A Crisis of Trust — Debunking Myths and Fallacies Surrounding 5G and AI
5G (the fifth-generation cellular technology) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been two of the most disruptive, maligned and misunderstood technologies of our time. Critics of 5G will tell you that 5G will fry your brain while those for AI believe AI will replace your brain. What a conundrum!
Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (set in a dystopian London) wrote about the dehumanizing aspects of scientific progress. He was friends of another like-minded author/theorist George Orwell, well-known of course for his book “Nineteen Eight-Four”. One can see how progress if out of control can cause chaos and ruin.
Misconception and Fear About the Health Risk of 5G
For many years people have feared electromagnetic radiation. I remember houses selling for dirt cheap in my hometown because they were built close to a power line. Dr. David Carpenter, Dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York stirred global controversy in the 1980s by asserting that high-voltage power lines could cause leukemia in children living nearby. There was never any proof offered to substantiate it.
Dr. Steve Novella, a Yale Professor, says, “it’s understandable that people are afraid of radiation thinking that it refers to nuclear bombs that can kill cells and cause DNA mutation.” However, 5G and any wireless technology emits RF (radio frequency) radiation, is the same that comes from your microwave, your computer monitors and even the sun. Dr. Novella was quoted as saying, “when you go in sunlight you are bathed in EM (electromagnetic) radiation far greater than 5G towers.”
Wireless technology uses radio frequency energy, which is a type of non-ionizing radiation. That means it carries very little energy during propagation. Like previous systems, 5G’s electromagnetic radiation on C-Band does not pose a health risk when it meets the safety requirements for distance. For example, the electromagnetic radiation (69V/m) of typical 5G base stations is actually lower than that of hair dryers (80V/m), and is only slightly higher than that of color TVs (60V/m) and coffee machines (60V/m).
There is no clinical link between cellphones and brain tumours as there is no link between 5G and the coronavirus. The latter being one of the most outlandish conspiracy theories I have heard recently.
“There’s often confusion between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation because the term radiation is used for both,” said Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at Pennsylvania State University. “All light is radiation because it is simply energy moving through space. It’s ionizing radiation that is dangerous because it can break chemical bonds.”
Ionizing radiation is why we use sunscreen to stop the degradation of our DNA. 5G, on the other hand, produces non-ionizing radiation but because of its higher frequency wavelength it doesn’t produce enough energy to damage cells. Skeptics of 5G say that people get chronic headaches from cellular phone technologies, but thousands of studies fail to prove it.
While 5G is superfast (100x previous speeds), its frequency waves are considerably higher making its waves easily absorbed by anything in it’s way like buildings, shrubs, etc. So there is a need for more small cell base towers. The higher frequencies are needed to go higher than the already crowded cellular ‘highway’ we currently use at lower frequencies.
A New York Times articles entitle, “The 5G Health Hazard That Isn’t” (July 2019) points out how one scientist’s inaccurate chart in 2000 started the whole controversy over cellular technology. Dr. Bill Curry did a study that showed that wireless waves from computer technology would cause brain cancer and a host of other diseases in humans.
According to claims by Professor Christopher M. Collins, a professor of radiology at New York University,Curry got it all wrong and the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation, radio waves become safer at higher frequencies, not more dangerous.
Dr. Carpenter in a recent interview acknowledged that there is legitimacy to the point of view that higher frequency waves are not that dangerous because since they are absorbed so easily by buildings and such. “That’s why they put the towers so close together,” he said. “The waves don’t penetrate.” If human skin also blocks 5G signals, Dr. Carpenter acknowledged, “maybe it’s not that big a deal.”
The Marriage of 5G and AI Poses A Transformational Change
5G was initially introduced to help wireless networks cope with the ever-increasing data traffic on their networks. This led to transformative benefits of 5G including enhanced operation of data driven, computer gagging software and application like AI.
Even though AI has been around since the early ‘90’s its power has not been unleashed until now. Coupling 5G with AI enhances the quality of the wireless transmission, networks are more efficient with better security and it’s more easily deployed to everyone.
AI allows machines to function with intelligence levels similar to that of humans. AI will become more reliable and accessible at the speed of light. Imagine that once you have trained your systems to perform certain tasks, performing analysis will become automatic and faster while costing far less.
What does it mean to you? Imagine any program or app that has lagged on your cellphone or laptop. Gaming, downloading movies in a heartbeat, autonomous cars as well as augmented and Virtual reality are all impacted because of the increased latency of 5G. Latency is what makes the applications like AI work faster, almost immediately, a necessary feature if it’s something like operating a self driving automobile.
I remember rendering videos on Premier Pro that took me hours. 5G changes that and makes light of enormous tasks. It allows AI to make simulations faster, reasoning, data filling and analysis of complex research.
The Chinese tech giant, Huawei, has been leading the community (among them Qualcomm, Intel, Verizon and Samsung) that is pushing the 5G technology, and they have even added 5G to the world’s most powerful AI processor, Ascend 910, pitting it squarely against Qualcomm and Nvidia. Throughout the years, the AI processor has been adopted in a wide range of industrial applications, benefiting human daily lives from advanced medical treatment to streamline online education to sustainable development.
5G is narrowing the gap between the responsiveness of our personal devices and cloud applications. AI needs 5G to fulfill its robust needs.
Harness the Power of 5G & AI to Fight Pandemic
As this pandemic continues giving us insight into how society is dependent on inclusion not exclusion. Advanced cellular technology allows us to build a more inclusive society. Better online communication allows us to avail ourselves of online education, teleconferencing, remote working and give our employees access to better training. It provides everyone a better quality of life.
The convergence of AI/5G allows drug manufacturers to rapidly produce drug treatment models, track the current pandemic and helps the government manage resources.
While most of us underestimate the value of AI in medicine, in particular, US drug giant Merck signed a digital deal with Chinese computing giant Tencent last year creating intelligent healthcare services. AndHuawei has captured a huge part of the medical tech industry in China during this period because of the vast amounts of R&D and investment spent on AI, big data acquisition which help slow down the virus in Asia.
A Brighter Tomorrow Fueled By Our Trust on 5G and AI
Are we really afraid of 5G because it is lead by Chinese Huawei? While there has been considerable concern for security with 5G. Because of this, it could be a case of rhetoric from the current trade war attitude rather than fear of so much infrastructure being controlled by a foreign entity. Vulnerabilities will occur because by the nature of 5G being able to connect with many devices simultaneously. The obvious workaround to the security worries is the use of cryptology.
One of the fears of trade wars is patent protection. With 5G, patent tracking is easily managed, online engagement in learning scenarios will be attainable for everyone and my feeling that after this, employees will be doing a lot of more remote working.
We all need to understand that a better AI backbone will be a big part of our lives and will give us a better quality of life as well. And more importantly, we shall build a collective trust on 5G and AI and encourage collaborative partnership across industries and nationalities.
5G will build a sustainable, fully connected, and intelligent world.
Gary is CEO of Syphon Nanotech Inc., Bizzo Management Group Inc., and Bizzo Integrated Marketing Corp. in Vancouver. London-based Richtopia placed Bizzo on the Top 100 Global Influencers in the World for 2018. He is an Adjunct Professor of Integrated Marketing & Communications as well as Consumer Behavior at the New York Institute of Technology, MBA School of Management (Vancouver Campus). Gary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org