Technology in Focus | Ready or not, Industry 5.0 is coming - Experts call for innovative ways of preparing workforce for new tech era
Although some organisations are just beginning to tap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, technological innovators are not waiting around and are already racing towards a version of a Fifth Industrial Revolution called ‘Industry 5.0’.
Education and information technology experts are calling for new ways to deliver appropriate education and training to meet the demands of Industry 5.0.
Professor of communications policy and digital media at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Hopeton Dunn, maintains that Industry 5.0 is among numerous attempts to classify the various stages of human and machine development, from the early tool-making efforts of primitive humans to what he calls “the latest high-end, cyber-physical technologies of robots, self-driving cars, Internet of things, and their motive forces of machine learning, algorithms and artificial intelligence”.
According to Dunn, “While Industry 4.0 speaks to a broad scope of technology-led changes affecting all aspects of human society globally, the emerging concept of Industry 5.0 is more narrowly focused on efficient manufacturing processes, through better interaction between humans and robots, while limiting waste and protecting the environment.”
Both Dunn and Dr Sean Thorpe, head of the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Technology, Jamaica, are of the belief that the present era demands innovative ways to deliver education and training appropriate to global and local demands.
“The focus of training and education needs to be repositioned. The curricula must now seek to model Industry 5.0 standards, guided by human-intelligent models of training; and the human practitioner, about how to leverage machine to develop product and service aware technology solutions, which are in context, sensitive and add new dimensions of market value to the end user/customer worldwide,” said Thorpe, who is also the president of the Jamaica Computer Society.
“The processes of preparing Jamaicans for this new environment should start at the basic, primary and secondary stages of schooling, with an introduction to content such as non-traditional languages, basic computer programming, digital literacy and experimentation with robotics,” Dunn suggested.
“Students should also receive early exposure to the value of critical thinking, wide reading, community history, cultural arts and human communication. The hardcore practice of streaming students into arts and sciences early in the secondary system must give way to what is now called a ‘convergent education’, in which the benefits of an education in both the arts and sciences can be deployed by students in the selection of new careers that often require this dual exposure,” Dunn posited.
Thorpe said it is imperative that there is a shift in local educational and business practices needed to achieve these realignments.
“However, these transitions are not easy, hence the need to be deliberate cannot be overstated. Some immediate steps will need to include talented trainers and mentors – new and existing – to be tooled in the depth of practice and skills training, which harnesses collaborative artificial intelligence (AI),” he explained.
“Secondly, the development of intellectual property for these collaborative AI solutions need to be assessed and promoted as a part of basic research as well as the innovations required, coming out of the pre- and post-university training institutions. The transitional framework in building skills to support a collaborative AI human workforce is a triple helix for government, the private sector and academia to work together to provide our next-generation workforce with the opportunities,” he added.