Saturday, April 4, 2020 | ePaper


Impact Of 4th Industrial Revolution

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Md.Mizanur Rahman ACS :
Over the past 300 years, waves of technology have impacted our lives significantly. Subsequently, the economy has been shifted to industrial economy from the agricultural economy. Within these periods human civilization has faced 3 Industrial Revolutions (IR). Each and every revolution established new norms and values that suited each of those periods.1st IR was initiated with the invention of steam engine. That invention changed the overall production process. It's because, instead of human labor, the use of machine in the production was started from that period. As a result a major part of the production was taken over by the machine. Actually, the 1st IR was a turning point in the history. The 2ndIR took place in the 19th century with the invention of electricity, oil & gas. On that time fertilizers were invented that increased the agricultural production. Telephone and Telegraph were invented during that period and these inventions brought revolution in the communication system. The 3rd Industrial revolution began in 1969 with the invention of newer source of energy like nuclear power. Computer, Semi-Conductor and Micro Chips got massive progress in that period. The invention of internet and email gave speed in the communication system. Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals Industry got immense progress in that period. The main players of the 3rd Industrial revolution are USA, UK, Russia, China & India.
Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is one of the most discussed issues in Bangladesh. It has become a major concern not only for Bangladesh but also globally. Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the "World Economic Forum" gave the idea of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).The business world is discussing and preparing for how 4IR will affect their business. Different stakeholders are organizing round table discussions, seminars on it.The 4IR has much similarity with the 3IR. According to the experts, 4IR will be characterized by the emerging technologies like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, Nanotechnology, fully automation vehicles etc. In 4IR massive technological advancement will be made. The factories which are now run by the power will be completely automated. According to Oxford Economics Study around 20 million machinery jobs will be replaced by the Robotics. The use of social media like Facebook, Twitter will be increased. E-Commerce will get popularity among the customers. Business & Commerce will be more dependent on digital technology for marketing their products. As a result traditional marketing system will be abolished and demand for high skilled jobs will be increased tremendously. According to McKinsey around 800 million people will lose their jobs due to the use of Robotics and AI. The World Economic Forum in its 2018 flagship report titled "Future of jobs " has warned that 75 million jobs will be displaced by the Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation. The report has also mentioned that 133 million new jobs will be created. It means 4IRwill create 60 million new jobs. The report has assured that only the skilled workers who will meet the demand of the market will get these jobs.
Now come to the context of Bangladesh and its preparation to face the challenges of the 4IR. Here, some questions arise naturally that Whether Bangladesh will be able to create enough job opportunity for its youths? Whether Bangladesh is well prepared to face the challenges of the 4IR?  No, Bangladesh is not well prepared to face the challenges at all. In this context, the experts are suggesting the entrepreneurs to improve the skill of the workers; so that they can adapt with the new technology. They are also suggesting the entrepreneurs to produce the right product for export. Due to the 4IR our SME sector will be suffered more, as almost all the Small & Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) use the same machineries. Moreover the quality of their products is not good enough. So, if our SME sector cannot bring quality variation then a large number of them will be abolished. The handloom industry will also be affected if the quality of the products may not be developed. Banking sector will also face challenge as like other sectors. Almost all the economic experts have stressed the need for skills development to prepare the workers to face the challenges. Experts have warned that the technology will capture the place of many employees. As a result huge number of bankers will be jobless. Our country has already started to experience the effects of the 4IR.A large number of entrepreneurs has already disappeared from the market, as they could not adapt with the technological advancement. Actually it is not only the scenario of Bangladesh but also many world reputed companies like Kodak, Fuji etc. could not sustain in the market, as they could not cope with the technological changes. The workers of these companies were not skilled enough. So, in order to face the challenges it is very much crucial to develop competent human resources. In this context, the entrepreneurs must need to know which products have high demand in the global market, which machineries are appropriate to produce export oriented products, where these machineries are available, how to purchase and how to install these machineries. It is a good news that sophisticated technology has started to come to Bangladesh and a large number of manufacturers have already started to use these technology in their own factories. It is to be noted that, the challenges of 4 IR should be faced by the public and private sector jointly. Now, these challenges are not only limited within the private sector. Rather it has become a global problem. So, in order to face these challenges both public and private sector should have strong commitment and active participation.
Meanwhile, our government has taken some initiatives.  Government has given top priority to science, technology, technical and vocational education to turn the people into skilled human resources. Government has developed some schemes: These include the 2011 "National Skill Policy" the 2017 "National Youths Policy", the "7th Five Years Plan" and the strategies, policies and plans to attain these UN Sustainable Development Goals. 5257 Union Digital Centres have been set up across the country. Government is committed to set up a technical college in every upazilla. 500 Poly-Technical Institutions have been established at public and private initiatives.
Finally, the phenomenon of automation is not new to the world. But it is true that, automation increases efficiency, reduces cost as well as increases the overall productivity. If the human resource of an organization can cope with the changing environment, then automation will become a blessings to them, otherwise it will become a curse. Actually, new technology brings both new opportunities and new challenges. When computer came first, people thought computer will take away jobs. But is it true? No. It's absolutely wrong. Rather computer has created more jobs. The digital technology will assist the workers to concentrate more on complex business issues. It will change how we live, work and communicate. It will change our relationships, our opportunities as well as our identities. Education, Business, Health, and Communication etc. will be reshaped by it. Developing countries like Bangladesh will be either beneficiary or looser of the 4IR. The over population of Bangladesh is nothing but a dividend of the demography. Definitely, it is a good opportunity. So our country needs to grab this opportunity and need to transform this huge population to efficient human resources properly.

(Md.Mizanur Rahman ACS, Banker, working at Pubali Bank Limited, Board Division, Head Office, also an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh (ICSB); email:

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