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“Society 5.0 is now!”

In June 2021, scientists from all over the world discussed questions on the topic of Society 5.0 – in a virtual conference across four time zones. The organiser was the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), together with seven partner universities in five countries: China, Italy, Colombia, Malaysia and South Africa.

Society 5.0 is now. Today, we are connecting across the world, in many different countries.” With these words, Patrick Renz, Chair of the Steering Committee, welcomed everyone to the first conference on 22 June. For three days, the aim was to present recent scientific findings and discuss them with scientists from all over the world. The goal was already expressed in the title of the conference, namely: “Integrating the Digital World and the Real World to Resolve Challenges in Business and Society.”

The topics of Society 5.0

Society 5.0 can be defined as a human-centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by means of a system that fully integrates cyberspace and physical space. The aim is to create a society where social challenges are resolved by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution into industry and social life. The term originated in Japan from the government’s Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation and it tackles many aspects of society such as healthcare, mobility, infrastructure, politics, government, the economy, and industry.

Until now, Society 5.0 has been addressing the enormous opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. Problems such as climate change, migration and resource consumption must be solved jointly and globally. Sustainable development goals, e. g., poverty and education, require international effort. Also, lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on dealing with global challenges and crisis situations.

People, things, and systems are all connected in cyberspace. There is a conviction that results obtained by artificial intelligence can exceed the capabilities of humans and are fed back to physical space.

Society 5.0

3 keynotes and 12 sessions...

Society 5.0 addresses topics that drive the work of scientists from all over the world. This is proven by the numerous participants of this first conference. They attended from universities in different countries: China (Shenzhen Technology University), Germany (University of Paderborn and German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence DFKI), Greece (University of Piraeus), Indonesia (IPB University), Italy (University of Camerino), Canada (Ryerson University), Colombia (Universidad EAFIT), Malaysia (Putra Business School and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan), Austria (Technical University of Vienna), Spain (Universidade de Vigo), South Africa (University of Pretoria, University of South Africa) and Switzerland (University of Freiberg, FHNW School of Business)

… all made available online

The online contributions illustrate the range of current topics: the use of artificial intelligence in the Swiss banking sector, sustainability issues in the use of renewable energy for remote communities in Colombia, synergies between SMEs in Bangladesh and the so-called Smart City, etc.

Developing a conception of the conditions that are needed for a successful smart city was one of the most striking results of the conference. It is planned to hold the next conference in Switzerland in 2022.

Further Information