then more inventions changed human lives even more.
The first industrial revolution that began in 18th century with the invention of steam power that mechanised production had changed the world by transforming business, economics, and society. In the second industrial revolution electric power was used to create mass production. Then the third used electronics and information technology to automate production. And now the fourth industrial revolution is building on the digital revolution. Innovation and application of things like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, big data, internet of things etc. are set to bring about a tremendous change in the world.In the fourth industrial revolution it is almost certain that the demand for manual labour will decrease to a large extent. With the growing rise in application of artificial intelligence through robot both in factory production and service delivery, the need for manual labour will continue to decrease. It is a cause for serious concern for Bangladesh because our major economic sectors (such as RMG, foreign remittance) are driven by manual labourers. If machine takes over the job of these unskilled or low-skilled labourers both at home and abroad, we will be in serious problem, both economically and socially.
But it is reassuring that the present government has undertaken various programmes to convert the country’s huge population into human resources. The benefits are already visible. IT savvy youth added a new dimension in remittance flow by working as freelancers.
The government is establishing 39 high-tech or software technology parks in various parts of the country to further accelerate the initiative to create skilled manpower in IT sector. Besides, specialised labs and ICT related coursers are being introduced in universities to prepare the youth so that they can live up the demand of the fourth industrial revolution.
In this regard, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy’s recent comment is uplifting. Joy, who kick-started digital revolution in Bangladesh has expressed hope that Bangladesh will be a key leader in 4th industrial revolution. The country looks up to his guidance in this field.