The world is moving very fast, at a speed that many of our businesses can’t keep up with. And the global changes are so impactful that no business that means business should be left behind.

As society advance, so are the tools of trade and or production. And thus it’s very imperative that our businesses understand where we are at currently so that they change with the times and adapt to the latest and new global trends. The world has become a global village, so, anything happening millions of miles away affects us here, and now.

Sadly, many of our business are still stuck in the yesteryears, and with the current technological advancements, many of them will be undergoing oblivion and die naturally, because they didn’t innovate and also adopt the appropriate technologies at the time.

We still see many businesses that are yet to jump into the knowledge economy or information age train. No business website or even very limited digital footprint if any.

Where Have We come From? A Short History of Human Societies

Society 1.0 – Hunter/Gatherer

You remember, the first man was living in a hunter/gatherer society. This is not the case now since then there were naturally occurring fruits and animals to be eaten easily found in the vast almost empty lands.

That was the case then since the human population at the time was so small, knowledge was low and there was no need to do more or think more, as their daily needs were met every day. There was no pressure or risk on anything on their daily and or ways of life.

Society 2.0 – Agrarian Revolution – (circa 10,000 BC).

As the human population started increasing and there was a need to produce more food, hunting/gathering was diminishing, a new age/idea was born. And this was the Agrarianism or the Agrarian Revolution. This was the age that brought into being farming practices and the need to grow crops and domestication of animals. This was very impactful as it still forms one of the major tenets of life in this day and age.

But then, the human population was growing very fast while production through farming was slow… Not producing enough food supplies to a hungry society. Something had to be done.

Society 3.0 Industrial Revolution – Circa (~1780 to 1970)

Efficiency in production was thus very imperative, and it held the key to the survival of the vast human population. Industrialists came into being and this gave birth to the third age of human society. The age of efficient production/industrialism or the industrial revolution.

Industrial Revolution has continued to spur life as is currently. Everything that we currently use has been manufactured and made better, faster and durable to last the upcoming centuries. Machines were produced for farming, vehicles were produced to make travel easier and faster, planes and ships came into being to connect us globally, and even the telephone was conceptualized and now we could communicate with each other across borders.

We now produce food at scale, we can farm vast acreage of lands, and also exploit minerals and resources hidden under the earth for use in the production of tools and systems.

Society 4.0 – Information Age – Circa 1970 – Now…

But then again, this wasn’t enough. And then the information age/internet age was born.

The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a historic period in the 21st century characterized by the rapid shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information technology.

By the late 1980s, many businesses were dependent on computers and digital technology. Motorola created the first mobile phone, Motorola DynaTac, in 1983.

It’s the modern age regarded as a time in which information has become a commodity that is quickly and widely disseminated and easily available especially through the use of computer technology.

This age of information has been characterized by an explosion of opportunities to not only access but also create vast amounts of information. … So yes, the information age is still in the process of evolving, and we are, to some degree, still in it.

Society 5.0 – Impact Age – 2020 Onwards

Even as we’re still currently in the information age or age of modernity or digital age, we have seen a lot of advancements already that have set the stage for transforming the future of society.

The modern age brought the internet, which gave birth to big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). We’ve also seen advancements in technology that promises self-driving cars, robotics and even space exploration…

These have informed the thinking of a new society. A new age. Society of the future. A super smart society.

How do we want the future to look like?

In the upcoming G20 Summit to be held June 25th 2019, Japan will be presenting to the summit what they call Society 5.0. This will also be a showcase in the winter Olympics that they shall host in 2020, as a launch pad to the future of society. It’s the Impact Age.

One definition of society 5.0 is: “A human-centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space.”

Japan aims at creating a society where we can resolve various social challenges by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution (e.g. IoT, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), robot, and the sharing economy) into every industry and social life. By doing so the society of the future will be one in which new values and services are created continuously, making people’s lives more conformable and sustainable.

This is Society 5.0, a super-smart society.

Japan will take the lead to realize this ahead of the rest of the world.

Examples of Society 5.0 in application

1. Flying machines will come to your town!

Drones are being applied for delivering goods, surveying the property, and supporting disaster relief around our world. They generate hopes and dreams, soaring over fields and mountains right to your very own neighbourhood.

2. Smart home appliances will make daily life more pleasant.

Home appliances embedding artificial intelligence (AI) are developed and sold all over the world as well as in Japan. “Convenience” will accelerate when home appliances are linked to each other. We already have smart TVs and even refrigerators, smart cars, smart watches, smartphones are also available.

This is just but a tip of the iceberg of what a smart society can be and do. AI will support your daily life.

3. Tireless helpers will soon come to the assistance of caregivers and care recipients.

Our ageing society is challenging our ability to provide medical and nursing care. Robots and other forms of cutting-edge technology are providing clues to solutions.

4. The increasing role of robots will banish hard labour!

Work is subject to weather and danger. Those toiling in challenging environments will soon have a cool and trustworthy partner at their side—a partner who can work under any condition.

5. Make shopping and travelling more convenient with the giant “cloud.”

The recent rapid diffusion of cloud services is delighting users and companies alike. The low capital investment and easy integration benefit small-and-medium-sized enterprises as well as individual businesses.

6. A new hero is emerging on the scene in logistics and transportation.

Autonomous driving, frequently depicted in movies and manga, is a technology that symbolizes the future. We can expect to see its use start in public transportation and logistics and spread to general households.

What’s Up Kenya?

Kenya continues to witness tremendous growth in digital technologies, arguably, more rapid than previous waves of technological innovations.  It is for this reason that the Smart Africa Initiative, a continental body aimed at creating a single Digital Market in Africa has appointed Kenya to develop a blueprint for a digital economy in Africa, Principal Secretary for ICT Jerome Ochieng has said.

More still needs to be done as a country, for us to start enjoying the meaning of Society 5.0. The government and businesses must invest in the knowledge economy, and then lay down requisite infrastructure that will make integration and application possible.

Is your business ready for impact? Is Kenya ready for Society 5.0?

This is the starting point for a super-smart society. We must prepare for this. Businesses must embrace this new impact age. What steps are you taking as a business so that you’re not left behind and stuck in the industrial age? Or the information age?

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