The next couple of years will see the roll-out of the next upgrade to wireless networks, and asides from increasing data transfer speeds by a factor of x100 and reducing latency to almost 0, it is going to take us to a world where it is not just people that are connected to each other, but everything will be.
An infinite mesh of connections know as the Internet of Things will become ubiquitous throughout modern society. Like the previous generation of wireless networking 4G, this wont just appear over night and will require cooperation between governments and business to complete the engineering challenge to make 5G omnipresent in life, but when we get there, we can look forward to some really cool stuff such as:
- Remote Surgery: Due to the almost 0 latency of 5G means that if you have a brain tumour that is very complex and hard to remove, and the best person for the job is 5,000 miles away, they can remotely operate on you via a specially made robot connected to the internet. This kind of man-machine interface is also useful in situation where it might be dangerous for humans to go, such as in bomb disposal or a collapsed mine.
- Autonomous Transport: It is believed by many that the standardisation of 5G will lead to an exponential rise in the use of autonomous vehicles. If you think about it, it is a prerequisite; all those vehicles are going to have to keep constantly updating each other about their own positions and the world around them. This is going to require extremely reliable connections and the transfer speeds that comes with 5G. Additionally, 5G will allow drones and drone services come into their own.
- Autonomous Manufacturing: As with transport, the manufacturing process will continue its trend of automation and when 5G arrives, factories will become pretty much human free, with the remaining humans overseeing the work of smart machines.
- Smart Cities: Watch this short video by NBC video below. Not only does it tell you about smart cities, but it is a good visualisation of The Internet of Things and how the above autonomous cars will work with smart cities. It also includes some concerns regarding smart cities and 5G that we’ll have to address over the coming years.
This is just a short list of the things that 5G is set to change. One of the things most people in the industry can agree upon is that there are probably thousands of applications for 5G that we haven’t even thought of yet.
5G, and future generations of wireless technology are one of the reasons why I see global governance and unity being an inevitable outcome, whether that be in 100 years or 1000 years. It makes the world a smaller and smaller place, but at the same time a more intimately connected place. It allows us to more efficiently organise as larger and larger groups, and history has shown us we tend to organise ourselves in larger and larger groups under larger and larger sovereignties. We started out as hunter-gathers in small family tribes, then during the agricultural revolution we settles down into small villages, which evolved into towns, which evolved into cities, which evolved into nations. This trend will continue until we have a global sovereignty. Hopefully we can get there peacefully ay…