The future is here, and it calls itself 5G.
First though, what even is 5G? 5G is an acronym for fifth generation, the fifth generation of wireless networking technology, to be precise. There have been multiple generations before 5G, from 0G mobile radio telephone systems to 4G which is currently transitioning to 5G. According to Qualcomm, a semiconductor company and wireless technology advocate, new 5G systems will incorporate many new features, including,”… higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.”
The features of 5G have been significantly overhauled compared to its predecessor 4G. Yet its features and capabilities are not 5G’s only distinguishing qualities, its location and where it is used play integral roles too. 5G is typically associated with mobile devices and TV’s, but it extends to technologies and devices that remain in their infancies. Digi International, a modem company utilizing 5G in its products, catalogs in its blog the various uses of 5G. Categorizing 5G in three separate ways, it can be used in autonomous vehicles, smart city infrastructure, virtual reality and a plethora of other items that are in use both publicly and privately.
Notwithstanding the opportunities 5G provides for both the public and the private sector, there are various fears entailing 5G and its consequences. Concerns range from very real, such as security and privacy concerns. To straight up bizarre conspiracies like 5G is causing cases of Covid-19. Whichever way is employed to soothe 5G concerns, there will remain anxieties. As with all technologies in our history, humans have always had the desire to rage against the machine. This time around, 5G is the machine. By no stretch of the imagination are all concerns about 5G unfounded, a few have a basis in people’s distrust, or trust, in government or private corporations’ abilities to handle 5G.
Politico sought to seek out the answers to the question of what people are concerned about regarding 5G. In a global survey done in a collaboration of Politico and Qualcomm, they discovered what people and experts knew, hoped and feared about 5G. Privacy was especially important to people as the article states, “More than half the surveyed population, averaged globally, expressed fears that 5G could make more personal data vulnerable to hacking.” Who is handling 5G also proved to be pivotal to people as Politico says, “But the data also suggested a global rift over how much consumers trust corporations to safeguard their personal data.”
5G continues to prove to be a consequential topic in everyday discord. In one corner people cite 5G’s numerous benefits to our daily lives and the possibility to accelerate new technologies. The other corner however holds anxieties that 5G could compromise the privacy and security of individuals and its power should not be easily given to governments and corporations. Regardless of the views people hold of 5G and the consequences on society, there is no doubt that the future is in for a whole new era. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to 5G.