Author Topic: Technology (nano, 3D, robots, etc)  (Read 29628 times)

G M

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Crafty_Dog

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Re: Technology (nano, 3D, robots, etc)
« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2017, 11:34:05 AM »
Good thing we have Big Dog following this closely and keeping us abreast of the dangers.

BD, your thoughts on what can/should be done?

Crafty_Dog

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Mark Mills: Professionals and Managers-- you're next!
« Reply #52 on: July 27, 2017, 11:05:28 AM »
Professionals and Managers: You’re Next
Automation may replace white-collar workers sooner than you expect
Mark P. Mills
https://www.city-journal.org/html/professionals-and-managers-youre-next-15289.html

Here’s the dirty little secret about automation: it’s easier to build a robot to replace a junior attorney than to replace a journeyman electrician. And that fact helps explain why economists and politicians are feeling misgivings about “creative destruction,” which, up to now, they have usually embraced as a net good for society. Technology and automation, they’ve argued—correctly—boost productivity and create more jobs overall (even as some kinds of work get eradicated).

In the age of the algorithm, though, they’re not so sure anymore, and no wonder: instead of creative destruction coming to factories and farms, it’s sweeping through city centers and taking white-collar jobs. The chattering classes have talked and written for years about the “end of work.” Doubtless many fear that the end of their work is in the offing, this time around.

Understandably, most of the media focus has been on the replacement of manual labor—real robots doing real tasks provide better visuals than an invisible service “bot” in the cloud. But focusing on hamburger-flipping androids is a distraction from where the real revolution is taking place. In any case, automation doesn’t really explain the decline in factory employment: manufacturing-sector investment in information technology has been flat or declining for more than a decade; and productivity, a critical indicator of (and the purpose of) automation has also been flat. Factories are actually underinvested in technology.

But Silicon Valley has been busy building software that will transform businesses, particularly those associated with shopping malls, Hollywood, hotels, taxis, newspapers, broadcast TV, finance, and even education. Some algorithms can teach basic math better than most humans with a B.Ed. Next up are the many paperwork tasks currently administered by bureaucrats and regulators. The white-collar professionals who staff these service-sector domains, a vast cadre, may find themselves displaced.

Consider a bellwether of more white-collar disruption yet to come: of the nearly 200 so-called Unicorns—private, venture-backed companies such as Uber that are valued over $1 billion—90 percent are in nonmanufacturing businesses. There’s a good reason for such a skewed focus. Supercomputer-class software in the cloud can perform, at minimal cost, once-daunting information-centric tasks, from reading X-rays to managing a “passive” investment fund. But the engineering challenges are far greater and many times more complex in cyber-physical systems, where software meets steel in real time. A seemingly minor software glitch that freezes a video screen can escalate from an annoyance to a fatal error if it’s involved in the interaction of the mechanical world with human beings. Self-driving car hype aside, there’s much work to be done in achieving viable sensors, actuators, power systems, security, and safety. Goldman Sachs reports that the automobile sector remains the only deeply automated industry; nearly all the rest are, at most, 20 percent to 30 percent along this path.

In due course, a cyber-revolution will indeed come to the “means of production.” Meantime, we’re in the midst of an upheaval in what we might call the “means of management.” The overall effect, I believe, will be the same as in the past—a boost to the economy and more jobs—but the makeover this time will affect the professional and managerial classes. We should expect them to be at least as vocal about it as many factory workers were a generation ago.

****
Mark P. Mills is a McCormick Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.


DougMacG

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Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2017, 12:59:23 PM »
I was looking into this author, a Harvard Econ Prof, author of 'Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives", and I came across this current article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/business/economy/get-ready-for-technological-upheaval-by-expecting-the-unimagined.html?_r=0

ECONOMY

Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
Economic View
By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN SEPT. 2, 2017

The best way to prepare for the future may be to prepare for change. Credit Tim Cook
Self-driving vehicles could upend the transportation sector and eliminate a million or more jobs. Algorithms that decode M.R.I.s put a whole medical subfield at risk. And the list of professions and sectors soon to be obsolete grows steadily by the day.

New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.

But we may be preparing in the wrong way.

Both history and psychology tell us that our capacity to predict the future is limited, while our capacity to believe in such predictions is unlimited. We have always been surprised.

Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

Take education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. For example, computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive work force.

But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship.

Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change when we teach.

Currently, all the formal education most people will receive comes early in life. Specific skills may be learned on the job, but the fundamentals are acquired in school when we are young. This sequence — learn early, benefit for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant.

But in a rapidly changing world, the fundamentals that were useful decades ago may be obsolete now; more important, new essential skills may have arisen. Anyone helping a grandparent navigate a computer has experienced this problem.

Once we recognize that human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. We don’t merely need training programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.

In addition, we must recognize that economic upheaval at the macro level means turmoil and instability at the personal level. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities.

Each move has financial and personal costs: It might involve going without a paycheck, looking for new housing, finding a new school district or adjusting to a new vocation. We cannot expect to create a vibrant and flexible overall economy unless we make these shifts as painless as possible. We need a fresh round of policy innovation focused on creating a safety net that gives workers the peace of mind — and the money — to move deftly when circumstances change.

Finally, we can learn from the economist Joseph Schumpeter’s prescient analysis of entrepreneurs. He noted that for new innovations to spread and improve our lives, there will always be creative destruction. For new firms and sectors to arise, some of the old ones must die.

Even if we should be humble in predicting that self-driving vehicles will upend the trucking sector or drone delivery will decimate supermarkets, we can be confident that some creative destruction is coming.

Our current policies — and impulses — are to resist such destruction. If a large manufacturer is set to close, subsidies and other policies kick into action to prevent that shutdown. But while we may save a factory, ultimately we hinder the rise of new technologies; rather than propping up incumbent firms we ought to enable innovation to take its course.

If that idea makes you uneasy, it is probably because our current policies do nothing to protect the most vulnerable from the costs of all this destruction. We resist letting factories close because we worry about what will become of the people who work there. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle.

In the 1990s, Denmark began adopting what has been called “flexicurity,” combining policies that promote a flexible economy — allowing creative destruction as needed — with those that promote security for workers. The Danes have also emphasized lifelong learning, giving workers income support as they transition between jobs and circumstances.

By contrast, the current approach in the United States could be called “flex-nosecurity,” which hardly seems the appropriate way of preparing for an economy of rapid change.

There are surely many other ways of preparing for upheaval. We should broaden the current conversation — centered on drones, the end of work or the prospect of super-intelligent algorithms governing the world — to include innovative proposals for handling the unexpected.

One problem is that social policy may seem boring compared with the wonderfully evocative story arcs telling us where current technologies might be heading. How can the minutiae of unemployment insurance compete for attention with movies describing the birth of Skynet, the diabolical neural network in the “Terminator” series?

Yet even science fiction teaches humility.

Take “Star Trek.” The future it imagines is wondrous to the point of bordering on the impossible. The laws of physics as currently understood are circumvented so that ships can travel faster than the speed of light. Unfathomable technologies are routine. People can be disassembled atom by atom and transported somewhere else, keeping their memories and consciousness intact. Any kind of food can be instantly replicated.

Even the inventive “Star Trek” writers peering into the future, though, could not imagine a completely self-driving Starship Enterprise. While at times the Enterprise appeared to have some autopilot capacity, it routinely relied on a navigator to pilot it and was even equipped with a view screen that looked suspiciously like a car windshield.

The safest prediction is that reality will outstrip our imaginations. So let us craft our policies not just for what we expect but for what will surely surprise us.

Sendhil Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Is it "human error" when a robot fouls up?
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2018, 03:53:45 AM »
Is It ‘Human Error’ When a Robot Fouls Up?
From McDonald’s kiosks to ‘smart’ cities, mankind is succumbing to high-tech Stockholm syndrome.
Is It ‘Human Error’ When a Robot Fouls Up?
Illustration: Chad Crowe
By Abigail Shrier
June 15, 2018 5:06 p.m. ET
59 COMMENTS

When my family landed in Israel a few weeks ago, we headed straight to our kids’ favorite Jerusalem vacation destination: kosher McDonald’s . Since we observe Jewish dietary laws, eating at McDonald’s in the U.S. is strictly off-limits. But in Israel our kids have the chance to enjoy an iconic part of the American experience, to march up to the counter and order a Big Mac just like the people do in all those sunny commercials.

