Industry 5.0, the new paradigm

Cristina De Luca -

January 30, 2023

Industry 4.0 is barely beginning to consolidate itself in Europe, and the countries of the continent are already discussing the next step: to make research and innovation drive the transition to a sustainable, resilient and human-centered economy.

According to the European Commission, Industry 4.0, as currently conceived, “is not suitable for a context of climate crisis and planetary emergency, nor does it address deep social tensions”. For this reason, the concept of Industry 5.0 emerged, which recognizes the power of industry to achieve social goals beyond jobs and growth, to become a vector of prosperity, making production respect the limits of our planet, and placing good -Being of the worker at the center of the production process. The new paradigm shifts the focus from just shareholder value to also considering stakeholder value.

A report by the American research institute AllTheResearch, from December 2020, shows that Industry 5.0 will move US$ 298.2 billion by 2027. In the opinion of David Montoya, global director of IoT business development at Paessler, it is a path of no turning back. “Industry 5.0 corrects distortions of Industry 4.0 and works towards a world fully aligned with ESG values”, he explains.

One of the main objectives of Industry 5.0 is to bring human workers back to the factory floor, generating synergies by combining human intelligence and creativity with automation and AI technologies of semi and/or fully autonomous machines.

The integration of human knowledge to improve, customize, adjust and command AI algorithms requires a dialogue where humans and machines help each other in various tasks. It is believed that this dialogue will add value to human experience and knowledge, strengthening the human role of Industry 5.0.

For example, interactive exploratory data analysis is one of the more general tasks where these channels can generate synergies. The interaction channel can be adapted to the context of humans and tasks, applying automatic data filters, custom views and data proposals, allowing humans to express queries in natural language. The workflow privileges interactive and active learning, where an AI algorithm generates outputs iterative processes that are increasingly enhanced by human decisions and knowledge.

The system automatically finds results and prompts humans for feedback and validation, automatically improving future results. Furthermore, humans can ask algorithms about the rationale for their decisions to understand and validate them. As far as prescriptive analytics is concerned, in addition to integrating humans into the flow, these channels will enable humans to request appropriate models of prescriptions from other scenarios to drive decisions based on quality data, and identify potentially dangerous or relevant situations that harm productivity .

The prerequisite is that technology serves people, not the other way around. Thus, collaborative robots (cobts) are being designed to interact with humans. Digital twins are being built to enable complex what-if simulations. AI-based technologies, as well as virtual and augmented reality tools, are being used to guide the worker to perform more specialized tasks. Exoskeletons, used to make certain tasks less physically demanding.

Indeed, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Everything (IoE), 6G, Blockchain, Digital Twin (DT), Big Data & Analytics, Cloud Computing (CC) and Collaborative Robots (cobots) will be industry-driving technologies 5.0. But, at heart, the concept is less technology-based and more values-centric. That’s why it’s an open and evolving concept, providing a basis for developing a collaborative and co-creative vision of the European industry of the future. It is based on the idea that technological transformation can be designed according to the needs of society, and not the other way around. This has several implications, related to a safe and beneficial work environment, respect for human rights and workers’ qualification requirements. This implies that the employer is interested in investing in the skills, abilities, and well-being of its employees, in order to achieve its objectives.

In summary, the work environment is more inclusive, the worker is more empowered and human capital is more valued. The worker is no longer considered a “cost”, to be seen as an investment by companies, allowing both to develop.

Therefore, Industry 5.0 complements and extends the characteristic features of Industry 4.0. While smart machines, IoT and AI can have profound impacts on manufacturing processes, technology alone cannot ensure operators have streamlined experiences.

At the core of Industry 5.0 advancements is the application of user experience (UX) methodologies to human-machine interfaces (HMI) — something that has been largely overlooked in Industry 4.0’s emphasis on emerging technologies. In simple terms, UX describes how humans interact with the technological tools designed to make their work easier. In the opinion of Leonardo Vieira, from Stefanini Group, the “Manufacturing UX Revolution” is a recognition that automations, digital tools and robotics may have fundamentally transformed how manufacturing environments work, but operators remain the definitive interface between people and the factory.

This revolution will allow the creation of highly efficient and flexible production lines. These production lines will be able to adapt quickly to changes in product demands and be able to produce goods at a much faster pace than traditional manufacturing methods.