Once Again Humans Become Central in the Fifth Industrial Revolution

By Frank-Jürgen Richter

August 21, 2020

Between the first and third industrial revolutions, it took almost three centuries to transform the world. The shift from the third to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) was led on the back of creativity. But the jump between the 4IR and the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR) is taking little time, fueled by digitalization.

On one hand, the 4IR is associated with fears of massive job losses, which some experts claimed to be unfounded. They vehemently opined that the 4IR will in effect add new jobs and is overall a net positive contributor for economies worldwide. Now with the advent of the 5IR, the pivotal guideline is adding humans back to industry resulting in a win-win proposal for all.

Horasis is playing an integral part in this sphere by organizing the ‘Horasis Extraordinary Meeting’ – a virtual event scheduled for 1 October 2020. Among several panels, one discussion will center around how fast we are advancing towards the 5IR and how it can play an important role in countering the pandemic’s impact.

One suggested route is bringing about balanced use of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, robotics, internet of things (IoT), blockchain and crypto, and putting humans in control of these state-of-the-art technologies. The 5IR will play a vital role in closing the digital divide for the most marginalized sections of society and will help humanity take a quantum leap towards purpose and inclusivity.

How 5IR Brings Back the Focus to Humans

This progress will also be carried forward to workplaces. It will significantly transform the way we work – possibly altering work schedules and even where we work from. Most repetitive work will be executed by machines, leaving humans to focus on more strategic tasks.

In an age where internet access is a basic right, many still lack access to it. Tech giants such as Facebook tried to narrow this gap by launching a grand initiative of providing basic internet services to a billion people. It has fallen short of its mark with many calling it not more than a mere customer acquisition gimmick.

Since the 5IR is built around the theme of putting humans back in control of advanced technologies, it will definitely result in wider access to technologies likes AI and IoT, ensuring it works for the greater good as opposed to generating unemployment.

Traditional outdated systems that many governments are reliant on, can be redeveloped and enhanced using the 5IR technologies. Upgraded utility systems will ensure inclusivity for all and help governments leverage on the benefits offered by such advanced technologies. It will also help remove social inequalities and ensure higher incomes. Rising income will ascertain  increased spending, leading to enhanced economic growth. Basically, this sets in motion a positive cycle of events that has the potential to ensure better access to healthcare, education, and basic rights. Governments also stand to benefit immensely from such progress in human intelligence, rising per capita incomes, and the implementation of progressive smart technologies.

In terms of the private sector, the 5IR will enable businesses to identify hidden losses and reduce them. This will boost returns on investment and help speed up their ‘go-to-market’ durations. The use of these advanced technologies will also ensure that human emotions and other factors are considered in automated algorithms to extract positive results.

The pandemic has thrust the issue of mental well-being among employees. Consumers are also increasingly trusting businesses that embrace sustainability and human centrality in their vision. Both are at the core of the 5IR strategies. It is therefore imperative for businesses to actively consider adoption and implementation of this paradigm shift to remain relevant.

How Can 5IR Defeat COVID-19?

The pandemic brought lockdowns, but many activities continued unabated on account of mobile and internet technology.  Technology use will continue to grow and all the more so with experts warning that we will witness further pandemic outbreaks in forthcoming decades.

The new normal that is widely being discussed will possibly have the 5IR at its core. Technologies such as AI, big data, cloud computing and IoT will be further enhanced while granting easier access. 

At Horasis, we are of the strong belief that collaboration must lead the way. This can be accomplished by a united effort such that nations become adopters of the 5IR technologies as it will equip nations to be proactive in dealing with future crises.

Ongoing discussions among industry leaders and thinkers, decision- and policy-makers through international platforms such as the Horasis’ Extraordinary Meeting will ensure that governments, businesses, and people from all walks of life unite to inspire and create inclusive frameworks for a post pandemic world to benefit from.

Photo Caption: The fifth industrial revolution will bring the focus back on humans. Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash.