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  • Writer's pictureBicheng Chen

Industry 5.0 is Human Centric and Focuses on Sustainability; What Does 4.0 Have In Common?

The progression of Industry 1.0 through 5.0 was propelled forward by solving problems, addressing new ideas, and introducing specific ideologies. A backdrop of broad social-economic changes was in place during each industrial revolution. Is each industrial revolution different from the others that previously occurred? On the surface, yes, they involve different concepts and different technologies. If we look closely, we can find they build off of the others while pioneering new changes and knowledge human society has discovered over time.

For example, the first Industrial revolution focused heavily on using alternative materials for things such as fuel, which was new. Ironically, the first industrial revolution and industrialization caused problems that continued over time. The latest industrial revolutions would finally solve these issues. While gaining huge productivity improvement and propelling society in an economic sense, each industrial revolution also changes the balance among technology, the environment, and the human race.

Each Industry X.0 period either tries to push productivity farther and/or solve the problems and imbalance created by the previous one. The dynamics produce new technology and ideas driving different industries. Depending on the period, these ideas change following the dynamics mentioned before. Industry 4.0 talks about the relationship between machines and the people that operate them. As Internet technology revolutionized how people shop, pay, and get transportation, we are experiencing the same scale of disruption in the manufacturing and supply chain space. However, as mentioned before, industrialization gives human society an unparalleled ability to change our environment.

As we look back through history, what is the difference between industry 4.0 and 5.0? What's new? They play off of each other. Things that are important in 5.0 wouldn't be possible without the ideas from 4.0. In addition, there are characteristics shared by both (Bandyopadhyay, 2021):

  • Humans are working with and alongside machines.

  • Adapting to ever-changing and advancing technology.

  • Testing new technology before adopting it in the workplace or releasing any products created by it.

  • Keep track of how machines are running to know of any performance issues. Doing this allows for any potential problems to be fixed. You can also be sure that all technology in a factory is working in harmony.

  • IoT (the Internet of Things) with ubiquitous connectivity, sensing, and computing drives "big data" across different industries.

  • Intelligent systems receive feedback, take it, and make changes to create a more efficient (relating to multiple aspects, time, sustainability, and finances) process.

  • Data risk and breaches are better understood with more advanced tools to defend against increased information security challenges.

One of the main differences between 4.0 and 5.0 is that 4.0 is more about machines leveraging advancements in computing and network technology, although 5.0 touches on this. It emphasizes a relationship with society. Industry 4.0 raises the question, how will the machine, human beings, and the environment be affected?

Sustainability is about not wasting the resources we can get from our environment (Brundtland, 1987). Preserving and caring for the earth will allow us to also thrive in the generation to come. Part of taking care of our planet revolves around lessening the amount of waste we produce. Society can reduce waste by not using as many single-use plastics, reusing containers, and recycling items that comply with a specific area's rules. Depending on where you live, certain items are allowed to be recycled while others are not. In manufacturing, putting this practice means reducing and recycling scraps or unused materials. Industry 5.0 calls for innovation and innovators to apply technology, like artificial intelligence, improve productivity, re-architect our supply chain and manufacturing process, and make sustainability the center stage.

As technology advances, one school of thought believes that bringing Artificial Intelligence into factories will inevitably take jobs away from humans. That is not part of the vision when it comes to Industry 5.0. A significant aspect of this concept is using a more human-centric approach. Machines are implemented in factories to increase productivity while optimized against sustainability targets. Machine intelligence can play a role in assisting without taking over. Machine intelligence can empower the manufacturing workforce to drive wage increases with underlying productivity improvement. There are numerous things that a human being may need help doing, such as remembering a large sum of information, making complicated calculations, and balancing different objectives (e.g., productivity versus sustainability) while living in a dynamic global economic environment. These are things that machine intelligence could help with.

These two concepts (Industry 4.0 and 5.0) are the most recent addition to this long line of ideas. Therefore, many people are only now transitioning from 3.0 to 4.0.

Just as they started making that jump to 4.0, 5.0 was introduced.

As mentioned earlier in this blog post, there are many similarities between 4.0 and 5.0, so the change shouldn't be too jarring or confusing. We can all be part of the conversation and shape how technology, economy, and society interact with each other.

We believe in a bright future ahead for technological evolution and the new ideas and concepts that spawn from it. Since we are seeing these constructs come to fruition in real-time and at a fast pace, before we know it, there could be an industry 6.0.


Bandyopadhyay, S. (2021). What's the Difference Between Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0? Isa.Org. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from

Brundtland, G. H. (1987). Report of the World Commission on environment and development:" our common future.". UN.

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