“COVID has shown the world that you cannot just take the planet for free but that you have to take care of it as well.”

This is according to Pratik Gauri, the president of the 5th Element Group, a global impact management consultancy, who was part of a masterclass on “5IR, Energy, and Humanity” by Africa Energy Forum on the first day of the Digital Energy Festival for Africa.

“I see 5IR as working at the intersection of technology and purpose,” said Gauri.

“There have been two worlds in 4IR that have been pretty much operating in silos.

“The first world has been centred around profits and progress (mostly private sector). The second world has been centred around purpose and inclusivity (philanthropy or not-for-profit).

“I believe that magic can be produced if we can work at the intersection of both these worlds and this is what I call the 5th Industrial Revolution.”

Bending the focus
According to Gauri, the 4th Industrial Revolution has “definitely given us lots and lots of benefits, but if we can bend the focus of all frontier technologies that have been produced by the 4th Industrial Revolution towards humanity, that is what the 5th Industrial Revolution is all about.”

During his presentation, he explained man’s transition from the 1st Industrial Revolution to today.

“As soon as a new form of energy is created we transcend from one industrial revolution to the next. The 1st Industrial Revolution was focused on steam energy, then we transcended to electricity, oil and gas, which formed the 2IR. The 3rd Industrial Revolution focused on personal computers, digital and nuclear energy.

“Then we moved to the 4th Industrial Revolution which is happening right now. This is more about artificial intelligence, 3D printing, blockchain and all sorts of frontier technologies.

“And now there is a new form of energy which has been created which is all about humanity, which I call the human capital. And that is why we need to transcend from 4IR to 5IR and work at the intersection of profits and purpose.

“The reason we need to transcend to 5IR is all the four IRs have definitely given us a lot of technology and invention but it has caused a lot of harm as well.”

He mentioned as examples of this harm the lack of gender equality, “more than a billion people still don’t have access to electricity”, lack of access to water and education and excess CO2 emissions.

“For all these reasons we need to bend the focus of technology towards humanity to create the 5th Industrial Revolution.”

According to Gauri, 5IR will also assist in achieving several of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals.

Long range wireless transmission
EnergyNet MD Simon Gosling of Africa Energy Forum, joint organiser of the Digital Energy Festival, talked about the role and impact of electricity in economic development and growth and said that he saw the move from 4IR to 5IR more as an evolution than a revolution, “using the benefits of the 4IR.”

“In the Forum this year we’re going to have some amazing new technologies. We have a case study on long range wireless transmission. Imagine that. Imagine the impact that long range wireless transmission is going to have on the continent. Electrification for the entire continent can be achieved in ten years if this technology is adopted.

“This is a project that is currently being developed in New Zealand.” Read more about this project and presentation here.

The 5IR discussion was led by Tony Tiyou, the founder and CEO of Renewables in Africa (RIA).

To watch this and many other sessions in full, register for the Digital Energy Festival for Africa:

   – Africa Energy Forum sessions, click here
   – Oil & Gas Council sessions, click here
   – African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa sessions, click here – FREE access
   – ESI Africa sessions, click here – FREE access

The Digital Energy Festival is hosted jointly by four of Clarion Events’ leading energy brands Africa Energy ForumAfrican Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa and the Oil & Gas Council’s Africa Assembly and the leading energy journal ESI Africa providing six weeks of compelling content until 26 November.

Clarion Energy
The UK-based Clarion Events Group’s Clarion Energy Series runs over 40 events that cover the oil, gas, power and energy sectors, making it one of the group’s largest portfolios.

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