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Reforming education for Society 5.0

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KYOTO, PREF. – Society 5.0 is the name the government has given to a new society to be brought about by progress in such technologies as artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving vehicles and the internet of things. If such a naming is to be accepted, it is logical to assume that there existed in human history societies 1.0 through 4.0. They were, in chronological order, the hunting society, farming society, industrial society and the information society. Today we live in the information society, but the transition to Society 5.0 is just around the corner.

In Society 5.0, remote medical services, automatic translation that removes language barriers, AI and robots supporting the elderly or people with disabilities, autonomous driving technology assisting elderly drivers, and real-time access to necessary information are expected to eliminate problems arising from social disparities, according to the Cabinet Office.

At least in the Cabinet Office’s view, Society 5.0 can be interpreted as a utopia that will simultaneously achieve both economic development and resolve various social problems. While I do not fully agree with this view, let’s assume that we accept it at face value.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology created a panel of representatives from industrial and academic circles to discuss measures to reform university education and entrance exams in preparation for the arrival of Society 5.0. In April, the panel released an interim report and proposal jointly by its members. To sum it up, the report emphasizes the need for nurturing human resources well-versed in AI and data sciences, and also calls for improving liberal arts education.

Until several years ago, reports coming from the education ministry seemed to consider liberal arts as........

© The Japan Times