“Go ahead,” I said, nudging them toward the register. “Order in Hebrew,” I whispered, desperate to see our private-school tuition put to good use. A stocky Russian Israeli, with a trademark McDonald’s visor crushing straw-colored hair, waited behind the counter. He pointed to a nearby digital kiosk. “You must order at the computer,” he said.

We trudged over to a screen. I fumbled with the icons, full of irritation, while the kids changed their minds about their orders, until we ended up with nothing we really wanted in our digital basket. Sensing my frustration, the employee came over and handled the order for us. “It’s not hard,” he said, not unkindly.

He meant something like: You’ll get the hang of it, eventually. Apparently so. Last week McDonald’s announced it would roll out similar ordering kiosks all across America, “upgrading” 1,000 stores each quarter. Other restaurants likely won’t be far behind.

My pathetic efforts to work the self-serve kiosk are what technologists refer to as “the human factor,” by which they mean stupid things people do. We make mistakes, require sleep, become emotional, engender guilt and obligation, engage in small talk, demand raises, answer back.

But don’t computers make mistakes? Last month, Amazon Echo, the AI-enhanced speaker that answers requests like a plastic genie, misconstrued one family’s private talk as a prompt. It recorded their conversation and sent it to a friend.

“That’s because some human programmed it to get triggered by a specific word,” one software CEO in Los Angeles explained to me. “But the appeal of the algorithm is it really just does what it’s supposed to do.” When a person makes a mistake, it’s “human error”; when a machine does, by definition that’s “human error,” too. Is it any wonder we have such a low opinion of us?

Every technologist I’ve talked to in recent weeks shares, more or less, this view: Robots are better at doing things. This accounts for their enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles. It explains their love of cryptocurrencies, which are untethered to any central bank and virtually unregulable, as well as their related love of blockchain, a distributed ledger designed to exist free from the burden of having to trust any human being to keep it.

As if succumbing to a technological Stockholm syndrome, even nonfuturists have begun apologizing for the sin of humanity, accepting the superiority of their new robotic overlords, planning their own obsolescence. School time is squandered for activism, as if it no longer matters what children learn, as if the only thing they’ll have left to offer the world is a vote. Society is newly eager to legalize marijuana, as if sober labor is already of diminished worth. Nearly half of Americans now support a universal basic income, a plan by which government would keep citizens fed like pets, rewarded merely for being alive. News reports talk of “smart” cities, cars, classrooms. Everything seems smart to us, except us.

Perhaps the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, argued in his canonical work, “Philosophical Investigations,” that complaints about the imprecision of language actually presuppose an accepted standard for judging it. In his day, that unnamed standard was symbolic logic, which virtually all philosophers regarded as a perfected form of thought and reasoning. The mistake they’d made, according to Wittgenstein, was to assume that symbolic logic was the correct standard for judging human language. In fact, he argued, language is exactly as precise as people need it to be. Philosophers were creating the problem.

The same might be said of “human error,” which presupposes its own standard of judgment: error-free robots. True, people make imperfect cashiers, drivers and administrators. We mistype orders; we run red lights.

We also show up late to work because a child is sick, because we forgot to set an alarm, because we stayed up partying the night before. Each of these reflects a choice we might make: To put our children ahead of our jobs. To forgive ourselves a character flaw. To indulge in vices perhaps we shouldn’t. Every one is part of the soaring glory of being human, with all the exasperating effects and limitations. But this is a feature, not a flaw. No human taint inheres in the occasional failure of judgment. We remake our lives each day, acting on values, priorities and fondest wishes—and then upend it all tomorrow by changing our minds.

The past decade has brought remarkable change. The internet soaks us daily with unimaginable floods of information. I no longer worry about navigating the streets of unfamiliar cities, and I can rely on Google to translate foreign text. Automated bill payment feels like a dream. Online shopping is nothing short of a miracle; even the thought of scraping hangers across a rack now makes me reach for an aspirin.

But I’ve also learned to scan my own airplane ticket and check out my own groceries. I’ve been harassed by numberless robocalls. Now I’ve rung up myself at kosher McDonald’s. Most of these tasks I’ve dispatched poorly—and always with pique. None have I enjoyed. Worse, I’ve watched elderly and disabled people struggle to manage them, in the absence of sympathetic human help.

