On The Cusp – 5 Signs We’re Getting Close To The 5th Industrial Revolution

Though COVID-19 has blazed a trail of destruction all over the world, it’s also forced the rapid development of many technological innovations. Your mind might immediately leap to the medical world, but we’re also seeing incredible leaps forward in entertainment and the corporate world. Automation, virtual offices, and VR headsets were hallmarks of Industry 4.0. So, what should we be looking out for with the 5th industrial revolution?

1. A growing focus on sustainability

With its focus on augmented reality, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and automation, the 4th Industrial Revolution carried on the dehumanizing vibes of its predecessors. This trend is starting to change, however, with a growing demand for sustainable solutions to both individual and global problems. It’s looking like Industry 5.0 will be geared towards technology that has a positive impact on society and the environment. 

2. Less intrusive tech

While the 4th Industrial Revolution has involved the miniaturization of our favorite devices, the 5th will take this to a new level with our connection to our tech becoming so streamlined the boundary between human and machine disappears. Elon Musk claims Neuralink will be operational in human brains before the end of 2020. If his predictions prove to be accurate, he’ll be at the forefront of heralding in the 5th Industrial Revolution.

3. Cryptocurrency

Industry runs on more than machinery and the ideas of brilliant minds like Elon Musk. Underlying, funding (and in many cases, inspiring) most modern tech advancements is money. The rise of decentralized currency has been so profound that you can barely go a day without your news feed featuring at least some mention of cryptocurrency. From Bitcoin, the field has rapidly expanded to include Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Ripple, and even tokens (ICOs). Governments around the world are scrambling to find a way to get a handle on cryptocurrency, and with thousands of people creating accounts on a daily basis, we’re witnessing the goldrush of the 21st century.  Whatever new format cryptocurrency leads us into will be part of Industry 5.0.

4. Universal Basic Income (UBI)

As the coronavirus pandemic swept the world and people were forced to stay home, we saw many nations roll out payments to support their citizens through the crisis. This has been something of an unintentional test run for the UBI we will likely need when AI and automation become more widespread fixtures in the workplace. WIth traditional roles becoming obsolete and new ones emerging, a UBI will allow people to get by while they re-skill and transition to new, more creative, and complex roles. 

5. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The United Nations’ SDGs were designed to be a universal blueprint for a flourishing society. They cover every facet of life – social, environmental, and economic – and are the first of their kind. These shared global goals will be the guiding light as we head into the 5th Industrial Revolution. They promise to create a shift in focus from “growth at any cost” to growth that’s sustainable, both for humanity and the environment in which we live.


Technology is growing at a staggering rate, which means the Industrial Revolutions are going to come faster as the years progress. The 5th will be characterized by a reimagining of currency, a focus on sustainability and social equality, and the dissolution of the barrier between humans and the devices we use. If Elon Musk is to be believed, then this future isn’t as far away as you might think.