At the same time, an essential aspect of futuristic evolution must not be overlooked: sustainability. In the traditional economy, production can be represented as a linear process: raw materials, components, finished product, use of the product, disposal. In the future, wasting resources will be considered increasingly unacceptable.
Consequently, it will have to be minimized as much as possible. So, here we introduce the concept of a “circular economy,” which involves the design of a circular life cycle supply chain. This means that as many components as possible can be recycled, recovered, and reused.
In this perspective, the goal is to give value to the customer by minimizing waste. In order to pursue this goal in the most efficient way, there is a need for the supply chain to be automated. Here the technologies we discussed come into play again. In fact, the use of technologies (such as Artificial Intelligence and/or the Internet of Things) in an automated scenario can allow the supply chain to realize the principles of the circular economy. It works independently and becomes a self-sufficient ecosystem.
However, the unprecedented opportunities and benefits of Digital Transformation are associated with new questions. How can we build a sustainable and inclusive digital future?
Existing institutions and principles must necessarily be redesigned in order to effectively respond to the rapid digital transformation and its distributed nature. The decisions that are made today will shape the world for future generations; therefore, collaboration and innovation are the basis from which to draw together the overall destiny of today’s society. The future of the digital economy and society must be modeled through a global cooperation platform in order to erect a digital economy that is sustainable and inclusive.
To conclude, Globalization 4.0 should equalize some disparities that exist on a global level through the pervasive use of emerging digital technologies. We should favor sustainable and inclusive innovation that allows fair and defensible growth for the benefit of all people, even those who populate underdeveloped geographical areas.
Evolved nations will increasingly have to consider the ethical aspects of their development strategies. They will need to stop pursuing only profit, and also consider the long-term benefits that see inclusion and sustainability as determining factors for global development.