Electrocuting the 5G Elephant

A cacophony of experts has been spreading the word that 5G will subject us all to the hidden dangers of millimeter waves flying unseen through the air in every which way and in all directions.  In the good old days “doing by demonstrating” was the best way to get one’s point across, thus in 1903 Edison electrocuted Topsy the elephant with alternating current, a feat which would have been more difficult to achieve with “his” direct current technology.      

What would life be like today without AC electricity, automobiles, subways, airplanes?  Tradeoffs in safety and health have always been evident in every technology from transportation to medicine. 

5G may actually improve the cost-benefit equation for cell phones, transportation, and medicine.  The power used to transmit a 5G signal from phone to cell will not only be far less than current technologies, but it will also be directed through the process of beamforming.  Millimeter waves don’t penetrate very far through objects and also tend to cancel each other out.  This means that low power, long battery life devices, will connect to small nearby cells using several antennas (MIMO) and directed signals (Beamforming).  5G towers will not be broadcasting random high power signals in every and all direction; phones will not be blasting out more radiation in your direction.   

In the United States, there are millions of car crashes every year with tens of thousands of people killed.  Self-driving cars directed by millimeter wave will mitigate the risk to life, person, and property.  5G technology will go further by adding the possibility of robots and drones to operate safely and in proximity to people.  This kind of benefit would not be available otherwise.  

As low hanging fruit, 5G will usher in medical innovations in directed surgery whereby virtual representations of the surgical targets will be melded and/or fused (eg fusion biopsies) with the patients body in realtime, resulting in more effective treatments, less risk to the patient, and far better outcomes.

5G will not be a cell phone-centric technology; it will be used in local area deployments, in directed point-to-point beams in such a way as to replace fiber optics or ethernet cable, and in totally new types of innovative applications.   

Will 5G have an offsetting risk and/or a health cost?  The answer would probably be yes.  The same can be said about plastics, internal combustion, electricity, aibags, and every technology we use and rely upon today.  Will 5G improve our lives in ways that will far outweigh the hidden costs of this new technology?  That answer would be yes as well.

Copyright Warren Pollock 1/17/2019 Edited by Mike Botwin