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Humans express their emotion. They have the ability to understand situations, and behave accordingly. Akin to humans, wouldn’t you be surprised if machines mimicked the same? Can you imagine machine doing so? This is called Artificial intelligence (AI). Yes, this is now reality! Despite the controversy on the ethical issues, global tech giants and some developed countries have been investing billions of dollars since decades in AI research.

Bangladesh is also in this stream indeed. You must have heard about the AI robot Sofia which was displayed in the tech show titled `Digital World-2017’. People were excited to see the robot ‘Sofia’ laughing and speaking like a human! Robot Sofia was a million dollar project indeed! But, have you heard about the Bangladeshi AI robot named ‘Bondhu’ [Friend]? Yes, the robot ‘Bondhu’ is also an AI. Unlike ‘Sofia’ in it has no human look. But, the specialty of ‘Bondhu’ is- it is made by a young A- level student of Bangladesh. Additionally, it is a self-financed cheap project!

Story behind ‘Bondhu’: Nazmus Sakib went to Saudi Arabia two years ago to receive the ‘Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah International Award for Entrepreneurship’ for his another outstanding invention of ‘Smart Controller Glass’ to assist the blind people in moving. During his Saudi Arabia visit, he discovered the multiple uses of robots in the offices and factories. He was inspired to see it and he started his study on robot. In the meantime, the first edition of ‘Sofia’ came to the market and Sakib became motivated to build a machine like ‘Sofia’. As a result, he attended the `Digital World-2017’ with his AI robot ‘Bondhu’! This robot has become admired very much by the viewers.

On December 9, the state minister for Information and Communication Technology Division, Bangladesh Zunaid Ahmed Palak introduced the robot ‘Bondhu’publicly. ‘Bondhu’, unlike Sofia, has a body like a Robocop and a Smartphone instead of a head.

Nazmus sakib said, ‘People often portray robot negatively and consider it as their opponent. However, our robot will help people by providing information.” Where are you now? –replying this question, ‘Bondhu’ said, “I am in Digital World” Informing that the robot is being taught Bangla language, Sakib said the robot, “Do you know Bangla?” The robot replied, “I know a little!” “Is it replying as like as the ‘Siri App’ of iphone?”- replying this question, Sakib said, “There is no dialogue system in ‘Siri App’, but ‘Bondhu’ has the capability to continue dialogue.” ‘Bondhu’ use Google search engine to know the answers of unknown questions. If there is no internet connection, ‘Bondhu’ remain silent.

Parts used in ‘Bondhu’: There are one neural engine and two computers in the robot ‘Bondhu’. The computers are real-time connected to the cloud server. Besides, there are Servo and Actuators for movement. ‘Bondhu’ examined the question of human by checking the data store. Then it reply relies on basis of the information. Sakib said, “The job was very much challenging for me indeed. I have to reshuffle the system around 15-20 times. We have built-in a self-learning system in the robot.”

Future of AI and ethical conflicts: AI or intelligent machine system are transforming our lives better, such as- optimizing logistics, detecting fraud, composing art, conducting research, providing translations, etc. As these systems become more capable, our world becomes more efficient and consequently richer. Tech giants such as Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft – as well as individuals like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk – believe that now is the right time to talk about the nearly boundless landscape of artificial intelligence. In many ways, this is just as much a new frontier for ethics and risk assessment as it is for emerging technology.

So which issues and conversations keep AI experts up at night? According to critics, AI system would create several crises in near future. Hundreds of thousands of people would lose their job as AI machines are occupying the industries, restaurants and so many sectors. Inequality, humanity, artificial stupidity, racist robots, security, evil engines, singularity and robot rights are among the major conflicting issues, according to the critics. Moreover, military use of AI machines could bring disaster as superpowers like United States, Russia and others are investing in AI research for military purpose secretly, according to different sources. So, what do you think about science and ethics? Isn’t it worth approving?

By: Moudud Ahmmed Sujan

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