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A Crisis of Trust — Debunking Myths and Fallacies Surrounding 5G and AI

The intersection of 5G and AI poses a transformational change for humankind. Here are some myths and facts.

Global Influencer

Global Influencer
Global Influencer

Image source: iStockphoto, metamorworks

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 it will fry your brain while those against AI believe it 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 with another like-minded author/theorist George Orwell, well known of course for his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. One can see how progress, if out of control, can indeed 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, then the 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 clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine, 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.” It’s important to understand that 5G and any wireless technology emits RF (radio frequency) radiation, 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 (69 V/m) of typical 5G base stations is actually lower than that emitted by hair dryers (80 V/m), and is only slightly higher than that of color TVs (60 V/m) and coffee machines (60 V/m).

There is no clinical link between cellphones and brain tumors, just as there is no link between 5G and the coronavirus, the latter being one of the most outlandish conspiracy theories I have heard recently.

Myths Unmasked

“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 protect our skin and stop the degradation of our DNA. 5G, on the other hand, produces non-ionizing radiation but because of its higher frequency, 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 have failed to prove it.

While 5G is superfast (100x previous speeds), its frequency spectrum is considerably higher, making its waves easily absorbed by anything in its 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 entitled, “The 5G Health Hazard That Isn’t,” from 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 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. This led to transformative benefits of 5G including enhanced operation of data driven, computer-gagging software and applications like AI.

Even though AI has been around since the early ’90s, 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 enables 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, autonomous cars as well as augmented and virtual reality are all impacted because of the decreased latency of 5G. That decreased latency is what makes the applications like AI work faster, almost immediately, a necessary feature if it’s involved in something like operating a self-driving automobile.

I remember rendering videos on Premier Pro that used to take me hours. 5G changes that and makes quick work of enormous tasks. It enables AI to make simulations faster, along with accelerating reasoning, data filling and analysis of complex research.

The Chinese tech giant, Huawei, has been leading the community (among its competitors are Qualcomm, Intel, Verizon and Samsung) that is pushing the 5G technology, and it has 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 streamlined online education and sustainable development.

5G is narrowing the gap between the old and new responsiveness of our personal devices and cloud applications. AI needs 5G to fulfill its robust needs.

Harnessing the Power of 5G and AI to Fight Pandemic

As this pandemic continues, we gain insight into how society is dependent on inclusion, not exclusion. Advanced cellular technology enables us to build a more inclusive society. Better online communication enables us to avail ourselves of online education, teleconferencing and remote working while giving our employees access to better training. It provides everyone a better quality of life.

The convergence of AI/5G enables drug manufacturers to rapidly produce drug treatment models and track the current pandemic, while helping governments to manage resources.

While most of us underestimate the value of AI in medicine, corporations are pursuing it vigorously. US drug giant Merck signed a digital deal with Chinese computing giant Tencent last year creating intelligent healthcare services. And Huawei 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 and big data acquisition, which have been helping to 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 led by Huawei? While there has been considerable concern for security with 5G, 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 of the nature of 5G being able to connect with many devices simultaneously. The obvious workaround to the security worries is more rigorous and widespread use of advanced encryption methods.

One of the fears of trade wars is patent protection. With 5G, patent tracking is easily managed, and online engagement in learning scenarios will be attainable for everyone. My feeling is that after this crisis has diminished, employees will be doing a lot more remote working. I think that will be the new normal.

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 partnerships across industries and nationalities.

5G will help build a sustainable, fully connected and intelligent world.

Gary Bizzo 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 [email protected]


Equities Contributor: Gary Bizzo

Source: Equities News

The astronomer Carl Sagan said, “It was easy to predict mass car ownership but hard to predict Walmart.”