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Society 5.0 A People-centric Super-smart Society (Chapter 8: Issues and Outlook by Atsushi Deguchi and Kaori Karasawa)


H-UTokyo Lab


177 pages, hardcover







Published by

Springer Singapore

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Society 5.0 A People-centric Super-smart Society

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This is a summary of a chapter in a book titled Society 5.0 ningen chūshin no chō sumāto shakai (Society 5.0: A Smart society Centered on Humans). The book is edited by the H-UTokyo Lab, a joint research project of Hitachi and the University of Tokyo for the promotion of industry-academia collaborative knowledge creation and discusses the Society 5.0 concept from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Society 5.0 is a “human-centered society in which anyone can enjoy a high quality of life full of vigor.” If you are not familiar with the term I recommend that you refer to the Cabinet Office website (https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/society5_0/index.html), where it is explained in detail. Achieving society 5.0 requires not only a high level of technology, but also careful consideration for of implementing this technology that will contribute to the well-being of people and society. This necessitates the integration of knowledge across diverse fields. As a specialist in social psychology, I have espoused on such topics as the relationship between human happiness and science and technology, social acceptance of technology, and the ethical and social issues caused by science and technology. This chapter summarizes some of my views on these subjects.
In this chapter I begin by identifying the potential for technology to contribute to people's well-being based on research findings on the determinants of happiness. Certainly, technology that enhances comfort, convenience, fun, and quality of life can be said to make us “happy.” But I must point out here that the idea of Society 5.0 is not a society that is the aggregate of individual happiness. The services offered by technology are necessarily limited and do not benefit everyone equally. The problem is one of fairness and impartiality. As technology provides greater and greater comfort, the individual may want even more, and when this desire overlaps with selfish and exploitive behavior it brings about the destruction of the very fabric of social systems.
Because of this, it is necessary to incorporate within the idea of Society 5.0 technology and data for controlling such human behavior. Implementing these controls without taking into account the characteristics of our minds, however, is to destroy our image of the autonomy of human behavior that is based on individual values. Neither a society in which human endeavor is directed exclusively at convenience and efficiency nor a society in which humans are controlled by big data and artificial intelligence can be said to be truly “human-centered” societies.
In that case, how can we realize the concept of a “human-centered” society? There is no easy answer. Simply applying technology to upgrade society from a level 4.0 to a level 5.0 does not automatically mean we can achieve a “society in which all people enjoy an equal opportunity to pursue happiness.” For science and technology to be put to best use in a manner that is in harmony with the characteristics of the human mind and of society, we have no choice but to deal with the diverse challenges related to systems, ethics, and legal concerns and in the process, endeavor to resolve the questions of what humanity and society should be. It is my hope that this chapter, as well as the other chapters in this book, will provide food for thought on the psychological and humanistic aspects of these questions.


(Written by KARASAWA Kaori, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology / 2020)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What Is Society 5.0?
Chapter 2: Habitat Innovation
Chapter 3: From Smart City to Society 5.0
Chapter 4: Integrating Urban Data with Urban Services
Chapter 5: Solving Social Issues Through Industry-Academia Collaboration
Chapter 6: From Monetary to Nonmonetary Society
Chapter 7: Interview: Creating Knowledge Collaboratively to Forge a Richer Society Tomorrow – An Innovation Ecosystem to Spearhead Social Transformation
Chapter 8: Issues and Outlook
Correction to Society 5.0

Related Info

Japanese edition:
Society 5.0  (Nikkei Business Publications  Oct 26, 2018)

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