This isn’t a “fault” of the robots, exactly, but it also isn’t a “fault” of humans to want a little empathy. Whenever I stumble at these tasks, as I did most recently at the “smart” border control in Toronto’s Pearson Airport, some employee on the verge of being supplanted by an AI-enhanced screen hustles over to tell me I’m “doing it wrong.” As if I were the airport’s idiotic new hire instead of its customer.

Kiosks will be great at fast-food restaurants, the L.A. software exec assured me, because “you can just click on the things that you want, and you get your order, and from a manager’s standpoint, that’s so much easier than a human being that sometimes doesn’t show up, sometimes shows up late, sometimes has attitude, now has a much higher minimum salary.”

He’s probably right. Not everyone heads to McDonald’s for the repartee. But Americans didn’t used to see everything from the perspective of managers, to say nothing of the tech barons whose devices now herd, tag, censor and track people like packages. We once saw things from the perspective of the consumer. Businesses insisted that “the customer is always right.” Antitrust laws blocked monopolies for the “benefit of consumers.”

Aristotle called man a “social animal,” and the titans of Facebook , Instagram and Twitter have capitalized on that trait. But we’re subjective creatures, too. We like to know that the people on the other side have some idea of the situation we’re in, and that they might, knowing this, offer the smile or suggestion we were hoping for. We’re really good at that.

Ms. Shrier is writer living in Los Angeles.




Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: 5G
« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2019, 04:42:18 PM »

Journal Reports: Technology
How 5G Will Change So Much More Than Your Phone
New wireless technology promises to make everything connected. Here’s a sample of what that could mean.

By Drew FitzGerald and
Sarah Krouse
Feb. 26, 2019 10:06 p.m. ET

The current generation of wireless technology ushered in a host of new smartphone applications that helped put the mobile phone at the center of e-commerce, socializing and navigation.

The next wave of wireless—5G—will supercharge cellphones, but its real strength lies in its potential to power the “Internet of Things,” a byword for everything electronic other than the smartphone.


That includes factory production lines that get instructions over the air instead of through wires; driverless cars that receive incredibly detailed information about road conditions in real time; sports broadcasts that let viewers see the game from a dizzying number of angles, and get a host of new statistics superimposed on the screen to reflect the action; and wearable devices that monitor a patient’s physical condition and beam the information to doctors.

These are just some of the developments that may be in store as 5G networks evolve and as carriers look for growth opportunities outside of the mature cellphone market in developed countries. Here’s a rundown of how this new telecom technology could transform six industries, how long those changes might take and what obstacles stand in the way.
Flexibility in the factory

Factories have relied on physical wires for more than a century—for good reason. A spotty wireless connection can cause machinery to move too slowly or misfire, with expensive and potentially dangerous consequences.

Wireless engineers say 5G’s emphasis on slashing latency—the amount of time that machines take to respond to each other—could challenge that status quo. The network’s responsiveness would allow robotic assembly lines to take instructions over the air or grab the latest specifications for a product without lagging, so they could remain on the job all the time. Mobile robots could also be on the move constantly without having to plug in.

“This is sort of the Holy Grail of factory automation,” says Gerhard Fettweis, a professor of mobile communications at Germany’s TU Dresden. “There’s nothing nailed to the floor.”

In Germany, cellphone carrier Deutsche Telekom AG DTEGY -0.28% launched in 2018 a pilot factory program designed to test what kinds of machines benefit from enhanced wireless service. The program’s specially designed 4G networks will get a 5G upgrade once new wireless spectrum is available for use, a spokesman says.

Telecom companies in Germany and China have so far shown the most interest in fostering 5G manufacturing, according to Chetan Sharma, industry analyst for his eponymous consulting firm. He predicts growing interest from manufacturers that might face sudden orders that their existing workforce can’t fulfill.

Still, he doesn’t expect wireless networks to touch every part of the production process right away. A slower-growing company that makes metal goods or paper products, for instance, isn’t likely to spend precious capital on wireless technology. And he doesn’t think that factory owners are likely to start cutting the cord on robotics soon.

