What is Society 5.0?
Society is rapidly approaching a fifth stage of development that includes emerging disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, multi-sensory transfer, augmented and virtual realities, advanced robotics, and synthetic forms of life. As in the previous four stages of societal development, (1) hunter-gathering; (2) agrarian; (3) industrial, and (4) informational, the role of technology has shaped everyday experience as well as aspirational hopes for a better and more prosperous, fair, and equitable future. As we barrel towards this future in which the boundary between humans and technology breaks down and technology becomes embodied in us and in our lives, we confront big questions concerning human-machine interfaces, knowledge formation, privacy, security, and what constitutes life and the living. Society 5.0, our “sylicarbon future” is one of human-machine connections (where new technology is being built, a primarily Engineering-driven area involving connections of devices to humans), artificial intelligence (deep learning devices that are shaping what we know, learn, and experience, including city sensor technologies), and extended reality (how augmented and virtual reality is shaping human potential and the way we experience the world).