Education 4.0 and its key role in sustainable development

Since the First Industrial Revolution (circa 1800), humanity has experienced several major waves of political, economic, social, technological and environmental development. These major waves of development have come to be termed 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 as a way of classifying the major turning points since the First Industrial Revolution.

Many people believe that the world is now experiencing a fourth wave (4.0) of development. Thus, in the fourth wave, Education 4.0 coincides with Globalisation 4.0, Industry 4.0, Society 4.0, Web 4.0 and Environment 4.0. This broad system of classification can serve as a useful mental model to bring clarity to the key factors driving global development.

Globalisation 4.0 is characterised by hyper-connectivity and the rapid (or instantaneous) movement of goods, capital, energy, people and information as a result of advanced interconnected supply chains, transportation systems, financial systems and communication systems.

Industry 4.0 is characterised by advanced integration of digital, physical, and biological systems including, among others, artificial intelligence and human-machine interfaces.

Society 4.0 is characterised by the development of a new humanistic value system and social contract that puts the well-being of people and the planet first and that creates hyper-intelligent systems that co-evolve in the service of humanity and the planet.

Web 4.0 (the symbiotic web) is characterised as the internet of things, an electronic space where humans and machines will interact effortlessly through AI interfaces and highly intelligent self-learning systems.

Environment 4.0 makes use of emerging innovations such as blockchain, big data analytics, drones, artificial intelligence and other technologies and processes in order to create a fully circular economy which protects and regenerates the environment, eliminates pollution and greenhouse emissions, implements economy-wide renewable energies and achieves the Sustainable Development Goals.

Environment 4.0 also brings with it many ethical concerns related to assisted evolutionecological restoration and species de-extinction, among others.

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