4IR vs Society 5.0

· The concept of Industry 4.0, Intelligent Industry or 4th Industrial Revolution involves the digitalization of production processes in industry, either through sensors or through information systems, transforming these processes to make them more efficient.

· The concept of Society 5.0 was promoted by the Japanese government in 2015, an idea based on considering society at the centre rather than the industry.

· Explore the impact of Society 5.0 and 4IR on society at the upcoming openbusinesscouncil Summit on December, 9-11.


4IR is the unfolding age of digitalization—from the digitally connected products and services we consume, to advancements in smart cities and factories and increasingly common automation of tasks and services in our homes and at work. Progress brought by 4IR is characterized by continuous growth and rapid changes, with the goal of prospering and improving living standards through services and products with high added value.

The society 5.0 concept that is being coined by many like me and is focused on the balance between society, tech + nature but not only regarding the industry, tech. The concept of Society 5.0 was promoted by the Japanese government in 2015, an idea based on considering society at the centre rather than the industry.

What is 4IR, The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0? 4IR is characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the growing utilization of new technologies such as AI, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, IOT, and all these so-called frontier technologies.

What is Society 5.0? A human-centered society that balances economic and technology advancement to solving society problems with super intelligent AI data systems that highly integrates digital transformation – digital twins with our organic, nature & physical space.

Taking the technology as a catalyst and driver, Society 5.0 looks for the general welfare of citizens and aims for a superintelligent society. Society 5.0 places the person at the centre of Industry 4.0 – the 4IR.

What is 4IR?

Society 5.0 vs 4IR

The concept of society 5.0 is a vision based on human nature and tech sustainable society. In this stage, humans, nature and technology find a circular economy of balance in super intelligent smart society. Society 5.0 is not about one single country or city. It is about humans, the planet and a balanced sustainable ecosystem. Here, frontier technologies, and specially smart cities, blockchain and artificial intelligence can make us more human and reach universal sustainability.

The initial concept of society 5.0 was announced to the world by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a famous speech entitled “Hannover Declaration,” delivered at the CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, Germany.

The exponential disruptive technologies of our time can create dystopia or utopia. They will be part of the biggest evolutionary acceleration that will shift humanity more in the next 50 years than in all the different stages of human history and evolution. The concept of society 5.0 is a vision of a present future human centred society, where nature and technology are bridging for the best possible outcomes.

As we speak, Human society and intelligence is being vastly amplified, changed and augmented by AI. Our opportunity is how to intertwine this in a way that we create a smarter and more super intelligent society that balances tech, nature and the best of our humanity.

Even with our basic forms of narrow AI we are already seeing the biggest disruption of human society. The challenges are there, of course. We are seeing manipulation of entire societies through social media, fake news and dark data, fostered by narrow AI. But the biggest challenge will be with health genetic modification – bioengineering and social AI engineering.

What is Society 5.0?

The unfolding of society 5.0 will take place in various stages, and the first one has the concrete goal of finding solutions to the UN SDG. Tying up UN SDGs with advanced technologies of our times is a practical way to get outcomes that don’t serve solely economic interests, but rather society empowerment problems. When we speak about technology we tend to talk about “advances in computing technology” and many forms of tools, machinery and equipment developed from the application of research, invention and based on practical and scientific knowledge. But we need to speak about how these technologies can best enable & empower society and our humanity in balance with nature.

Technology has a transformative power when used in the right way, enabling quick change. In its full vision, and more advanced stages, it will be possible then, step by step, to implement society 5.0 at a global scale.

Society 5.0 and 4IR will be discussed at the upcoming openbusinesscouncil summit on December 9-11. 

Watch more videos about Digital Transformation, 4IR and Society 5.0 on Dinis Guarda YouTube channel.