Innovation

Enriching Bangla digitally

Dr Khan Md Anwarus Salam

1 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Enriching Bangla digitally

Convention of NRB (Non-Resident Bangladeshi) Engineers or ‘CONE 2019’ has been organized with the blessing of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, under the leadership of National Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury.

In that convention, NRB Engineers expressed the love for Bangladesh and urged the prime minister that NRB Engineers always seek opportunities to give back to Bangladesh.

During the CONE 2019 convener Azadul Haq expressed the goal that we want to stop brain-drain and help Bangladesh in brain-gain.

Prof Choudhury guided the NRB Engineers to set measurable targets and start taking small steps from now so that every year in the CONE convention we can measure how much NRB Engineers invested or took initiative to make an impact in Bangladesh with the number of NRB Engineers who returned to Bangladesh.

The NRB engineers who participated in the CONE convention saw the dream to get united and help Bangladesh together to have a higher impact in helping Bangladeshi society.

After the CONE 2019 the convener Azadul Haq who worked in NASA returned to Bangladesh and joined Max Group (Power) as CEO, to set a brilliant example. Following his footstep, some other Bangladeshi NRB Engineers also returned to Bangladesh.

This article author who worked for Google and IBM Research Tokyo also came back to Bangladesh for setting up an AI Academy to develop Bangla with artificial intelligence.

Establishing AI Academy for crafting Bangla language with artificial intelligence

Goal of AI Academy

Bangladesh government has taken an initiative to the Development of National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. To realize any such national strategy we need to improve our academic research environment to be the true leader in AI in the world.

Researchers with industry experience should take the lead but almost no researchers with PhD and industry experience work full time in the Bangladeshi tech industry.

As a nation, we could not nurture our homegrown researchers either on a bigger scale. That is why Dream Door Soft has been taken the initiative to establish AI Academy in collaboration with NTT advanced technology Japan to educate the Bangladeshi youths with hands-on fourth industrial revolution technologies in artificial intelligence with robotic process automation tools.

They will also get the internship opportunity to work in national and international projects under the supervision of experts around the world who are really leading AI revolution in the world.

Besides, helping leading tech giants in developing AI solutions for the Bangla language, Dream Door Soft is collaborating with national and international universities to make this AI academy as the heart of center of excellence in the world for Bangla language processing.

In recent years new technologies like data science, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, cyber security and blockchain are making disruption in businesses. Organizations are also facing a lot of challenges to adopt those new technologies.

As these new technologies are very different than conventional technologies it is very important to have a national AI strategy for giving direction to the higher management of the organization to understand the challenges and take proper strategies that could help the country, not only to survive, but to sustain and grow businesses.

That is why DDS AI Academy wants to educate the youths and the relevant top management in this new AI era with the goal of leading in implementation of the 4th Industrial Revolution from Bangladesh.

Importance

In research, following the international standard on data is very important. In research, standing on the shoulders of giants is a metaphor which means ‘Using the understanding gained by major thinkers who have gone before in order to make intellectual progresses.

Its most familiar expression in English is by Isaac Newton in 1675: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”. In my experience, the Bangladeshi industry and the research community lack this understanding. That is why almost no one could collaborate to challenge the world by achieving global standards in developing revolutionary AI solutions for the Bangla language.

As AI system usable corpus and meaningful data resources are not available for Bangla, it is still considered as low-resource language. So far Bangladeshi Bangla researchers could not collaborate because of the lack of any good national strategy in data sharing. Neither could they catch up with the global data-sharing platforms. That is why most global AI NLP systems never supported Bangla before Google.

Google Experience in Bangladesh

With my decades of research experience for Bangla as a low-resource language, I had the opportunity to work in Google as the Country Engineering Consultant for Bangladesh to add Bangla language support in different Google products like Google Translate, Bangla Voice Recognition, Bangla Text-to-Speech, Bangla Optical Character Recognition and Bangla Handwriting Recognition. In 2015, I proposed Google to create Google Developer Group (GDG) Bangla for developing a platform for Bangla language lovers.

As a first assignment GDG Bangla took a voluntary initiative by arranging events to create awareness among Bangladeshi youths to improve the Google Translate by contributing translation examples.

Bangladesh State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak came forward to take this initiative into the next level. In the independence day of 2015 with the promotional support of Bangladeshi ICT ministry thousands of volunteers contributed around 0.7 million Bangla words and phrases to Google Translate by breaking a world record.

This contribution has been showcased in international Google Developer Convention and asked other GDGs to break the Bangladesh record. But so far no one could break the record as in terms of loving our mother language Bangladeshis are always the pioneer.

This was a wonderful example that with the collaboration of the government, if Bangladeshi youths come together they have the potential to reach the sky!

Platform for Researchers

There are only 26 researchers working in Bangladesh who are in the top 2 percent scientists’ world ranking by the newly released Stanford University 2020 report.

Only 2 researchers are from networking and Telecommunication background. Bangladesh should celebrate achievement hugely to inspire the next generation to join them in the near future who can actually lead to building AI-driven digital Bangladesh 2.0.

However, there are many NRB Engineers and researchers working abroad who are in the top 2 percent of scientists world ranking but still unknown to Bangladesh. Moreover, many Bangladeshis working in tech giant companies also want to help Bangladesh but cannot always find a meaningful way. Dream Door Soft is discovering them and building relationships with them to create this AI Academy as a platform for them to guide Bangladeshi youths in building required skills for this new AI era.

Starting of the DDS AI Academy

From this February Dream Door Soft started registration for its first pilot training on Artificial Intelligence with Robotic Process Automation, Chatbot Development and Natural Language Processing. Fresher students can apply for scholarships in exchange for an internship in Dream Door Soft.

Bangladeshi corporate and SMEs interested in implementing AI solutions with RPA as POC can also get subsidy in training their employees. Those who are interested to join the training can register in Dream Door Soft Website: www.dreamdoorsoft.com

 

Writer Khan Md Anwarus Salam is Director at Dream Door Soft Ltd who has work experience with IBM Research Tokyo as a research scientist with natural language processing for robots. Before that, during 2014 - 2016 he worked as a country engineering consultant for Google in Bangladesh.

 


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