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Dhaka Tribune

There is no place for digital divide in Smart Bangladesh

We take too cautionary an approach to any emerging technologies, leaving us to play catch up

Update : 01 Nov 2023, 01:33 PM

With technology becoming more and more ubiquitous and necessary for any nation’s development, and Bangladesh signaling its intent of becoming “Smart Bangladesh” in less than two decades, it is good to see that the issue of digital divide is not being forgotten.

To that end, international-level conferences such as “DPI and AI for #ZeroDigitalDivide” which was organized by the government’s Aspire to Innovate (a2i) in collaboration with the ICT Division, and with Bangladesh identifying the potential of new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital public infrastructure (DPI), shows the sort of forward-thinking intent that will be required for us to reach the lofty goals we are setting.

There is no questioning the impact of technology on Bangladesh’s economy; simultaneously, the growing digital divide presents a significant challenge in itself, especially for a nation that not only wants to become prosperous, but equitable.

Digital public infrastructure is a novel concept, and the fact that Bangladesh is pro-actively trying to learn about its potential and apply it to nation-building from an equitable standpoint is certainly good news; too often, we take too cautionary an approach to any emerging technologies, leaving us to play catch up. 

With DPI and indeed AI still in their infancy with regard to their usage in public service delivery, easing of which has been central to Bangladesh’s transformation, this could be the beginning of Bangladesh setting an example for other developing nations on how to best use these technologies.

Ultimately, political will and intent will be the major factors that determine how successful we are in reaching these goals. If Smart Bangladesh is to indeed be prosperous and equitable, with no digital divide, there is no alternative to a concerted, unified Bangladesh.

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