Data Science has evolved as a formidable interdisciplinary discipline that mixes statistics, computer science, domain expertise, and analytical tools in today's fast-paced, technology-driven world. Bangladesh, a vibrant South Asian emerging country, is experiencing fast transition in a variety of industries. By revolutionising sectors, stimulating innovation, and tackling critical social concerns, data science is poised to play a vital role in determining the nation's future. This essay examines the expanding reach of Data Science in Bangladesh and highlights its potential to generate good change.

The core of Data Science is data, and Bangladesh is seeing an increase in data output. With a population of over 160 million people, the country's digital footprint is rapidly increasing. Smartphone proliferation, rising internet penetration, and government efforts such as Digital Bangladesh have all led to the development of massive datasets. When these data are adequately harnessed and analysed, they have the ability to deliver essential insights and drive development in a variety of industries.

Organised data is invaluable in the realm of Data Science. For example, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom has about £8 billion in medical data, which is nearly 15% of Bangladesh's annual budget for 2023-24 and saves roughly 581 million pounds every year. Bangladesh's health ministry may collect and organise data from its subscribers in a similar manner to promote changes in the healthcare system. Better patient care, illness prevention, and cost-effective healthcare delivery may all be aided by organised data.

Doctors wearing vr simulation with hologram medical technology
rawpixel.com / roungroat

Agriculture is vital to Bangladesh's economy, employing a large section of the people. Data Science has the potential to significantly improve agricultural output and food security. Data-driven insights may assist farmers in making educated choices about planting, harvesting, and resource management by analysing weather patterns, soil data, and crop performance. Furthermore, supply chain optimisation and market forecasting models may help to decrease food waste and guarantee effective food distribution.

Countries that depend significantly on agriculture, such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia, have leveraged the potential of data science and AI in their agricultural sectors, reaping considerable advantages. Bangladesh has an exciting chance to adopt innovative, data-driven technology, putting it at the forefront of agricultural innovation and unlocking even more benefits. Nonetheless, it is critical to recognise the potential for improving data collection in Bangladesh's agricultural sector, especially in areas such as quantifying carbon footprints in agriculture.

The use of data science has the potential to significantly improve the educational environment in Bangladesh. Educational institutions may acquire significant insights into student learning patterns and areas for growth by analysing student performance data. This data-driven approach has the potential to provide personalised learning methodologies, ensuring that each student gets an education that is suited to their specific requirements. Furthermore, data science may help policymakers make better-informed choices about resource allocation and curriculum creation, resulting in a more effective and responsive educational system.

Furthermore, data science has the potential to play a critical role in increasing access to excellent education, especially in rural and underprivileged places. Data-driven online learning platforms may bridge the educational gap by delivering high-quality educational information to students who would otherwise have limited access to conventional institutions and universities. Higher education institutions in Western nations, for example, use sophisticated platforms like Canvas and other AI-driven systems as personalised student portals for complete communication. These systems manage a variety of functions, including as sending weekly study materials, specifying assignment requirements and submission methods, grading (both human and automated), and even producing final degree results. This not only reduces educators' effort but also promotes ethics, justice, and impartiality in academic procedures.

Data science may also be used to predict and prepare for less common but potentially catastrophic catastrophes like earthquakes
Smart warehouse management system using augmented reality technology

Governance and Social Implications Data science has the potential to improve government and social programmes in Bangladesh by increasing openness, efficiency, and accountability. Governments may optimise public resource allocation by using the power of data analytics, ensuring that money are allocated towards programmes and activities that have the greatest effect on residents' lives. This strategy may assist eliminate waste and corruption, resulting in improved service delivery. Furthermore, data science may be used to monitor and manage development initiatives like infrastructure development and poverty reduction programmes. Real-time data analysis may uncover bottlenecks and obstacles in project execution, allowing for rapid modifications and enhancements.

Natural calamities such as cyclones and floods are common in Bangladesh. By delivering sophisticated early warning systems, data science can dramatically improve disaster management efforts. Predictive models for natural catastrophes may be constructed by analysing previous meteorological and environmental data. This has the potential to save lives and lessen the destructive effect of such occurrences on communities.

While current efforts have concentrated on cyclones and floods, data science may also be used to predict and prepare for less common but potentially catastrophic catastrophes like earthquakes. Building a strong data infrastructure for earthquake prediction and response is critical for the nation's safety and resilience.

Despite the positive promises, there remain difficulties to overcome in order to fully realise the potential of data science in Bangladesh. The scarcity of competent data scientists is a serious impediment, emphasising the need of investing in education and training programmes. Furthermore, establishing a solid data infrastructure and resolving data privacy issues are key requirements for the appropriate use of data science. These problems, however, create possibilities for educational and training institutions, technological entrepreneurs, and government agencies to cooperate and invest in the development of a robust data science ecosystem.

To summarise, data science has enormous potential to generate good change and innovation in a variety of industries across Bangladesh. As the nation continues on its path towards digitization and economic progress, the efficient use of data science may aid in the resolution of difficult issues, the improvement of decision-making, and the general quality of life for its residents. This is a watershed moment in the growth of data science, with nations like Bangladesh having a one-of-a-kind potential to emerge as prominent actors in the global data science community.

Universities can take the lead in realising this potential. Regrettably, only one private university among Bangladesh's hundreds of universities has made the effort to provide courses in data science, recently. Consequently, Bangladesh should channel investments into education, research, and infrastructure to unlock the full potential of data science, ensuring a prosperous and data-driven future for the nation and enabling its participation in the hundreds of billion-dollar global market shaped by the field of data science.

* Dr Ashim Chakraborty, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in AI and Computing, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK