Accelerating the Application of Artificial Intelligence



International Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The recent visit of OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, whose company deals with artificial intelligence technologies and has created ChatGPT, to India and his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi coincides with three important developments. Firstly, Sam Altman’s interaction with the Prime Minister and industry leaders comes at a time when India is Council Chair of the 25 nation Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). Secondly, India is in the process of drafting Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulations through the Digital India Bill, which has been under work for the past one year now. And thirdly, Altman’s interaction while focusing largely on artificial intelligence (AI), also touched upon the need for its global regulation, which is especially significant because the Indian government is looking for conversational AI tools to assist in its administrative tasks. India is pushing to put digital technologies at the core of its inclusive development, in part through widespread internet access and one of the world’s most affordable data pricing schemes. From aid for the farmers in learning about different government schemes, to understanding customer grievances, improving the delivery of health and security services, the government is looking to AI as an enabling solution to help with citizen-focused duties. Altman has lauded India’s efforts in building technology such as UPI, Aadhaar, and the India stack.

When it comes to AI, information, there is a lot of noise and it is clickbaity, but the discussions around AI’s implications must be coherent with initiative coming from the government. The most critical things about AI technology is safety and security and it is important to start considering how AI touches the rest of the portfolios, – AI & cybersecurity, AI & open source, AI & space, etc. So there is a need to look at it not just by itself, but as part of a holistic technology ecosystem.

India has been a paradox. The country developed advanced digital computers quite early and has highly advanced and cost-effective space programmes. Yet until just a few decades ago, the nation lagged in its digital transformation and accessibility. In fact during his interaction with CEOs, Altman also alluded to a lack of infrastructure in India, claiming that it would be impossible to create a tool like ChatGPT for a user in India since doing so would necessitate the development of a specific type of infrastructure.

On the other hand, India possesses unique strengths related to AI technologies, not the least is that Indian companies were ranked second in AI adoption in the Asia Pacific region. AI involving big data analytics, machine learning and data analytics are enhancing performance in key sectors of education, healthcare, agriculture, and governance. India’s thriving start-up ecosystem has dozens of unicorns deploying AI-powered tools in their core services. Globally, India is on top for skill penetration and an AI-ready market valued at $6.4 billion. There are over 4,500 Artificial Intelligence startups in India with different types of applications and parameters. India’s public and private sectors have produced AI-powered tools that improve the delivery of health and security services. For instance, AgNext Technologies deploys AI-based solutions across the global agricultural value chain. Data Science Wizards (DSW) is a Data Science platform and solutions company that provides AI and data analytics platforms and solutions to enterprises for data-driven decision-making. E-khool LMS was founded to create a one-stop advanced AI integrated learning management system useful for schools, universities, corporate and training academies. Synapsica has developed spine AI algorithms, can identify key vertebral points, listhesis, pathologies, and variations and generate preliminary reports in just a click.

Across India, 25 Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH) are promoting the development of emerging technologies to empower national initiatives in crucial areas. Over 500 technological products, including dozens of emerging technologies have been established using TIHs. India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had earlier launched its Bhashini programme to enable easy access to the Internet, digital services and more content for all Indians in their own languages, using AI powered tools. Numerous startups such as Gnaani, Reverie, and Devanagiri have made powerful strides in addressing language challenges

According to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, AI has the potential to add approximately US$ 957 billion or 15% of the current gross value to the country’s economy in 2035. AI expenditure in India is estimated to surge at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39% between 2019-25 to reach US$ 11,781 million by 2025.

PM Modi has been on point in terms of trying to establish top-down guidance on AI policy. He has spoken several times of the goal to make India a global leader in responsible AI for social empowerment and inclusion, “We want India to become the global hub of AI… Our bright minds are already working towards it.”

Leadership in India has been taking steps towards policy formulation around AI. With National Programme on AI in place and a National Data Governance Framework Policy and one of world’s largest publicly accessible data sets programme, which aims to modernise the government’s data collection, to improve governance and to enable an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-led research and start up ecosystem in the country.

