5G technology and lessons from COVID-19
In keeping with the promise I made in series 1 of this intervention published on April 4, 2020, I took out time to “feel” the pulse of the world through both conventional (print/electronic) and the new (Facebook and WhatsApp) media. One thing that stuck out very clearly is that humanity thrives on information. Also, that every “information” (no matter how nonsensical, baseless, hollow, empty, impossible, false, misleading and untrue), can be taken very seriously by otherwise cerebral people, if the purveyor is/are respected individual(s). One of such misinformation is the raging debate around 5G, and the acclaimed links with COVID-19, Bill Gates, viruses, religion, Satan and Armageddon.
I am a practising technologist. I know that a lot of conspiracy theories bordering on fear and misunderstanding have followed new technology since recorded history. For instance, the Deeper Life Bible Church, founded by Dr. W. Kumuyi in 1973, branded the Television (yes, the TV we watch today) as the “devil box” – a rejected taboo which should have no place in the life of a Christian “believer” who is interested in “making heaven”. By their reckoning then, the Television was a tool that the devil intended to use to dominate and conquer the world as was prophesied in the Holy Book. How did I know this? My own Uncle – Fidelis, who was then a staff of the Engineering Department of Flour Mills – Apapa – Lagos became a Deeper Life “born again” in 1992. On a visit, he sent me to the “boiler” (refuse dump) to dispose-off his black & white TV, which he got from his employers the previous year in recognition of his “long service”. I was shocked. And saddened. How could my uncle throw away the only TV; the ONLY attraction in his house during holidays? I tried to argue with him. No way. His mind was made up. I felt pity for him yet, powerless to rescue the TV. It was a matter of faith and believe. Who questions it?
I was not prepared to let this fine Philips TV go to the dustbin and be picked up by scavengers. So, I took it (with the carton, remote control, user’s manual, etc) to “dispose off” as instructed. Instinctively, I ended in a friend’s house down the street with the ‘refuse’ on my head. I told my friend’s parents about the ordeal and begged them to keep it for me. There’s no gain-saying that my holiday in Lagos was short that year as I returned within few days, back to village in Akwa Ibom with a fresh TV in tow. It was my first picture box.
The internet has kept record of the riot that erupted in 1830 when the municipal authority in London started erecting street lights. We are told, Londoners revolted against the idea violently. According to Londoners of that time, the government should not have tried to play god by bringing light to the streets in the night, which was ordained by God for sleep. To them, trying to light up the night was an attempt to extend the daytime against the natural will of God, who made the sun for the day, and darkness for the night!
In 1632, the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who correctly debunked the false religious account that the planetary bodies revolved around the earth, was found guilty of heresy (belief or opinion contrary to orthodox Christian doctrine) and sentenced to house arrest by a jury constituted by the Pope, where he spent his remaining days until he died a decade later. Before him, Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century Italian philosopher (and former Catholic priest) was sentenced to death by the Roman Inquisition in 1600. On the orders of the Pope, the Inquisition “stripped Bruno naked, bound his tongue, and burned him alive”, for correctly publishing the truism that the universe is infinite, other solar systems exist and the earth is spherical (not flat) as falsely claimed and believed in Biblical narrations. Yes, he was killed! The internet faced stiff resistance from “believers” who thought that the “devil” intended to use it to rule and run the world in the early 80s.
There are many other such sordid stories of the clash between science and believe. While religion thrives in faith and vision, science thrives in experiment, empiricism, projections and continuous improvement.
It is in the light of the foregoing that I have followed the amazing debate, regarding 5G, strategically championed by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (whom I have great respect for), Femi Fani-Kayode and Senator Dino Melaye (both of whom I never take seriously). Since these men went to town with their “deep knowledge” of this technology in confirmation of the numerous unproven/ false conspiracy theories, a lot of my otherwise cerebral and highly knowledgeable ‘friends’ have surprisingly joined to queue behind these falsehoods. I had course to ‘banter’ with a handful of them in my failed bid to debunk the empty conspiracy theories without success. Their positions are entrenched and cast. They literary forced me back to the classroom to study 5G 101.
This stands for the 5th generation mobile telecommunication network, which promises a user experience that is 100x faster, smarter and more efficient than 4G, with speed of up to 100Gigabits per second. It runs on the midrange wavelength of the non-ionizing electromagnetic spectrum (between visible light and the radio waves), on the much higher radio frequencies (28 ghz compared to 700 mhz – 2500 mhz for 4G).
HOW DOES 5G BENEFIT ME?
