Rajib Shaw: “Society 5.0”, 2050

By Rajib Shaw, Keio University, Japan

In 2050, you are living in a different world. Thirty years ago, in the year 2020, we had a great pandemic called Coronavirus (COVID-19), which killed several hundreds of thousands, affecting millions of people globally. The world came to a standstill in terms of global mobility.  We thought of changing from busy urban lifestyles to more ecological and nature-friendly and efficient lifestyles.  We talked about a “new normal,” but then went back to “normal.”

With technology, the world is becoming closely interconnected. Meanwhile, “living with uncertainty” becomes common, be it for climate change or be it for technological, biological, and other types of hazards. As I write this time capsule in 2020, I think back another thirty years, to when we started the international disaster decade in 1990.  From 1990 to 2020, we saw many changes in the disaster and climate field, the most prominent being the use of technology and innovation. Challenges still remain in how we deliver the benefits of technology to the most needy, the vulnerable.  Thirty years from now, in 2050, I hope this challenge will be addressed properly. Our urgent need is to break the digital divide, bringing solutions and innovation to poor, elderly, and remote communities.  The “information” age of the 2020s will change to the “Society 5.0” of 2050, where the emerging technologies of the 2020s (like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, the Internet of Things, Drones, Blockchain etc.) become essential and affordable technologies.

So, be innovative, be passionate, think about the most vulnerable groups, and contribute to building a resilient society in an uncertain world.

Read Rajib Shaw’s HazNet article on Smart and participatory water solution in Bangladesh

Note from the Editor: This article was produced as part of the Time Capsule: A message to future emergency managers, resilience practitioners, and disaster risk reduction scholars series by HazNet. Read other time capsules here.