Mr. Sharma says computer-chip makers must first develop specialized hardware for the sector before factories will be willing to risk installing wireless 5G machinery, a process that will take several years. “Redoing the manufacturing workflow demands certainty,” he says.

Cars get fueled up with data

Experts expect to see vehicles equipped with 5G modems in the coming years. Still, what the next generation of connected cars will look like is an often-contentious question.

Some telecom-industry leaders paint a futuristic picture of driverless vehicles getting real-time information about traffic and hazards as they move, and then reacting to them. It is a vision that takes advantage of the strength of 5G networks—their ability to juggle swarms of simultaneous connections, allowing sensors in cars and on streets to provide uninterrupted streams of precise data.

But skeptics say telecom companies are overselling the capabilities of 5G when it comes to vehicles. The next generation of wireless networks, like its predecessors, will sometimes fail. And it might take years for even urban areas to get 5G signals everywhere.

How Fast 5G Mobile Internet Feels

See how watching videos, loading Fortnite and downloading music iwill get a lot faster

“Nobody in their right mind would make a driverless car dependent on the wireless network for critical functions like braking and steering,” says Craig Moffett, analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson. Any reliance on a 5G connection, he says, “would require ubiquitous networks, which we won’t have in our lifetimes.”

Some companies are pitching more-limited uses for 5G transportation, at least to start. AT&T Inc. T -0.97% executives have said that small, neighborhood-size 5G zones could be a good place for public-transit riders and car passengers to keep themselves amused by downloading video and games as they pass through the area.

“We think it’s going to pop up in zones centered around campuses” early on, John Donovan, chief of AT&T’s telecom business, said in an interview last year.

An AT&T spokesman says the company is also developing technology with partners to allow cars to share information with each other and roadside service stations when they fall outside the range of a cell tower. That could mean sharing information about things like road hazards, or getting in touch with emergency services.

A new angle on sports

When South Korea’s KT Corp. KT -0.70% offered a version of its 5G technology at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last year, the telecom giant allowed visitors to fiddle with the angle from which they viewed an event—such as seeing a game from the perspective of athletes.

That was a preview of how professional sports leagues are planning to reshape their content using 5G connectivity. For instance, viewers can expect to have regular sports enhanced with the same 5G boost as the Korean games. Technology under development will use a host of cameras and sensors installed throughout sports venues to let fans choose among numerous angles for viewing athletic contests.

“You can literally run around like LeBron James, ” says Roger Entner, chief of wireless-industry research firm Recon Analytics Inc.

Other technology wouldn’t just offer new angles on the field of play, it would offer viewers more information about the action.

Intel Corp. INTC -0.90% experimented with attaching sensors to players and pucks at the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star game in January. Viewers could pull up a host of new statistics on their phones to see how fast shots went into the goal and how fast skaters moved down the ice. The steps were a precursor to providing fans more real-time statistics on their phones or customized on their television screens during games, once 5G is deployed.

More immersive movies and games

Hollywood studios and videogame companies are looking to leverage 5G’s speed and ultralow latency to give viewers a much more immersive experience—whether they’re watching on a TV or with a headset.

“More so than sitting back and watching TV, you’re going to be living life in a virtual world. People could be anywhere, including imaginary worlds,” says Ron Yekutiel, chief executive of video-platform provider Kaltura.

Studios have tested applications that give a taste of what the 5G future might bring. But they’re still trying to figure out just what content and pricing will get the best response from viewers.

A $20 virtual-reality experience in 2016 tied to the release of Twentieth Century Fox’s film “The Martian,”for example, received mixed reviews from audiences. The VR content allowed people to move through a Mars-like environment like the movie’s hero, played by Matt Damon.

Robert Powers, executive director, global technology and business development for Fox Innovation Lab, says $8 to $15 is a more palatable price range for consumers for VR experiences. Fox is also working on augmented and mixed-reality experiences—where computer-generated graphics are overlaid over real-world images—that 5G will help facilitate.

For example, last summer the lab worked on a mixed-reality experience in which a person moved through a story using their mobile phone or wearable device in a public space like a theme park. While walking, the player followed prompts and saw superimposed figures that could move around and interact with the user.

