With the artificial intelligence becoming the rage, it’s only natural that the youth all over the world, relying more and more on innovative ideas, will choose to milk a plethora of AI based technology to make life and livelihood easier.
Such a sentiment was echoed once more at a youth based discussion held at the Teachers’ Students’ Centre, TSC, of Dhaka University on 21 November.
Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, the initiative: ‘Bangladesh Decides, The Youth Speaks’, is a programme by Her Net Foundation aiming to stimulate the youth from several universities to speak up about their visions/aspirations for a better Bangladesh.
The youth discourse which will cover seven different universities, also has, among others, Rotary Club, Meghna Bank, Zonta International, JCI, Jaaz Multimedia, Kazi and Kazi Tea, Somoy TV and leading news agency, UNB as partners.
In a stimulating discussion under the apt subtitle ‘Voice of today for Sustainable Tomorrow’, attended by six students from Dhaka University, the importance to provide proper incentives to working mothers, especially at the RMG sector, was underlined.
Speaking on the matter, Zeba Mahin from the Department of Law observed, "Many women who go for maternal leaves are often compelled to give up their work because society expects them to look after a new born until the child reaches a certain age."
"Returning to work after a long break is often daunting and, therefore, the RMG industry should make it mandatory for all factories to have child care sections along with basic education facilities," she added.
Zeba feels that although the RMG industry makes a significant contribution to the economy and empowers women, with more attention to child care facilities for young mothers, they can not only prevent loss of employment but also help a mother maintain her social dignity as a wage earner.
Sayma Islam from the Department of Criminology highlighted the dearth of women in leadership posts in the corporate sector. Although we have seen a marked increase of women in the workplace, the top spot still remains elusive for women, she deplored, adding: “women as the head of an organisation should not be a rarity.”
Sayma also stressed the need to shed stereotypical thinking that perpetuates a flawed belief that women cannot be leaders. “I feel women managers should be given equal chance and the process of ‘Blind hiring’ can be enforced to end the prevailing bias.”
The smart use of AI was an underlying theme with the speakers stressing the need to employ artificial intelligence to address power shortage in the agro sector.
“Once artificial intelligence is used to boost power supply, agriculture production will be smooth and uninterrupted” observed one speaker.
Almost everyone was of the opinion that artificial intelligence, used scrupulously, can benefit the youth both in urban and rural Bangladesh.
The young discussants also believed that optimum usage of AI can be a catalyst to give material form to the Smart Bangladesh dream.
However, Zareen Delwar Hossain, Founder Integro Pharma, pointed out that the drive to become smart should also be underpinned by an unswerving dedication to ethics and integrity.
“We all realise the need to be tech savvy and it’s a fact that the more the young master new ideas, the better their chances of serving the nation. However, any quest for an improved life cannot overlook the need to be honest and fair.”
EU ambassador to Bangladesh, Charles Whiteley was present to witness the exciting youth discourse and shared a few moments with the discussants.
Answering to a question about EU-Bangladesh academic bridge that would aid students, Charles Whiteley said, “We currently have the Erasmus programme under which Bangladeshi students can go to Europe for higher studies and Bangladesh is the third highest recipient of the scholarship after India and Pakistan.”
Responding to another question about how EU can help women entrepreneurs, Charles Whiteley commended the surge in the number of women run start-ups, adding that once the European Chamber of Commerce comes into operation, the business environment, especially for women, would become smoother.
To a resounding applause, the Ambassador mentioned the Skills 21 programme with ILO under which people are trained for work overseas.
Among others, political counsellor of the EU Delegation Sebastian Riger Brown, acclaimed small and big screen celebrity Sohana Saba, veteran film maker and chairman of Jaaz Multimedia Abdul Aziz, district governor of Rotary Club Ibrahim Khalil Al Zayad, vice-president of Ananta Real Estate Tamanna Rabbani were present there.
The discussion was moderated by MD of Her Net TV and noted socialite Alisha Pradhan.
Encapsulating the irrepressible spirit of youth, Ambassador Charles Whiteley drew the inspirational example of a 90 year old marathon runner who defied age.
The event concluded with a certificate giving ceremony, the celebration of the youthful spirit to innovate for the betterment of society.