CO - Techinnovation

Is Industry 5.0 putting humans back in the center

Is Industry 5.0 putting humans back in the center

Industry 4.0 focused on the machines. Is Industry 5.0 putting humans back in the center?

I was on a panel a couple of years back at the DHL Innovation Lab and we dwelt heavily on #Industry4.0. The term was still new, widely believed to have originated in 2011 from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promoted the computerization of manufacturing. 

On the panel we discussed CoBots, or #robots designed to work alongside robots, and how organisational design of the #future would need to evolve to accommodate them. 

Yet, those who have since visited ‘lights out’ factories in China with machines humming along and doing their job diligently in dark, are often worried about the mass displacement of human workers.

In more recent months the narrative has moved to ‘bespoke at scale’. It appears, at least for the moment, that humans could be back in vogue for this ‘personalisation’. 

Admittedly not quite at the shop floor, but to fill the higher value space where ‘machine producers’ meet human needs. Some are calling it #Industry5.0. What does it look like?

Humans at the centre

Dr. Skobelev & Dr. Borovik in their paper “On the way from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0” in the International Scientific Journal stress that, “Moreover, in spite of the fact that Industry 4.0 is only at the initial stage of the development and the main achievements can be expected not earlier than 2020-2025, the image of a new paradigm of Industry 5.0 could be seen.

It involves the penetration of Artificial Intelligence in man’s common life, their “cooperation” with the aim of enhancing the man capacity and the return of the man at the “Centre of the Universe”. 

 

Reading this article, I couldn’t help but think about how #Nike is partnering designer Heron Preston to create “Air Max 720/95 Heron Preston By You” DIY workshops in which users of all ages are able to customize their own set of Air Max 720/95s.

Nike COO Erick Sprunk says, “One day, consumers will be able to buy a shoe design file from Nike and 3D print the shoe themselves”.

 

Customised for self-expression

Manufacturing at scale brings efficiency and higher productivity. Yet, there are those of us who value our prized possessions and would appreciate our unique signature as a form of self expression. How about a car with side scuttles bearing your name? Or a cockpit facia with your daughter‘s drawing on it? 

BMW’s Mini Yours Customized can help you do that now. This program has won the German #Innovation Award Gold last year. The technology which underlies this innovation is not new - it is #3D printing. Yet, the way humans get involved to uncover the deeper motivation could make it the next step from Industry 4.0. 

 

Human aspirations & emotions

Robo Advisors have been around for many years now. Online fashion shopping is not new either. Much of it began with a push to bring-in data with machine learning, to achieve speed and accuracy. 

 

Yet, humans are disrupting both the spaces. MoneyOwl, Singapore’s 1st Bionic Financial Adviser, is bringing together human wisdom and technology to deliver financial advice that takes into account your dreams and aspirations. 

Stitch Fix is a human-stylist-on-demand-meet-artificial-intelligence service which has seen its revenue quadruple in the last four years. For all the bumpy ride its share prices have seen, MotleyFool co-founders professed Stitch Fix is on their “buy” list, just last week. 

 

From articles by CNBC to research papers by academics, Industry 5.0 is generally talking about putting humans back in the equation.

Whether it would be a real shift - a break from Industry 4.0 as one article calls it, or whether it is a halting response to concerns among the general population on potential loss of #jobs, only time will tell. 

Yet, it is exciting to see use cases emerging of humans partnering machines to create new & compelling economic value add. Emotional quotient remains a decidedly human characteristic, as does dealing with ambiguity and unique challenges. 

Would these translate to humans being at the “centre of the universe” in Industry 5.0? 

 

  • Vivek Kumar 
    Vivek Kumar 
    Assistant Director-General, NTUC Director, U Startup, U Associate, U Future Leaders, U PME Secretary, NTUC Membership Council, Singapore

    Vivek Kumar is Assistant Director-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). He is the Director of U Startup, U Associate, U Future Leaders & U PME. Under his leadership, his team grows the Labour Movement and builds relationships with 3-Generation NTUC members & networks, together with NTUC-affiliated unions and associations, NTUC Social Enterprises, NTUC U Associate professional guilds & professional groups such as startups & technopreneurs. Vivek is presently a board member of NTUC Link Pte Ltd, NTUC Club, & PME Hub Pte Ltd. He is also a Board Member of the InfoComm Media Development Authority (IMDA). He is the honorary Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Advisory Board of Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a keynote speaker at regional conferences, and writes in selected business publications.

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