A new doctor-patient relationship

In the coming years, 5G will make it possible for doctors to have more interactions with their patients through new telemedicine avenues, such as high-quality videoconferencing and virtual reality, says Sandra Rivera, general manager of Intel’s network-platforms group.

Boosters say the upgraded networks will make even bigger changes possible, such as having a doctor in one corner of the world operating on a patient in another with remote-controlled surgical machines. Less grand, but coming sooner, is a wave of changes bringing more-personalized care.

A therapist remotely treating a child with autism, for example, could use a VR headset to see the child’s facial and body cues more clearly than is possible on today’s video calls via mobile phones. Columbia University researchers, meanwhile, are working on virtual physical therapy helped by 5G’s low latency. A patient wears a virtual-reality headset and moves controllers to manipulate digital versions of physical objects like a ball, mimicking motions in a traditional therapy session.

The FCC recently announced a plan to encourage a blazing fast wireless service called 5G. But what is 5G? And how far is the U.S. from rolling it out? Photo: Reuters

New sensors and wearable devices connected to 5G networks that generate data will also help flag abnormalities or adjust the dosage of medicine or therapeutic activities without in-person visits. Patients could wear sensors that monitor their activity, stress levels and blood sugar, with that data flowing to their physician, Ms. Rivera adds.

Later on, 5G’s faster speed, lower latency and higher bandwidth could facilitate larger changes such as paramedics getting real-time instructions in an ambulance from a trained physician using high-definition cameras and virtual reality.

Making surveillance more precise

Cameras and sensors already blanket the busier corners of the world without the help of 5G technology. But an experiment that Verizon Communications Inc. VZ 0.54% recently ran at a Houston testing center offered a peek at what the world could look like when faster wireless service becomes commonplace.

Early experiments suggest cameras and sensors with 5G enhancements could allow police departments to scan public places more quickly for suspects in their databases. It could also allow stores to track their customers’ movements with more precision, perhaps allowing them to tailor marketing to them based on their behavior.

Engineers at the wireless carrier developed customized software that allows computers to process images near a cell tower rather than in a data center hundreds of miles away.

The test took advantage of two 5G benefits. Enhanced bandwidth allows cameras to pass data-heavy images over the air without degrading their quality. Lower latency also lets computers process images close to where they are captured, allowing them to quickly identify people and objects. Verizon says the on-site processing led its systems to find matching images twice as fast as they could using conventional methods.

Adam Koeppe, Verizon’s senior vice president for network planning, says public-safety groups often ask for the ability to make better use of surveillance data. Similar technology could also be used by retailers to track foot traffic.

“This type of technology is not new,” he says. “The question is, how do you deploy it in a mobile environment?”

Mr. FitzGerald is a Wall Street Journal reporter in Washington, and Ms. Krouse is a Wall Street Journal reporter in New York. Email andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com and sarah.krouse@wsj.com.


G M

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Re: WSJ: 5G
« Reply #60 on: April 15, 2019, 09:35:53 PM »
So, a hypercharged surveillance state. Wonderful.



Journal Reports: Technology
How 5G Will Change So Much More Than Your Phone
New wireless technology promises to make everything connected. Here’s a sample of what that could mean.

By Drew FitzGerald and
Sarah Krouse
Feb. 26, 2019 10:06 p.m. ET

The current generation of wireless technology ushered in a host of new smartphone applications that helped put the mobile phone at the center of e-commerce, socializing and navigation.

The next wave of wireless—5G—will supercharge cellphones, but its real strength lies in its potential to power the “Internet of Things,” a byword for everything electronic other than the smartphone.


That includes factory production lines that get instructions over the air instead of through wires; driverless cars that receive incredibly detailed information about road conditions in real time; sports broadcasts that let viewers see the game from a dizzying number of angles, and get a host of new statistics superimposed on the screen to reflect the action; and wearable devices that monitor a patient’s physical condition and beam the information to doctors.

These are just some of the developments that may be in store as 5G networks evolve and as carriers look for growth opportunities outside of the mature cellphone market in developed countries. Here’s a rundown of how this new telecom technology could transform six industries, how long those changes might take and what obstacles stand in the way.
Flexibility in the factory

Factories have relied on physical wires for more than a century—for good reason. A spotty wireless connection can cause machinery to move too slowly or misfire, with expensive and potentially dangerous consequences.

