A test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and self-driving cars

From touchscreen vending machines to interactive robots, Japan is where the future exists in the present. “Company 5.0” was presented as a central concept in the 5th Basic Plan for Science and Technology, adopted by the Japanese Cabinet in January 2016. It was identified in 2017 as a central element of the Japanese growth strategy for the future.

As part of the Company Vision 5.0, Japan aims to create a highly efficient business model by successfully integrating a number of technological innovations (such as AI, IoT, etc.) into daily life. to create a “cyber-physical system”, in which cyberspace and physical space are tightly integrated. Experts say the Society 5.0 initiative will enable the Japanese government to bring its country further into the information age into a more tech savvy, richer and more sustainable one.

Society 5.0 – the past and the future

Source: Ben Sweet / Unsplash

Society 5.0 was designed as part of Japan’s efforts to overcome the economic stagnation resulting from the fall in the stock market and house prices in 1991. The period 1991 to 2001 is considered a “lost decade” for the world. Japanese economy when the country experienced a significant drop in GDP and real wages. Today, many economists still use the term ‘Japonization‘to denote long-term economic stagnation and deflation.

The idea for Company 5.0 was first brought forward in 2016 with the Japanese government’s Fifth Basic Plan for Science, Innovation and Technology (STI). The sixth STI plan, adopted in April 2021 by government, would further promote and push development activities that are aligned with the Vision of Society 5.0.

Japan 5.0: a test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and autonomous cars
Source: Andy Kelly / Unsplash

Japan is eager to boost its economy by bringing significant development in sectors such as healthcare, finance, logistics and infrastructure, but its aging population (28.7% of Japanese are over 65) is a major obstacle to achieving these ambitious goals. Society 5.0 hopes to solve this problem in a smart way, proposing the integration of digital world technologies into the real world in such a way that Japan’s economic development is driven by advancements in advanced technologies rather than population growth.

This is why the Japanese government has decided to invest heavily in sectors such as machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. More than Over the next five years, Japan plans to spend around 30 trillion Japanese yen (US $ 225 billion) on various research and development programs, with the expectation that the industry will also invest 90 trillion yen. An additional 10,000 billion yen will be used to stimulate global competition from the best performing Japanese universities.

The country is also striving to make the most of AI and big data technology in its futuristic society. Therefore, by 2034, it plans to invest around $ 4 billion in the same segment.

How will Japan enter Society 5.0?

Japan 5.0: a test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and autonomous cars
Source: Francisco Sanchez / Pexels

Japan aims to use technology to transform its existing society into a safer, more secure and more resilient one, and through the use of Society 5.0. To achieve this, the sixth STI integrated three main policies:

1. Integration of cyberspace and physical space to bring about social and structural reforms.

As part of this policy, the government will adopt a data strategy, promote digitization through AI and related technologies, and promote carbon neutrality. The Japanese administration has also created a Green Innovation Fund to ensure planned sustainable development in the country.

The creation of a healthy startup ecosystem, smart cities and various other strategic innovation programs are also mentioned in this policy, as important steps towards the development of an advanced society.

2. Increase research and create knowledge to design a powerful new company.

In the sixth STI, Japan approved a massive 10,000 billion yen (US $ 91 billion) fund for the country’s top universities so that they can be transformed to better compete with global research institutes.

Japan 5.0: a test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and autonomous cars
Source: Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

The Japanese government will also support young researchers and scientists in the coming years so that new innovative ideas and technologies can be monetized and become part of society 5.0 and bring further development.

3. An improved learning environment and human resources.

This will promote digital education and research in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields, enable universities to upgrade their educational ecosystem and contribute to the development of human resources in the country to strengthen the new society. .

To achieve the objectives of Society 5.0, the Sixth TSI also includes provisions to ensure rapid growth in the field of supercomputers, quantum mechanics, 5G, space technology and semiconductors.

What changes would Society 5.0 make?

Japan 5.0: a test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and autonomous cars
Source: Kindel Media / pexels

Society 5.0 shows great potential for balanced economic development in the country, and there are many ways it hopes to forever transform the Japanese way of life:

The biometric data of users, for example the elderly collected on a daily basis in the proposed model, could be used to inform users of their risk of developing a disease or a complication of an existing disease. VR surgical simulators will enable physicians to provide advanced diagnosis, as well as useful in-depth learning in diagnostic imaging will also enable early detection of the disease.

Apart from this, Japan’s aging population requires good care and medical attention, and robots designed to function as nurses are being developed to handle part of the care of Japan’s aging generation. Online availability of patient records and other medical data would increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Autonomous driving technology will reduce crash rates, save time, and lead to a smoother and more efficient traffic experience in Society 5.0. From trains and taxis, to buses and cars, the plan is for everything to be ultimately managed by intelligent autonomous systems.

In addition, a regulatory sandbox system will allow automakers to test their autonomous vehicles conveniently and on a large scale.

In Society 5.0, AI and robotics would help humans perform a variety of tasks, from normal housework to large-scale industrial operations such as building roads or dams.

Wearable AI-based devices will be able to monitor users and might even adjust their bodily functions for peak performance.

Japan 5.0: a test bed for humanoid robots, 5G and autonomous cars
Source: Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

The IoT would be widely used in sports, entertainment, and other industries for sharing data and designing better versions of existing technology applications.

The plans also call for an increase in the use of blockchain technology and more widespread use of application programming interfaces (APIs) in fintech. These changes would be increase efficiency banking system in Japan.

Using the vast knowledge of the industrial age, Society 5.0 attempts to bridge the gap between the digital space and the real world. This model of a human-centered society not only promotes the intelligent use of energy, but also promises high hopes for the future.

About Timothy Ball

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