The recently held “Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019” last month was an international platform for Muslim leaders, thinkers, intellectuals and scholars to discuss and exchange ideas about issues revolving around Muslims based on the seven pillars namely development and sovereignty; integrity and good governance; culture and identity; justice and freedom. The Summit had also witnessed 18 successful exchanges of instruments in various fields including advanced hi-technology; media collaboration; centre of excellence; food security and youth leadership as well as exchange programmes.
According to Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir, the main focus were on the economy, science and technology as well as defence industry but most importantly, the need to be able to produce and create new indigenous technologies.
Indeed, technology is changing our world at an astonishing pace. In the span of a few short years, the internet, mobile devices and social media have transformed how we communicate and get information about the world. This has opened` up new vectors for the spread of information, be it real or fake. The impact of this technology change is highly important as it is quick and we cannot afford to remain doing things the old way. Indeed, technologies are taking the world by storm.
In the automation industries especially, a big change has occurred where machines have taken over human functions. For examples, the self-driving car also known as the autonomous vehicle (AV), the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV), driverless car and robotic car. These vehicles are capable of sensing their environment and moving safely with little or no human input. Self-driving cars combine a variety of sensors to perceive their surroundings. Advanced control system interprets sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage.
In the economic sector, fintech or financial technology is the technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional methods in the delivery of financial services. It is an emerging technology that uses technology to improve activities in finance. The use of smartphones for mobile banking, investing services and cryptocurrency are examples of technologies that aim at making financial services more accessible to the general public
How will our society adapt to the change? One of the biggest pitfalls in exploring future scenarios is assuming that the political, economic and social institutions that will cope with future challenges are the same as today. People and institutions adapt. They may not always be quick to change but pressure will inevitably drive adaptation. Much of the uncertainty about the future is not about the technology itself, but how we respond to it. How will we react to fatalities from autonomous vehicles? How will we respond to climate change? How will we cope with a world rife with disinformation and propaganda?
Japan has prepared such challenges by creating a society that can resolve various social challenges by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution (e.g the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the sharing economy) into every industry and social life. By doing so, the society of the future will be one in which new values and services are created continuously, making people live more comfortably and sustainably. Indeed, this is Society 5.0 that is being introduced by Japan as a vision for the future. It is a super-smart society where technology such as big data, IoT, AI and robotics fuse into every industry and across all social segments.
Society 5.0 is a human-centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space. Society 5.0 follows hunting society (Society 1.0), agricultural society (Society 2.0), industrial society (Society 3.0), and information society (Society 4.0).
In Society 5.0, a huge amount of information from sensors in physical space is accumulated in cyberspace. In cyberspace, this big data is analysed by AI and the analysis results are provided as feedbacks to humans in physical space in various forms. Achieving Society 5.0 would realise economic development and reduce environment degradation.
The book entitled Technology and Society: Building our Sociotechnical Future written by authorities as varied as Freeman Dyson, Laurence Lessig, Bruno Latour and Judy Wajcman focuses on the interconnections of technology, society and values. This book highlights how technology shapes society and how society shapes technology. It also gives readers new perspectives on such current issues as globalisation, the balance between security and privacy, environmental justice and poverty in the developing world.
Finally, from the Islamic perspective, society is conceived as an association of individuals formed in accordance with the Divine law with the purpose of achieving a harmonious and peaceful coexistence. The Divine revelation as written in the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) constitutes the foundation of social order in Islamic society. Islam is supportive of scientific research that brings benefits to humankind but knowledge of science and technology that is predominantly harmful is discouraged.