Wireless engineers say 5G’s emphasis on slashing latency—the amount of time that machines take to respond to each other—could challenge that status quo. The network’s responsiveness would allow robotic assembly lines to take instructions over the air or grab the latest specifications for a product without lagging, so they could remain on the job all the time. Mobile robots could also be on the move constantly without having to plug in.

“This is sort of the Holy Grail of factory automation,” says Gerhard Fettweis, a professor of mobile communications at Germany’s TU Dresden. “There’s nothing nailed to the floor.”

In Germany, cellphone carrier Deutsche Telekom AG DTEGY -0.28% launched in 2018 a pilot factory program designed to test what kinds of machines benefit from enhanced wireless service. The program’s specially designed 4G networks will get a 5G upgrade once new wireless spectrum is available for use, a spokesman says.

Telecom companies in Germany and China have so far shown the most interest in fostering 5G manufacturing, according to Chetan Sharma, industry analyst for his eponymous consulting firm. He predicts growing interest from manufacturers that might face sudden orders that their existing workforce can’t fulfill.

Still, he doesn’t expect wireless networks to touch every part of the production process right away. A slower-growing company that makes metal goods or paper products, for instance, isn’t likely to spend precious capital on wireless technology. And he doesn’t think that factory owners are likely to start cutting the cord on robotics soon.

Mr. Sharma says computer-chip makers must first develop specialized hardware for the sector before factories will be willing to risk installing wireless 5G machinery, a process that will take several years. “Redoing the manufacturing workflow demands certainty,” he says.

Cars get fueled up with data

Experts expect to see vehicles equipped with 5G modems in the coming years. Still, what the next generation of connected cars will look like is an often-contentious question.

Some telecom-industry leaders paint a futuristic picture of driverless vehicles getting real-time information about traffic and hazards as they move, and then reacting to them. It is a vision that takes advantage of the strength of 5G networks—their ability to juggle swarms of simultaneous connections, allowing sensors in cars and on streets to provide uninterrupted streams of precise data.

But skeptics say telecom companies are overselling the capabilities of 5G when it comes to vehicles. The next generation of wireless networks, like its predecessors, will sometimes fail. And it might take years for even urban areas to get 5G signals everywhere.

How Fast 5G Mobile Internet Feels

See how watching videos, loading Fortnite and downloading music iwill get a lot faster

“Nobody in their right mind would make a driverless car dependent on the wireless network for critical functions like braking and steering,” says Craig Moffett, analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson. Any reliance on a 5G connection, he says, “would require ubiquitous networks, which we won’t have in our lifetimes.”

Some companies are pitching more-limited uses for 5G transportation, at least to start. AT&T Inc. T -0.97% executives have said that small, neighborhood-size 5G zones could be a good place for public-transit riders and car passengers to keep themselves amused by downloading video and games as they pass through the area.

“We think it’s going to pop up in zones centered around campuses” early on, John Donovan, chief of AT&T’s telecom business, said in an interview last year.

An AT&T spokesman says the company is also developing technology with partners to allow cars to share information with each other and roadside service stations when they fall outside the range of a cell tower. That could mean sharing information about things like road hazards, or getting in touch with emergency services.

A new angle on sports

When South Korea’s KT Corp. KT -0.70% offered a version of its 5G technology at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last year, the telecom giant allowed visitors to fiddle with the angle from which they viewed an event—such as seeing a game from the perspective of athletes.

That was a preview of how professional sports leagues are planning to reshape their content using 5G connectivity. For instance, viewers can expect to have regular sports enhanced with the same 5G boost as the Korean games. Technology under development will use a host of cameras and sensors installed throughout sports venues to let fans choose among numerous angles for viewing athletic contests.

“You can literally run around like LeBron James, ” says Roger Entner, chief of wireless-industry research firm Recon Analytics Inc.

Other technology wouldn’t just offer new angles on the field of play, it would offer viewers more information about the action.

Intel Corp. INTC -0.90% experimented with attaching sensors to players and pucks at the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star game in January. Viewers could pull up a host of new statistics on their phones to see how fast shots went into the goal and how fast skaters moved down the ice. The steps were a precursor to providing fans more real-time statistics on their phones or customized on their television screens during games, once 5G is deployed.

