How Much Has Bangladesh Progressed in AI Age?


While the world witnessed the release of Alan Turings significant work on Artificial Intelligence- “Computer Machinery and Intelligence” in the 1950s, on the distant corner of the Global South, the majority of Bangladeshi have had a rather limited understanding of the notion of technology. Bangladesh has made tremendous progress in embracing technologies since the nations creation which got boosted based on artificial intelligence (AI) in 2010 while the current leadership sensed the vision of a Digital Bangladesh. Bangladesh has passed the bar of digital Bangladesh and is now on the journey to Smart Bangladesh. These technologies are now extensively applied across the country. The use of artificial intelligence in the financial market has gained widespread recognition and accessibility. Bangladesh began its journey in 2009 to establish an economy that is streamlined, fast-paced, and technologically savvy. In the context of the Bangladeshi financial system, the importance of artificial intelligence cannot be understated. In terms of net interest income, it is anticipated that the market for digital banks in Bangladesh will enjoy substantial expansion in 2024. According to the experts by the year 2024, it would have reached a commendable sum of $2,517 million. The industry would see a very encouraging annual growth rate of 4.93% between the years 2024 and 2028. The market volume is expected to reach an astounding figure of $3,051 million by the year 2028.

In the coming years, we can expect a substantial rise in the adoption of a wider range of digital banking services. AI-based technology has been implemented complementing the overall digital transformation journey of the bank in alignment with the slogan of “Digital Bangladesh” and “Smart Citizens Concept” which contributed to the genesis of the guidelines of Bangladesh Bank based on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas vision 2041. These services include money transfers, digital payments, NPSC, BFTN, Internet of Things-based ATM services, as well as online banking applications and account creation. Dhaka Bank, United Commercial Bank (UCB), Robi, and most of the other financial sectors already introduced Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for customer-centric digital service would necessitate to have a faster, reliable, and consistent processing at the backend to ensure delightful customer services at all times.

It is fascinating to see how artificial intelligence is making a significant impact in various fields and media. Financial resources are required for a wide range of purposes, from using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to playing games on a childs mobile device. Mobile banking applications, digital payment in social media-based businesses, and even a mother sending a birthday present to her kid via mobile banking all demonstrate the intricate workings of advanced algorithms within a specific network. The impact of deep machine learning and machine learning on individuals everyday lives is significant, with a focus on their mobile phones or other digital gadgets. Artificial intelligence is steadily gaining popularity among the people of Bangladesh, as it aims to simplify and transform their digital funding methods. The coexistence of people and robots within their separate realms is a striking example of the rapid bond that can form between humans and machines in a truly exceptional way.

In the past year, Bangladeshs economic sectors, including the banking industry, have developed several mechanisms utilizing natural language processing (NLP) which is the branch of artificial intelligence. The implementation of these mechanisms has not only enhanced the quality of services but has also streamlined the connection and networking processes, ultimately impacting the overall economic situation of Bangladesh. In recent years, the Bangladeshi economic system has embraced AI-based credit management systems to detect and prevent fraudulent activity. The possibility of in-branch banking robots, such as SoftBank Robotics NAO and Pepper, represents a major improvement in customer service. Additionally, chatbots have been implemented to provide virtual customer support assistance which is doing several actions like fraud detection, bill payment, account queries, and personal finance management. There are several systems available, such as KASISTO AI (KAI), Finn AI, and Clinc AI. Along with AI is also used in Non-Performing Loan (NPL) management to evaluate large financial data sets, forecast default risks, and facilitate preventive actions. Industries have been increasingly adopting a range of technologies to streamline their operations. These include financial process automation, point-of-sale (POS) machines in the retail sector, automated teller machines (ATMs), online transactions via debit, credit, shopping carts, and mobile financial services (MFS) like bKash, Nagad, Rocket, etc.

The volume of information and communication technology (ICT) items exported has increased dramatically over the last several years, reaching $1 billion in 2023 from $26 million in 2008. There has been a recent uptick in the involvement of young people in the quest for information and communication technology (ICT) and AI-based development. The export sectors have been fortified, and their capacity has been enhanced. The export of information technology goods by more than 350 local enterprises has allowed them to expand their reach to almost 80 countries, including many EU member states and the US.

Bangladeshis are embarking on a reform path, but it is not without its risks. Several major threats exist in the modern world, and we must find solutions to them. Concerns over customer privacy, biased programming, possible injury to people, and unclear legal laws are all examples of these hazards. Because of the potential influence on AI prediction accuracy from concerns like hallucination, algorithmic bias, and susceptibility to data quality problems, we must exercise caution when dealing with these technologies. Because relying on inaccurate forecasts might lead to disastrous outcomes like economic losses or disorderly market movements, it is critical that financial firms carefully validate AI predictions before making judgments. Since AI systems depend on the data used for training and testing, they are more vulnerable to these risks than conventional software systems. The banking industry is not immune to the increasing frequency and severity of costly cybersecurity threats and cyber-enabled fraud, as are other critical infrastructure sectors. The government of Bangladesh has recently made the development of future-ready intelligent people a top priority. To avoid stymieing the development, the government must not ignore possible danger concerns. Financial crises might be exacerbated or accelerated by AI. To guarantee thorough supervision, it is essential to impose rules for AI and bolster financial regulation. When dealing with complicated issues, it is crucial to remember that artificial intelligence cannot completely substitute human judgment.

– Md. Al-Fahad, IT Manager, and S. M. Saifee Islam, Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

Published in Observer BD [Link]