Human advancement has come hand-in-hand with advances in technology. The Industrial Revolution that began in England in the 18th century marked the debut of modern industrial society and put humanity on the path toward a new transformation in its development.
The invention and development of computers and the internet in the second half of the 20th century gave birth to the information society that we find ourselves in today. Smartphones have been around only a little more than a decade but now a single smartphone will enable you to access the vast world of information, send and share your own information, and do just about anything. In effect, the fourth industrial revolution is now under way. With the Internet of Things (IoT), many modern devices will be connected to the internet; artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to analyze vast amounts of data, robots will acquire the ability to move autonomously, and the integration of real space with cyber space will take another leap forward.
This massive wave of digital innovation has no end in sight and will likely engulf our entire world. Without question, we are now standing at the threshold of a new age that will usher society through yet another pivotal transformation. An infinite number of doors beckon us into a new age. Human society has reached a crossroads that will confront it with the task of choosing which Society 5.0 path to follow.
Some doors to the future may lead to a society in which robots and AI create a dystopian disaster for humanity. Others may lead to a society in which all personal information is under centralized control by the government.
However, we should open a door that leads toward a better, more inclusive world for humanity, a world in which each and every individual may find true happiness. In that world, technology and data will be used to balance economic development with the solution of social challenges; people will finally be liberated from all restrictions that the information society proved unable to remove; and we will witness the formation of a human-centered society in which everyone is able to shine and flourish.
That is the vision of "Society 5.0" that we believe we should strive to achieve.