More immersive movies and games

Hollywood studios and videogame companies are looking to leverage 5G’s speed and ultralow latency to give viewers a much more immersive experience—whether they’re watching on a TV or with a headset.

“More so than sitting back and watching TV, you’re going to be living life in a virtual world. People could be anywhere, including imaginary worlds,” says Ron Yekutiel, chief executive of video-platform provider Kaltura.

Studios have tested applications that give a taste of what the 5G future might bring. But they’re still trying to figure out just what content and pricing will get the best response from viewers.

A $20 virtual-reality experience in 2016 tied to the release of Twentieth Century Fox’s film “The Martian,”for example, received mixed reviews from audiences. The VR content allowed people to move through a Mars-like environment like the movie’s hero, played by Matt Damon.

Robert Powers, executive director, global technology and business development for Fox Innovation Lab, says $8 to $15 is a more palatable price range for consumers for VR experiences. Fox is also working on augmented and mixed-reality experiences—where computer-generated graphics are overlaid over real-world images—that 5G will help facilitate.

For example, last summer the lab worked on a mixed-reality experience in which a person moved through a story using their mobile phone or wearable device in a public space like a theme park. While walking, the player followed prompts and saw superimposed figures that could move around and interact with the user.

A new doctor-patient relationship

In the coming years, 5G will make it possible for doctors to have more interactions with their patients through new telemedicine avenues, such as high-quality videoconferencing and virtual reality, says Sandra Rivera, general manager of Intel’s network-platforms group.

Boosters say the upgraded networks will make even bigger changes possible, such as having a doctor in one corner of the world operating on a patient in another with remote-controlled surgical machines. Less grand, but coming sooner, is a wave of changes bringing more-personalized care.

A therapist remotely treating a child with autism, for example, could use a VR headset to see the child’s facial and body cues more clearly than is possible on today’s video calls via mobile phones. Columbia University researchers, meanwhile, are working on virtual physical therapy helped by 5G’s low latency. A patient wears a virtual-reality headset and moves controllers to manipulate digital versions of physical objects like a ball, mimicking motions in a traditional therapy session.

The FCC recently announced a plan to encourage a blazing fast wireless service called 5G. But what is 5G? And how far is the U.S. from rolling it out? Photo: Reuters

New sensors and wearable devices connected to 5G networks that generate data will also help flag abnormalities or adjust the dosage of medicine or therapeutic activities without in-person visits. Patients could wear sensors that monitor their activity, stress levels and blood sugar, with that data flowing to their physician, Ms. Rivera adds.

Later on, 5G’s faster speed, lower latency and higher bandwidth could facilitate larger changes such as paramedics getting real-time instructions in an ambulance from a trained physician using high-definition cameras and virtual reality.

Making surveillance more precise

Cameras and sensors already blanket the busier corners of the world without the help of 5G technology. But an experiment that Verizon Communications Inc. VZ 0.54% recently ran at a Houston testing center offered a peek at what the world could look like when faster wireless service becomes commonplace.

Early experiments suggest cameras and sensors with 5G enhancements could allow police departments to scan public places more quickly for suspects in their databases. It could also allow stores to track their customers’ movements with more precision, perhaps allowing them to tailor marketing to them based on their behavior.

Engineers at the wireless carrier developed customized software that allows computers to process images near a cell tower rather than in a data center hundreds of miles away.

The test took advantage of two 5G benefits. Enhanced bandwidth allows cameras to pass data-heavy images over the air without degrading their quality. Lower latency also lets computers process images close to where they are captured, allowing them to quickly identify people and objects. Verizon says the on-site processing led its systems to find matching images twice as fast as they could using conventional methods.

Adam Koeppe, Verizon’s senior vice president for network planning, says public-safety groups often ask for the ability to make better use of surveillance data. Similar technology could also be used by retailers to track foot traffic.

“This type of technology is not new,” he says. “The question is, how do you deploy it in a mobile environment?”

Mr. FitzGerald is a Wall Street Journal reporter in Washington, and Ms. Krouse is a Wall Street Journal reporter in New York. Email andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com and sarah.krouse@wsj.com.