During his India tour, Altman stated that AI adoption would lead to job losses. Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar believes that although AI is disruptive, it is unlikely to create any threat in the job sector in the immediate future because its application for the time being is task-oriented and not based on reasoning, “It is possible that over the next five-ten years the AI becomes intelligent enough to start replacing human workforce in certain sectors after 5 years. It is possible… But as of today, the application of AI is on tasks. It creates more efficiency — of course, at the very lower levels of intelligence and overly repetitive tasking, it may replace jobs in the coming years

Overall AI employment in India is estimated at about 416,000 professionals. Though he also suggested that AI would also create new roles. Through FutureSkillsPRIME, India’s Information Technology Ministry, MeitY is aiming to upskill/reskill IT professionals in emerging technologies. Aside from being Council Chair of Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) for the current year, India has been collaborating with the United States through the USIAI and with Germany through the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) on AI related research.

These initiatives will prove to be key for what is a society-changing technology. A broader thought around AI is ofcourse around security. As these AI enabled systems become more and more capable, what are we willing to allow and how are we preparing for a scenario in which there is a ‘super intelligence.’ The challenge of course is in putting up the ‘guard rails’ in anticipation even as the potential of AI is unleashed, and stewarding a system that we are not smarter than.

10 lakh youth to be groomed for IT sector: Palak



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Cox’s Bazar
Junaid Ahmed Palak/Photo: Barta24.com

Junaid Ahmed Palak/Photo: Barta24.com

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Junaid Ahmed Palak said that the Herpower project has been undertaken to empower women and ensure employment in the field of technology where 25 thousand women entrepreneurs will be created across the country. After 4 months of training and 1 month of internship, each woman is given a laptop.

The State Minister said these things to the reporters after visiting the Sheikh Russell Computer Lab and Herpower Project at Saikat Balika High School in Cox's Bazar town on Thursday (04 July) afternoon.

He said that in the next 5 years, during the current tenure of the government, 10 lakh youth will be trained for the IT sector.

Nilufa Yashmin, sub-project director of Herpower Project, said that 560 women are being trained in 3 stages in 3 upazilas of Cox's Bazar district.

The trainees of this project said that as a result of the training in the Herpower project, there is an opportunity to earn through skills in the IT sector.

Cox's Bazar’s Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) Tapati Chakma, Cox's Bazar Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Farzana Rahman and others were present. 

;

AI simplifies lifestyle but threats to civilization: Palak



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Pic: Barta24.com

Pic: Barta24.com

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Minister of State for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak said that artificial intelligence (AI) will make life easier for people but it is a big threat to civilization.

He said that the government is going to enact laws to deal with the challenges of technology, especially the adverse effects of AI. Also, new broadband policies will be formulated by 2024 to define internet speed of 20 Mbps as broadband and make the internet affordable and accessible.

The State Minister said these things in the speech as the chief guest at the function organized by the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology under the initiative of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2024 at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital on Friday (May 17). For the first time in Bangladesh this year, it has been organized with the aim of celebrating the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day with the participants of the public and private sectors of the telecommunication and ICT sector, including the Department of Posts and Telecommunications and the Department of Information Technology.

Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology State Minister highlighted the significance of World Telecommunication and Information Union Day celebration and said that Bangabandhu obtained the membership of ITU in 1973 and included Bangladesh in the world of information and communication technology by establishing Geo satellite Center at Betbuniya despite standing on the ruins of war.

Referring to the World Telecommunication Day on May 17 as a historic day for the national life, the State Minister said, "we would not have had this Bangladesh today if we had not taken the bold and visionary program like the Digital Bangladesh program in 2008 under the plan of the Architect of Digital Bangladesh, Mr. Sajib Wazed." Mr. Palak said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had the foresight to provide Internet connectivity in the country through V-sat, to end the monopoly business of mobile phones by granting licenses to three mobile companies and to bring mobile phones within the reach of common people and to withdraw VAT tax from computers in the financial year 1998-99.

The amazing success of the telecommunication and information technology sector in the past years has made Bangladesh one of the leading countries in the digital world, he said, under the visionary and wise leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the economy of Bangladesh has reached great heights beyond the poverty line. He said, 15 years ago the export income in the IT sector was only 26 million dollars. Currently it stands at 1.9 billion dollars.

Stating that Bangladesh has reached a major milestone in the information technology services (IT) export sector, the State Minister said that 400 establishments in the information technology sector are exporting Bangladesh digital services to 80 countries around the world.

Earlier, the State Minister released commemorative postage stamps on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and distributed prizes among the winners of the essay and debate competitions organized to celebrate the day.

Later, an active network memorandum was signed between mobile operator Robi and Banglalink in the presence of the State Minister.

