A recent Gallup poll showed that 85% of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their everyday lives, whether they know it or not. AI now underpins services we take for granted. Most cloud based services now include at least a component of it. Streaming music services like Spotify have built in AI, so do mapping / GPS facilities in most phones, Uber uses AI. It’s not a part of the fabric of live, like it or not.
Here comes 5G – and it’s going to change everything
Existing 4G networks are fit for the purpose required of them. They can transmit high definition video without stutter to hundreds of phones at once. 4G will carry the burden – perhaps 80% of all network traffic, well in to the next decade, whatever Press Releases you see from Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and others – who all seem set on on claiming the first, fastest 5G network.
Marketing aside, however, and even in consideration of the fact that, while 5G will be here in 2 years, it will be some time before it dominates the market, the impacts of the new technology will go well beyond what we have experienced with previous generations of cellular data.
How 5G will be different
The nature of 5G will change the way we live. It supports devices which have extremely low power utilization. A single sensor could be placed on a railway carriage and track it’s contents and location for ten years without needing a recharge. The efficiency in how 5G interfaces with these sensors will see an explosion in the number of them which are used and the data that every business has available to it on the movements and efficiency of it’s assets.
5G will also be, predictably, fast. Perhaps up to 100 times faster than 4G. The real world applications of this go well beyond what we’ve seen until now. Consider the case of two self driving cars, one of which has slipped on ice and is heading towards the other out of control. The sliding vehicle will be able to message the car with which it is about to collide
Why that drives Artificial Intelligence applications
5G then will herald the connection to the internet of hundreds of millions of devices – essentially every valuable asset in the world creating an Internet Of Things. Each will produce seas of data stored in the cloud.
Cloud storage and access to centralized, structured data sets are the primary two factors which have combined to create the AI revolution that we are now seeing. Machine Learning, the AI algorithms which work behind the scenes to provide AI solutions to users require these two things to be able to work their ‘magic’.
5G will provide information which will help us solve problems in domains we never thought we could. (Indeed, AI will even optimize 5G network operations.) When literally everything is connected to the internet, we will be able to optimize and make more efficient the way we operate in each domain. Traffic will be routed more efficiently; railway carts will be used only when they will be filled. Accidents on highways will be immediately reported to emergency teams and the response coordinated with streetlights which are turned to green so that those most seriously injured are dealt with first.
The components required to deliver these improvements will be directly delivered by 5G and will cross multiple domains. To extend the examples that have been used here, for example, analysis might suggest that 30% fewer railway carts are required because self-driving cars can be used to transfer their contents at a lower cost. Having data available on both cars and railway carriages means they can be analysed alongside each other.
But do people realize?
There are obvious questions about the level of honesty in disclosure companies have, when their software includes AI – but their customers don’t know. It’s not an easy nut to crack. People want the services to ‘work’ for them without input but resent their data being studied by Machine Learning algorithms when it’s explained to them. They want the benefits but won’t read the terms and conditions before they install the app.
This fundamental problem is about to get worse. 5G will reveal the half of the world we have not yet seen. It will provide digital information on everything. And AI will use that data to make everything more efficient – whether people know about it or not.