Why you should care

From telecom to tech, this OZY original series tells you how 5G and artificial intelligence could change your life.

This is an OZY Special Briefing, an extension of the Presidential Daily Brief. The Special Briefing tells you what you need to know about an important issue, individual or story that is making news. Each one serves up an interesting selection of facts, opinions, images and videos in order to catch you up and vault you ahead.

WHAT TO KNOW

What is “fifth-generation intelligence”? Fifth generation, or 5G, is a term used for a range of technologies that will enable mobile internet to function up to 20 times faster than today’s speeds. Combine the proliferation of 5G data speeds with another advancing technology, artificial intelligence, and you get a new and potentially game-changing era of technological development.

Why does it matter? AI and 5G technologies promise to reinvent everything from critical medical care to cybersecurity — and perhaps even combat climate change. But unexpected sectors will also be affected in surprising ways. Fifth-Generation Intelligence, an OZY original series, showcases potentially transformative changes to the way you live and highlights which countries, companies and organizations are set to lead the way in developing these technologies.

HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT

How 5G could save your life. From ambulances beaming patient data to doctors in real time to drones delivering insulin, 5G connectivity promises to revolutionize emergency medical care. For example, imagine that your house has caught fire and you’ve suffered severe burns by the time help arrives. In the future, those first responders will be equipped with augmented reality goggles that, using 5G speeds, connect them to burn specialists hundreds of miles away, enabling them to treat your burns quickly and with expert medical guidance.

The end of lines at airport customs? Imagine landing after a long international flight and being greeted by a machine — rather than an immigration queue — that asks a few questions and lets you go through in seconds. This isn’t science fiction. The U.S. is increasingly deploying AI-based systems to screen travelers. Fourteen American airports, for example, are now using facial biometric technology for entry verification. While groups developing border security technology argue that machines err less often than humans, some research suggests that AI systems can carry racial biases and fail to pick up cues that trained humans can about suspicious individuals.

Turning to AI to discover new species. Picture this: You’re strolling through the woods when a beautiful bird swoops in and lands nearby. Curious? Take a picture and let AI do the rest. The number of species on Earth is massive, but thanks to rapid advances in what is known as Species-Identifying Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) it’s getting easier and faster for zoologists, botanists and amateur nature lovers to identify rare species of plants and animals.

Making you safer online. Globally, nearly 2 billion data records were compromised in cyberattacks within the first six months of 2017, and big tech companies have come under fire for failing to protect user privacy. Once again, enter AI: Now Microsoft, IBM and Cisco, among others, are employing machine learning to protect their customers’ identities and data around the clock and in real time.

Satellites will play a big role. The towers that mobile connectivity currently depend upon won’t work for 5G, and new towers could cost billions of dollars. So, at least to start, it will only be profitable for telecom companies to develop 5G in densely populated metropolitan areas, building as few new towers as possible. The best way to expand the 5G footprint? Satellites. Groups from SpaceX to the European Union are trying to fill that gap by developing satellite solutions to beam 5G connectivity from space to millions more people.

WHAT TO READ

The Road to China’s 5G Global Domination Is Here, by Ben Halder in OZY

“In the past two years, Yinchuan has developed the use of high-definition CCTV capable of facial identification for public-security monitoring, smart street lighting with integrated electric-vehicle charging and advertising, and smart traffic lane management of the city’s highways.”

Stephen Hawking AI Warning: Artificial Intelligence Could Destroy Civilization, by Hannah Osborne in Newsweek

“AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many.”

WHAT TO WATCH

How AI Can Save Our Humanity

“AI is serendipity. It is here to liberate us from routine jobs, and it is here to remind us what it is that makes us human. So let us choose to embrace AI and to love one another.”

Watch on TED on YouTube:

Five Ways 5G Could Change your Commute

“Smart traffic signals could change based on real-time traffic patterns. One study found that smart traffic lights reduced travel time by 25 percent and the wait time by 40 percent.”

Watch on Axios on YouTube:

WHAT TO SAY AT THE WATERCOOLER

Waste not. One small example of how China is leading the way on 5G implementation: the smart trash cans found in the city of Yinchuan. These are very smart trash cans. The moment they’re full, they alert authorities, and municipal workers in orange suits promptly turn up in a truck to clear the waste.

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