Post and Telecommunication Division Secretary Abu Hena Morshed Zaman presided over the event, Information and Communication Technology Division Secretary Md. Samsul Arefin, Post and Telecommunication Division Additional Secretary A, K, M, Amirul Islam, Chairman and CEO of Bangladesh Satellite Company Dr. Shahjahan Mahmud and Chairman of BTRC Engineer Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed spoke. 

;

The second submarine cable is not being fixed even in a month



Istiaq Hussein, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Bandwidth supply from the second submarine cable (CMUI-5) has completely stopped due to the cut. As a result, the internet problem in the country has not been solved yet. Customers have suffered for a long time due to slow internet.

The problem is not immediately solved because the cable is not repaired. According to the sources of state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, the bandwidth supply from the second submarine cable was completely stopped due to the cutting of the SIMUI-5 cable in the sea area of Indonesia last Friday night.

An official of Submarine Cable told Barta24.com on condition of anonymity that permission to enter the Indonesian part of the sea has not yet been received. It can take up to three to four weeks to get permission. After that it may take another 8 to 10 days to repair the cut cable. Altogether, it will not be possible to fully deliver the bandwidth from the second submarine cable even in a month.

But in an alternative way they are trying to normalize internet services across the country. So far they expect to meet 40 percent of the bandwidth demand they have received from the first submarine cable in the next 2 to 3 days.

At present 1600 Gbps bandwidth is provided in the country with SIMUI-5. This supply is completely closed. An alternative to the Internet was not yet possible with SIMUI-4 (the first submarine cable). The submarine cable company is working for this. They say it will take 2 to 3 days. During this period they will be able to operate only 40 percent of the internet demand.

Currently there is a demand of 5,500 bandwidth in the country. Of these, submarine cable companies provide more than 2,500 bandwidths. The remaining demand is met by International Terrestrial Cable (ITC). 

;

Guidelines ready, 5G service on cell phones within a year



Ishtiaq Hussein, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Post and Telecommunication Minister of the previous government, Mustafa Jabbar, had pushed for the introduction of 5G services in the country in December 2023.

For this reason, 5G was launched experimentally through Teletalk in December 2021. 6 places including National Parliament, Secretariat came under this facility.

Earlier, in the auction held in March last year, mobile operators bought 190 MHz waves by spending Tk. 10 thousand crore.

There were objections from the operators about launching 5G service at such a fast time. But finally it was not possible to do it before the election because this service cannot be launched without 5G related guidelines.

Currently 3G and 4G services are available in the country. 3G was launched in 2013 and 4G services were launched in 2018. South Korea launched the first 5G service in 2019.

Finally, the 5G guidelines have been finalized almost two years after the wave auction. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) recently finalized it. According to the guidelines, mobile operators have to roll out 5G within the next one year.

From the second year, operators will have to build all kinds of 5G service capabilities. Such as smart city, smart home, intelligent transportation system, smart grid and other new applications have to be launched.

Regulatory body BTRC has launched Unified License. As a result, different licenses for 2G, 3G and 4G, which operators had to obtain, will no longer be required.

The 5G wave auction was held in March 2022. In this, four mobile operators bought a total of 190 MHz waves for Tk. 10 thousand crores. In the wave auction, it was said that they will have to launch 5G services within the next 6 months. But it took two years to prepare the guidelines after the wave auction.

At that time, the mobile operators said that it was not the right time financially for them to launch 5G at that moment. They expressed their concern on various issues including high cost of infrastructure construction, difficult to get customers, non-return of investment money because they were still worried about investment in 4G services.

Those associated with the sector said that we have to change the ecosystem at the beginning of 5G. Towers will require a lot of electricity. To deliver 5G to remote areas, the transmission network should be accessible and active sharing issues should be emphasized. Where the networks are needed, how much the customers will benefit from the 5G service or how the demand will be, these issues need to be seriously considered and prepared.

Those concerned said that while 4G has a minimum speed of 7 Mbps, 5G has a speed of 20 Mbps. It will be used in the industry, not at the individual level.

Meanwhile, experts in the telecommunication sector said that an investment of Tk. 20 to 25 thousand crores will be required to launch 5G. It is difficult for operators to take investment risks as the business sector is not finalized.

But in the meantime, operators do 5G test runs. Even 5G is not yet commercially viable in many countries. According to a report by GSMA, the global association of mobile operators, 5G subscribers will reach 200 crores by 2025.

;