Apropos of the report “Bangladesh in denial, despite ISIS terror threat “ (FE, July 4), the spectre of jihadist violence is haunting the world, as is evident from the commando-style attack on the Western-style restaurant in the upscale diplomatic enclave in Dhaka. Hitherto, we were mentally accustomed to associate such attacks with West Asia and the cities of Western countries. Now, even the small and poor Bangladesh has come within the orbit of extreme violence. The attack on the cafe frequented by expats and diplomats on the heels of a string of hacking attacks on secular bloggers, rationalists, gay activists and members of minority communities represent a different ball-game.
The Sheikh Hasina government may or may not be right in saying that IS and al-Qaeda have no “operational presence” in Bangladesh. But the home-grown radicalised zealots are no less determined and ruthless than these dreaded networks. Perhaps much of the anger and antagonism felt by the radicalised Muslim youth is attributable to the Western occupational forces in several parts of the Muslim world and the lives lost at their hands. Still the inhumanity of the attack does not get diluted or extenuated by being looked at as part of the global clash between the West and the Muslim world. The attackers are no martyrs to the cause of Islam. The wholesale slaughter of innocent people as happened in Dhaka is nothing short of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. The resurgence of religion has created a situation fraught with danger. With unchecked radicalisation, the security situation in Bangladesh is progressively getting worse.
G David Milton, Maruthancode (TN)
Welcome bots with caution
Apropos of the edit “AI Appeals” (FE, July 4), it is strange to read about a chatbot that mounts a legal defense for motorists. While it is just an app right now, what will a future where even questions of human law, mores and ethics are pondered over by artificial-intelligence (AI) entities? Will, say, a robot lawyer’s failure to argue a case successfully be treated as a legit defeat of an argument being forwarded or will it be treated as programme failure? In the latter case, who is to provide reprieve? The world is yet unprepared for AI becoming a functional part of it. It is nice to read of AI programmes beating chess masters. But it is another to leave your well-being and freedom to such programmes/machines. There have to be strict guidelines laid down by the governments in whose jurisdictions the programmes/machines will operate. Moreover, there have to be special provisions made to handle failure, especially when the task they perform is of seminal importance, like arguing a legal case with implications for the users’ freedom or financial well-being. Robots and chatbots are starting to dominated the next phase of techno-economic evolution. We have to ready for this.
Sumona Pal Kolkata