Why the Future Needs Ecological Civilization and Not Society 5.0


  • Glenn McLaren Swinburne Unviersity


Society 5.0, ecological civilization, technology and society, process philosophy, AI


The Japanese government, in response to the many social, economic and environmental problems they face, have embraced and are developing, in collaboration with universities and transnational corporations, a concept they call Society 5.0. This is a plan to integrate new technologies such as Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence and robotics. The Internet of Things will gather data which will be processed by AI which will provide for and even anticipate each individual’s needs with minimal waste. This idea is not just Japan’s but is being replicated in many developed nations and is seen as our inevitable future path. In this paper, however, I argue that this is a plan to create a totalitarian New Brave World, as Aldous Huxley imagined it. A world in which humans are enslaved to the machines that provide for their every desire and lose their ability to develop cognitively and ethically. This will be a world full of comfortable idiots living in an illusion of certainty. I will provide a range of criticisms of Society 5.0 but more than that, I will propose an alternative being developed by the global process philosophy community; Ecological Civilization. While Society 5.0 seeks its solutions through further abstracting humanity from the natural world it is destroying, locking us in a deterministic bubble, Ecological Civilization seeks to re-embed us in nature, repair our dysfunctional relationships with it and promote freedom through transcendence to higher levels of development.      




How to Cite

McLaren, G. (2021). Why the Future Needs Ecological Civilization and Not Society 5.0. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(1), 567–598. Retrieved from http://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/952