Here I am happily using my 4G smartphone and suddenly we have the unstoppable freight train rise of 5G to make my current device obsolete early next year and ready to be instantly discarded as first world waste.  With the ever-rising costs for smartphones, I am suspecting that this gee whiz technology is all just a clever conspiracy to effortlessly and transparently extract hard earned dollars from my proverbial electronic wallet.

Wallet

Now, admittedly 4G was a welcome transformation compared to the legacy 3G technology of bygone days.  Well, bygone in Canada anyways.  As I travel the globe, I still see many countries irrevocably entrenched in 3G – and they are happy to have it.  Sure, the 4G solution offered higher speeds and ease of use that made my life better for web browsing, accessing social media, and emailing and chatting.  However, on the downside, this ‘always on’ society has evolved in a way that is impossible to rectify or repair my disrupted 24 hour a day work lifestyle.

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I cringe in total disbelief every week when my smart phone reports my daily usage of perhaps 5.75 hours and this consumption of mind-numbing media is down by 27% from the previous week.  OMG, how is this even possible?  Did I really look at my phone that much every day?  Why?  How sad is my life?

So, now that 5G is about to inundate us all with mass media advertising enticing us to buy these must-have, next generation 5G machines, I am at a complete and utter loss to comprehend how this next technological sea-change will impact my life.  Sure, it will be faster, some dream up speed multiples like 10x or 20x faster – but so what?  LTE is fast enough, is it not?  Latency will be sub 10ms, faster than a bee flaps its wings to stay aloft (who measured that and why?), but will that ultra high speed really be a good thing? Maybe gamers will love these capabilities to defeat monsters and battle enemies in collective online games, but that was never my thing anyways, so what will it all mean for me?

The advent of edge computing and peer-to-peer connectivity will be essential features, but why do “I” need these capabilities?  How will they help me live my life better?  I am so thankful that I had an actual childhood before technology took over our sad lives.

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With social media constantly plagued by offensive trolls, serendipitous hackers, fake profiles, and the Russian hoard trying to redirect my votes, even my so called online friends are engaging in fierce arguments about the smallest minutiae of my personal life.  So, I am rightly absolutely fatigued by the constant barrage of negativity and deeply divided Trumponian inspired social polarization that pits the extremes of modern society against each other like a Klingon war party arguing that, “today is a good day to die“.  I am just so tired of the asinine posts, the pyramid schemes, and the false lures towards quick riches.  There is so little value in it all.

Do I really need it all in instantaneous 5G sub 10ms retrieval delays and with colossal tsunami-like 5G download volumes that will drown me recreating volatile reactions far greater than the resulting wasteland parameter surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant in Japan?

tsunami

Some days, I think that I need less, not more.

The advent of 5G is still technically a year away, and yet, the Chinese Government this week announced that they have started work on 6G.  Sixth Generation – OMG – say it is not true!

While my computer once beat me at chess, I am wondering if it can beat me at kickboxing?  Is it time to punt my beloved media technology to the curb?

China Flag

China’s science and technology ministry announced last week (Nov. 6) that it has formed two teams to oversee the research and study of 6G, marking the official start of a state-backed effort to accelerate the development of the technology, according to the government’s notice.  One team consists of government departments who will be in charge of pushing through the execution of 6G technology, while the other consists of 37 experts from universities, science institutions, and corporations, who will provide technical advice for the government’s major decisions on 6G.

The Chinese ministry said it is determined to lay out the groundwork for developing 6G.  The technology should be treated as a priority at this “crucial stage” of the development of the nation, said Wang Xi, vice minister of the science ministry.  The ministry will start to draft a roadmap for developing 6G, as well as exploring the possible applications of the technology, it said.

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The population of earth has reached 7 billion people, and now we live in a time with the potential 6G networks for every single one of then to send me irritating emails to join “LinkedIn.”

The promise of 6G is for the seamless integration of artificial intelligence at even higher speeds and even lower latency than 5G.  How scary is that idea?

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….  It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.  Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” — Stephen Hawking told the BBC

I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.” — Elon Musk warned at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium

Before we work on artificial intelligence why don’t we do something about natural stupidity?” — Steve Polyak

4G

So, you cannot say that you have not been duly warned of this emerging threat to mental health and social well-being.  Do not forget what famed movie director, Steven Spielberg once said, “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party-pooper of our lives.  It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.


About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.

He is a business and technology consultant. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more