The close connection between Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0

In the document presented by the European Union entitled “Industry 5.0 – Towards a sustainable, human-centric and resilient European industry”, the characteristics of the new Industry 5.0 paradigm are outlined, namely human centrality, resilience and environmental sustainability, together with enabling technologies and the increasing centrality of R&D.

Let’s find out the close connection between Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0 and what are the elements that link these two concepts.

Transition already in progress

The transition from Industry 4.0 to 5.0, according to EU experts, is already underway, ten years after the beginning of what is considered the fourth industrial revolution in history.

5.0 actually broadens the scope of 4.0, introducing greater attention to the social sphere in addition to the industrial one: for this reason the concepts of Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0 are closely related.

Compared to the early years of Industry 4.0, technologies and production departments have profoundly changed, transforming the environment in which they are located up to what we call Smart Factory.

Evolution and integration have made technology the real protagonist, but at the same time it has emerged how essential the combination with the human factor is for proper management and for achieving the best results.

Society 5.0

According to the Japanese Keiju Matsushima, the evolution of the industrial sector towards the 5.0 paradigm must necessarily be related to a parallel evolution of society, with the use of innovations focused on solving social problems, and not only on improving productivity.

In a Society 5.0, innovations such as information technologies, IoT (Internet of Things), robotics, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and augmented reality are used in all areas of daily life, not only in search of economic gain, with the aim of guaranteeing well-being for every citizen.

Research and innovation thus become key elements for a transition towards a more sustainable, resilient and human-cantered mode of European industry.

In addition to respecting the limits of the planet, it is essential to put the well-being of all workers at the centre of the production process.

Technologies and cornerstones at the base of the close connection between Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0

The document drawn up by the European Union identifies six enabling technologies for Industry 5.0:

  • personalized human-machine interaction;
  • technologies inspired by nature and intelligent materials;
  • digital twin and simulation;
  • technologies for data transmission, storage and analysis;
  • Artificial intelligence;
  • technologies for energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and autonomy.

New technologies must address the new needs that are increasingly emerging within the industrial, social and environmental landscape, adapting to workers and not vice versa.

There are three cornerstones that demonstrate the close connection between Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0:

  • centrality of human capital, using technology as a means of adapting production processes to human needs, avoiding the worker having to adapt to new technologies. At the same time, the latter should not interfere with fundamental rights such as privacy, autonomy and human dignity;
  • environmental sustainability, through circular economy processes capable of improving the use of materials, while reducing waste, environmental impact and CO2 emissions;
  • resilience, or the (increasingly urgent) need for industrial production to be able to withstand cyclical economic crises. With an adaptable production capacity and flexible processes, it is possible to guarantee operations, especially in key sectors for basic human needs, such as health and safety.

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