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5G, phantasies!
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5G, phantasies!

For almost a year, social networks have seized the health crisis to make it their favorite subject. This topic is starting to get boring however, especially that we have the impression that behind every Internet user hides a potential doctor who refutes what some say or approves what others say. So as not to add to the outdated debate on the pandemic, many “Facebook intellectuals” have taken up the subject of 5G, a very popular topic. A Telecom friend of mine says this is the hottest topic at the moment.

For several months, I have read with diligence all the writings on 5G that I come across on social networks. It’s hilarious, terrifying! I have always restrained from commenting so that the Telecom engineer that I am, does not come across as the scholar or the scientist who sets himself up as a lesson giver. I usually impose to myself this principle, but I ask myself the following question. Do I have the right to leave my readers in the grip of these social network intellectuals who confuse them on the question, while I can bring them a better light drawn from my original training and my professional experience? Do I have any other choice than to go down to the arena? We have not yet get rid of the fear of the Coronavirus that some want to embark us in another fear, the one of 5G.As much as things relating to health may seem like a natural source of concern, but regarding 5G it can only be fantasies. It is clear the fears that accompany innovations are sometimes natural as well, but these are fears that dissipate with the dispelling of the mysteries that generally surround innovations! From the start of my career, in 1970, my fellow telecom engineers and I were often called upon to decipher the “mysteries” of each stage of the prodigious development that our sector has known and is experiencing. The first questions concerned radio links which were deemed to cause serious injury to children. No proof has been provided to date for this supposed dangerousness.We should refrain from discussing the technical and financial advantages of microwave links over cables so as not to be accused of sorcerer’s apprentice who play profitability at the expense of health. As telecommunications reduce the share of wired network to massively develop in that of airwaves, the mysteries for non-technical people thicken, and apprehensions or even fears resurface. The cable is reassuring because it is palpable, the frequencies themselves seem to be magic. While magic may arouses wonder, here it arouses only fear. We saw this, more than twenty years ago, with the first deployments of GSM antennas on the roofs of buildings. Hostile campaigns have never been disarmed because, at regular intervals we are witnessing a greater densification of the network of antennas to successively generalize 3G and 4G. The basic concept of 5G remains the same, with better meshing of support networks and higher frequency ranges.No one has provided a formal proof of the danger of 5G. In France alone, the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency has carried out thousands of measurements without being able to detect cases exceeding the agreed thresholds. The “screening” continues. This year, despite the health crisis, more than 5,000 measurements were taken, and 20,000 are planned for 2021. We must appreciate this effort as well as we should not be chasing a negative result even if we must lower physiological tolerance thresholds, as some suggests.

With such logic, it is all human progress that must be called into question. If we have to take an example, and stick only to car technology, a common object among all, I would need a whole book to list all the misdeeds of the car on Man, this superb invention of …Human.

 The world shyly looks away on the millions of victims of cars. I am not actually talking only about road accident victims, but also of those victims of exhaust emissions and fine particles. The car’s carbon footprint is just monstrous ; not just throughout its manufacturing, but during all the related processes, such as bringing fuel from the oil wells to service stations, but also for the asphalting of millions of kilometers of roads, which are quite damaging to the environment, up to the habitat which sometimes becomes dangerous because it can easily be flooded. We see here that the car causes damage to both Man and Nature. This in no way diminishes the attachment I have for this wonderful invention which allows me to move, travel, discover, and in short, to achieve so many things that would have made my parents dream and my grandparents dream even more. I will never add my voice to the new fashion of denigrating technical progress, because I assume that there is and that there will never be innovation with zero risk. My digression to the car is just a detour to substantiate the idea that 5G is not likely to be more dangerous than the car has been or is. I could have multiplied examples of our fears in the face of innovation; such as for instances the ones related to aviation, agriculture, medicine, etc….I recently read some hilarious things about renewable energies, in particular wind turbines which are accused of all evils. Many people claim they are noisy, dry up the surrounding land, chase away birds, and distort landscapes. Be careful of wishing to draw up the benefits of innovative solutions, because people will not listen to you. Your arguments will be seen as an attempt to relieve the fears generated by innovation.Doing a review of the pros and cons of a novelty assumes a good knowledge of the concepts that led to its development. Indeed, it’s not always the case. So instead of struggling to balance the pros and cons, why not invite all audiences to simply keep in mind that there can never be zero risk innovation?

Abdelahad Idrissi Kaitouni, Telecom engineer.

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