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5G is Arriving With Its Transformational Potential–Futurum Tech Podcast Episode 039
by Olivier Blanchard | April 5, 2019

On this edition of FTP, the Futurum Tech Podcast. We’re taking a dive into the world of 5G. It’s finally starting to arrive here. What is it? What does it mean and what’s it going to look like in 5G years down the road? Plus we’ll be taking a look at Microsoft Dynamics, new NPO Accelerator for Nonprofits. We’re going to talk a bit about Google’s creepy Duplex and AI as well as ethics and AI. What does the world of ethics and AI actually look like and how desperately do we need it? And we’ll be talking about Intel’s Data-Centric announcement, and the latest in Apple’s attempt to conquer India. All of this and more on this edition of the Futurum Tech Podcast.

Our Main Dive

5G is finally arriving to a city near you. We break down the hype and the reality to discuss the transformational power of this technology and the services it will enable.

Our Fast Five

We dig into the week’s interesting and noteworthy news:

Tech Bites

Facebook user data pops up on Amazon’s AWS servers, and no, it isn’t secured. A look at what happens when piracy is second to profits.

Crystal Ball: Future-um Predictions and Guesses

How will the future of ethics in AI unfold and do we even have a chance of creating digital trust if we can’t nail digital ethics first?


Transcript: 

Olivier Blanchard: Welcome to this week’s edition of FTP, the Futurum Tech Podcast. I am Olivier Blanchard, senior analyst with Futurum Research, and joining me today are Dan Newman and Fred McClimans. We’re all here today. How are you guys doing?

Fred McClimans: Great.

Daniel Newman: Feeling good. Let’s do it.

Olivier Blanchard: Awesome. Perfect. Okay, so we’re going to start today’s show with a discussion about 5G. This isn’t going to be a 5G special, but hopefully we’re going to answer some of the questions that you’ve been wanting to ask about 5G, what it is? What it isn’t? Does it cause cancer? Is it really going to improve my cell reception? We’ll get to that. They will share some of our favorite tech stories of the week in our fast five segment followed by tech bites in which we highlight one of the biggest tech related fails of the week and we will end the show with our crystal ball.

Before we begin though, as always, it goes without saying that this show is intended for informational purposes only and no advice or insights provided here today should be taken as investment advice. All right, now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about 5G. One of the reasons why we’re talking about 5G this week is because the first global launches of 5G networks happens, one in the US and one in South Korea and there’s some discrepancies about who went first. I think that South Korea actually was a couple of hours ahead of the US but nobody really wants to own that 100%. So the good news is that everybody’s really trying to get 5G launched very quickly. Everybody wants to be first to 5G. But the problem with it is that 5G is still in its very kind of nascent stage.

We’re still at the very beginning. And so there’s a lot of… people have a lot of questions about 5G. There’s a lot of misinformation about what 5G is, 5G isn’t, and I want to talk about this today. So before I begin in a giant monologue about all of the different elements of 5G, I was wondering if you, Fred, and then I’ll go to Dan, have any specific questions about 5G or any comments about 5G that you feel are important for our listeners to hear about?

Fred McClimans: Well, I’ve always got questions. In this case with 5G, I think it’s worth stepping back a little bit and just, I know this might seem radical, I’m just going to lay it out there. Most people in impact, I’ll broaden that. The majority of people don’t know what 5G is. They don’t know what 5G is going to do. They don’t know the value it’s going to bring. All they know is that there are a lot of companies out there marketing the next wave of cell phones, and they’re probably going to buy one. I mean, if you look throughout the entire history, you go back, the 1G networks back in 79, 2G popping up around the early 90s. You’ve got 3G early 2000s, 4G late 2000s with LTE. Now we’ve got 5G, we’ve got variations, 5GEE. When you ask somebody what does this actually do? They don’t know. It’s like asking somebody random on the street, the signal bars on your cell phone, what do they mean? And you’re going to get all sorts of crazy answers.

