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January 9, 2020 Centre for Peace and Justice

The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) organised a public lecture on Thursday, 9 January 2020. Akhter Matin Chaudhury, chairman of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre (BYLC), delivered the lecture in the Brac University auditorium. The topic was on “The Economic, Social and Political Impact of Artificial Intelligence”.

Chaudhury said artificial intelligence (AI) was 1,000 times smarter than humans. It outpaced human thought 100,000 times. It was also 1,000,000 times faster at digesting and analysing data. In future, all repetitive and codified work will be done by AI driven algorithms. As a result, 50 percent of jobs will cease to exist.

The AI will also make crop cultivation and mining of minerals extremely economical. Owners of tech companies and land will become very powerful and extremely wealthy. Seven billion people and the world’s governments are already dependent on a few giant tech companies. These include Microsoft, Google and Twitter. They have all the information of users. It has been and can be used to destabilise governments. Landowners are generating a huge amount of food and employment. Governments will become dependent on landowners, who will be able to dictate state policies in their favour.

Some possible solutions were also presented. These include state control of land and technology use and strong control of the capital market. Party politics must also be banned and vital assets nationalised. Liberal democracy will not be able to address upcoming challenges. Democracy will have to be reshaped to be a more guided system. A more inclusive form of capitalism and global economic system is needed. It will be driven by compassion for the common good and need and not greed. Its centrepoint will be a community of humans and not owners and consumers. Chaudhury then went on to state that responsible leadership was not an authoritarian rule, before calling for emulating China as a role model. He then pointed out four aspects of China: pragmatism, social contract, power structure and dialectic materialism. He also pointed out that China indirectly elected dialectic materialism, or in other words an absolute ruler.

The BYLC website says it builds connections among youth from diverse backgrounds. This is to equip them with leadership skills. It also aims to enable them to have high impact in public, private, and civil sectors.

Chaudhury is a fellow and life member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh. He is presently a principal consultant at Black Swan Consulting, Switzerland.

The event was moderated by Manzoor Hasan OBE, Executive Director of CPJ.