Japan’s Society 5.0

Friday, April 12, 2019

The whole world is in the context of the 4.0 industrial revolution, but today, Japan has talked about and set out to build the Japan’s Society 5.0.

What is the Japan’s Society 5.0?

The "Japan’s Society 5.0" concept is proposed in the 5th Science and Techonology Basic Plan 2016-2020. The Science and Technology plans have been built every five years, since the first time in 1996, based on the Science and Technology Basic Law issued in 1995.

This law was born in the context of strong desire of Japan to break away from the path of science and technology ever led by the West, proceeding to explore the fields of science and technology that no one has explored to contribute to solve global problems, humanity challenges.

Based on the Science and Technology plans, during the past 20 years, the Japanese government has adopted policies to promote research and development (R&D) activities, reform the organizational structure for R&D and construction, built and equipped modern research facilities, expanding international exchange and cooperation activities...

In the 5th Science and Technology Plan, right from 2016, the Japan’s Society 5.0 concept is defined by Japan as “a society that takes people as a center; is a society that balances economic development and solves social problems with a highly integrated system of cyberspace and real space”.

Why did Japan propose the Japan’s Society 5.0?

The plan is derived from global issues that Japan has been faced with, such as climate change, high demand for food production, consuming products for global population growth, global economic competition, aging society (with more than 100,000 people above 100 years old out of a total population of 120 million, which leads health care burden), the decrease of the young population leading to a shortage of labor (especially labor in areas with low levels of creativity)...

Japan’s 5th Science and Technology Plan has proposed the Japan’s Society 5.0 and its orientations and policies on science and technology to develop to the Japan’s Society 5.0, on the one hand confirming Japan's position in the process of global competition, on the other hand, contributing to solve common human problems and Japan's own problems, towards a sustainable development.

What is the content the Japan’s Society 5.0?

According to the Japan’s concept, so far, the society of the people has gone through:

"The Society 1.0", the original hunting period,

"The Society 2.0", the Agricultural Society

"The Society 3.0", an industrial society, a period of mechanization with steam locomotives and electricity use

"The Society 4.0", the Information Society in which value added is created by connecting non-material assets through the internet.

“The Japan’s Society 5.0”, with four technical elements that play the most important role of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, automation (robotics) and IoT (Internet of Things).

In the Japan’s Society 5.0, a huge amount of data is gathered from many different sources, through IoT, from sensors, cameras etc. in real space is accumulated into the "cloud storage" (can be called virtual space).

At that virtual space, artificial intelligence with the ability to analyze and predict beyond human intellect will analyze the huge data block mentioned above, and pass the analysis results back to the real space under very many different forms.

Previously, in the information society (the Society 4.0), the data collected will be analyzed by humans, while in Social 5.0, people, things and systems are connected in virtual space.

Perhaps it can be understood that virtual space has artificial intelligence is brain, robot-automation is muscle and IoT and big data is the nervous system, and in the end, the analytical results are expected to be optimal results, beyond the ability of human analysis.

If in the Society 4.0, robots is performed, manipulated by human control, then in the Japan’s Society 5.0, there will be super smart robots, senses and perceptions that can make decisions instead for human.

What will be the impact and influence of Social 5.0?

On the momentum of that development orientation, Japanese people are racing, preparing for the world to witness the Olympics 2020 in Japan with surprised eyes to observe smart cities, smart traffic and super smart products.

It is said that in the Japan’s Society 5.0, human life will be better. Human society will address issues such as climate change, traffic congestion, food shortages, and widening the gap between the rich and the poor. People will enjoy better products, services and utilities in sufficient quantities, at the most appropriate time.

Specifically, in the field of health care, it is possible to imagine that the elderly will not need to go to different hospitals for examination due to various diseases, which can be diagnosed from the "virtual doctor" through computer screens from home, medicine to be delivered to the home by flying vehicles, or medical care by robots.

In the field of transport, self-driving cars will help drivers to relax safely, the delivery and reception by self-propelled vehicles will also help minimize traffic on the road.

In the field of infrastructure engineering, the entire system will be sensors, surveillance and measuring cameras, construction and use of many robots, thereby implementing construction with high accuracy and maintenance plans and less use of labor.

However, in order to achieve those expected achievements in the Japan’s Society 5.0, there will be a need to overcome barriers of policy mechanisms between ministries, to overcome legal system barriers to create new legal corridors that are more suitable for new services and new technologies, to overcome technology barriers; barriers to participation of all members of society; and both cognitive and human acceptance barriers to new forms of products and services.

Industrial Revolution 4.0 is booming and with the construction of the Japan’s Society 5.0, Japanese people have a vision to rise beyond the ordinary, to build a society that mostly fits the achievements of this revolution.

The Japan’s Society 5.0 is a new society in the context of industrial revolution 4.0. It is super smart but developed in a sustainable way for people. The Japan’s Society 5.0 approach reverses the traditional approach.

Traditionally, innovation is fueled by technology, making society grow. The Society 4.0, digitization is central. With the Japan’s Society 5.0, digitalization is the means, the new people are the main directors, making people happy and enjoying many new gadgets in super smart society.

The Japan’s Society 5.0 regulates and balances the development of technology, digital economy and social development. Industrial revolution 4.0 is creating a huge production force and the Japan’s Society 5.0 is the new production relationship, in accordance with those extraordinary changes.

In its turn, with the above orientations, the Japan’s Society 5.0 will strongly promote the birth and development of a new era, formatted by cyberspace and robots will execute things instead for people and live with people. Is it the start of a new revolution: the upcoming 5.0 Revolution

Written by:

Prof. DrSc. Nguyen Dinh Duc

Director, Master's Program in Infrastructure Engineering


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