As I told a couple of friends last week, 5G would change the way we do things forever. Imagine a world without DSTV; a world in which 4K quality data would stream without buffer in real time from one end of the world to another. Where industrial robots would no longer need to be connected to a clutter of wires before they perform their duties in the factory floor. Or, driverless cars which would be controlled remotely from any corner of the world. 5G would enable the full realization of the Internet of Things (IoT) concept wherein, household and office furniture/equipment (TV, freezers, tables, chairs, walls, roofs, everything) would become nodes on the internet. They would be smart enough to interact with their owners in real time. There would be no need for voice recharge cards as the voice telephone function would be subsumed by smartphone apps that would send free, crisp, clear voice and video calls across the world without the challenge of buffer, dialing code or call dropping. Just imagine drones that would communicate with people and be used to drop off goods/ services in real time in a city like Lagos where traffic makes people experience hell everyday. Chruches and mosques would no longer need to be physical buildings. No! Pastors and Imams would livestream worship services from one end of the earth to the other in realtime. The benefits are endless.
DOES THE SPECTRUM POSE ANY RISK TO HUMAN BEINGS?
There is no risk to humans from 5G that is higher than the risk we face listening to radio, watching TV, using our present GSM and smart phones, etc. The radiation levels are tolerable and non-harmful to the body. Indeed, the entire electromagnetic spectrum is closely regulated internationally to avoid the conversion of harmful part of the spectrum such as gamma rays, x-rays and ultra-violet rays to everyday use. This would not change.
SO WHERE THEN DID THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES COME FROM?
Truth is, China’s Huawei Technologies developed and controls the most advanced 5G technology and equipment constellation in the world presently. USA which invented the internet, came late to the 5G game. US problem is further compounded by the fact that their military and intelligence communication systems have nearly used up the 28 ghz spectrum. This implies that USA does not have sufficient space within the spectrum for 5G! Juxtapose this against developing countries such as Nigeria, India and 98% of the world, who have excess capacity in their unused spectrum for 5G. With the promise that 5G holds, whosoever (in this case, China) hosts the infrastructure, controls the market, money and information. Presently, the US hosts 70% of the mobile data infrastructure of the world and so, controls the entire world. Every player in the system remits payment to the big players in USA (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, etc.). These remittances run into trillions of US$s annually. With 5G, that equation would point to China.
To worsen the US dilemma, they have a President Trump, who neither possesses the mental capacity to understand science nor the ability to comprehend the difficult work of strategic thinking. Being someone whose entire oxygen of existence oozes from conspiracy theories, his right-wing friends started to plant the nonsensical allegations of espionage, sabotage, piracy, etc, against Huawei with the aim to hoodwinking other countries, especially in Africa, into running away from Huawei and their technology, to stall their rise, thereby providing US engineers ample time to figure out their problems and catch up. You can see where the 5G-bashing came from.
IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN 5G AND VIRUSES INCLUDING COVID-19
Not at all. This is pure fiction.
IS THERE A ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT BEING PLANNED?
Technology and government are no friends. The entire idea and concept of government is antithetical to freedom that technology brings to mankind. Rather than see the evolution of technology as precursor to another form of government, I see it as the biggest danger that governments in the world face. With mobile phones, governments everywhere are finding it difficult to cage their citizens or hold them down the way they used to. Think about the power that voters in Nigeria have been exercising in the last 8 years, compared to the previous 8. It is very easy now, for an incident in one village in a remote location of the country/the world, to spread and be felt by 80% of the world within the shortest possible time, thanks to mobile computing. Mobile phones toppled governments in Egypt and Libya. Central Banks in the world are struggling to respond to the rise and dominance of cryptocurrencies which have now been classified as an asset class by some regulators, even though there is no central authority regulating the phenomenon.
5G would certainly further disrupt the old order bequeathed by the various extinct empires who calibrated and shaped the world to fit their selfish imperial designs. It would open up opportunities for people to ask questions about the things we take for granted and seek a change from the status quo.. For instance, why do we have 7 days in a week? Not 6? Or 5? Or 10? What if we worked all day from our homes? What is productivity and what metrics can be used to set the right measure? Why do we have 12 months in a year? Why do we have to work for 5 days, and rest/worship on the 6th and 7 days? How did the idea of annual leave come about? What if we work and play at the same time? Etc.
We cannot run away from technology whose time has come. 5G is being implemented in South Korea on a massive scale. Verizon has started rolling out limited 5G services in the USA. China, (where coronavirus started) rolled out 5G after South Korea. The radiation from 5G base stations are not more dangerous than those from 4G, TV and FM radio stations. 5G is a technology standard/ protocol, not a tangible tool for anybody’s manipulation. It has no religious undertones except that it would help spread the gospel faster. Certainly, has no biological component.
To be continued…