AI and jobs in Bhutan

Bhutan brought in the Internet only in 1999 but has adopted itself to relevant information and communications technology (ICT) quite fast.

However, Bhutan is behind on Artificial Intelligence (AI), but then again, AI is an emerging technology even in the developed countries.

Chief Executive Officer of Thimphu Tech Park, Tshering Cigay Dorji, said that AI is going to impact the world greatly, and the technology will have a major impact on the global economy. “Those countries which lead in this technology benefit greatly, just as the industrial revolution of the 18th Century benefited those countries that had the technology,” he added.

In addition, he said that in order for Bhutan to keep up with the rest of the world and also improve its economy, Bhutan has no choice but to build its capacity in such emerging technology, as it is a tool of development.

Citing as an example, he said, “Scan Café in Thimphu Tech Park has brought down the number of their employees as most of their jobs are being replaced by AI. However, on the other hand, another IT company called iMerit Technology is recruiting more people so to train machineries, which are basically AI.”

Therefore, he said that AI will replace humans in many jobs that do not require too much critical thinking and analysis. But there will also be many jobs that AI cannot do. “Technology should not control us, rather technology should always be there to serve humans in better ways,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said, “As per my assumption, the number of job lost would be more than the number of new jobs created, and thereby, there will be less jobs in the future, leading to more unemployment rate. However, there may be always better alternatives.”

There is a huge scope for Bhutan to reap the benefits that emerging technology has to offer in the future, provided the younger generation receives proper education for it, along with a consistent policy and economic vision.

“If it is the IT and new emerging technologies we want to harness, we have to have a whole of government coordinated approach towards providing appropriate education for our children and developing the IT industry. I am optimistic that our present government is gearing towards such a coordinated approach,” he said.

He also said that Bhutan has a lot of potential areas where many IT graduates can be absorbed. He said there is a wrong notion of there being no jobs for IT graduates in the market. There are jobs in private sector, though very few in the government but one need to have the knowledge of IT, he said.

“Thimphu Tech Park is playing a greater role in employing IT graduates and to promote technology in the country which can help in economic growth in the country,” he said.

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