That’s my performance. That’s my phone. That’s my battery life. I mean, it’s all over the place on that. So I think it’s important to kind of put this in context. 5G is in fact a really big deal, and I think it’s been underserved a bit by this marketing hype and spin. And hopefully we’ll talk a little bit about some of the players that are spinning that in a bit here. But I’ve really got to believe that the best thing that we can do right now with something like 5G is we can discuss it. We can figure out what it means, and we can inform our clients, and our listeners about what it is. But let’s also remember in the back of our minds that this is one of the most ridiculous hype buildups that we’ve seen in the last decade. That’s my thought.

Olivier Blanchard: Dan.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. I don’t know if I would say 10 to 100 times the speed is hype. I think it will truly revolutionize certain industries. I think a lot of things you’ve heard about IoT and Edge and Sensor Based Computers, smart cities, smart grid, autonomous vehicles that are truly autonomous, really never had a chance of working without what 5G, without the foundational 5G and our standards that are being rolled out. They basically allow high speed connectivity and near field capacities to transmit and emit data where two cars can talk to each other, they can talk to the city, they can talk with the road. I mean those are real and tangible thing. Is getting my Netflix video download a little bit faster, tangible? Yeah, I think so. Is it earth shattering? No. Can it be done on a lot of sort of publicly available Wi-Fi that you find everywhere now? Sure.

Will Wi-Fi 6 offer similar a speeds and capabilities for what I would call non critical applications that don’t require near perfect connectivity levels? Yes. But as a whole, I actually believe that 5G is revolutionary, and it will change the world and in certain markets it will take us forward to what smart infrastructure can truly look like. I think my thoughts on the understanding of 5G is most people don’t really know what the difference is. And most of us, even those of us who spend a lot of time on it, don’t truly understand the engineering that goes in behind it. The true design of the… well I’d say from antenna to device, from base station all the way through, from infrastructure.

Because people think 5G, they think of the icon on the top corner of their phone. They think of 5G, they don’t think about dozens of companies, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Intel, they don’t think about Dell, Cisco, Huawei. Samsung. They don’t think about hundreds of other small chip component manufacturers that are actually building and putting devices that will go inside of their devices. And then ultimately the carriers that can roll out services. So maybe Oliver, since I would say you’re the de facto 5G expert on this panel, I would ask you to say if someone was truly a novice or even as a junior technologist that likes to think they understand tech, how would you in just a few minutes, introduce them to 5G and really what the meaningful difference is, in a way that’s more effective than AT&T’s made up approach for what 5G is.

Olivier Blanchard: Awesome. So see this is where you start to discover like how good Dan is as a moderator in panels because that was completely improvised, and it was super solid. Okay. So the real quick version is 5G, basically is the fifth generation of wireless communication. So we’ve had 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G. 4G is what you’re using now, it’s LTE. It’s essentially the generation of wireless technologies that allows you to watch YouTube on your phone and make calls. So 2G was making calls, 3G was getting email, 4G is getting the internet on your phone, basically being able to stream stuff. 5G is the next generation of that. And it actually stands for not just 5G, as in fifth generation, but it’s also called 5G NR.

And the NR is New Radio. So there’s actually like new aspects of 5G that have nothing to do with just speed. It’s actually a whole new technology, a whole new ecosystem. And all of those layers of Gs kind of sit on top of each other and do different things. So they’re complimentary. 5G doesn’t replace 4G in the way that 4G doesn’t replace 3G, they’re all used for different things. So that’s the first part. The second part is that 5G actually stands for several things. 5G isn’t just one new kind of abstract generation of faster wireless technology. It actually is going to be deployed in different phases. And this year, so basically between April 2019, which is now and April 2020 is kind of like the first release of 5G, which is actually called release 15, because it’s not the first release of the Gs.

And this one specifically focuses on low bands on low frequency. So basically what people in the industry call sub-6GHz or sub-6. And those are essentially kind of like an improved version of 4G. And what you’re going to see in terms of performance with that is simply kind of like a doubling of the speeds that you’re used to on your phones or on other devices that access broadband. So that’s a very limited kind of aspect of 5G. It’s introductory, and it’s a really good transition piece, but it’s not earth shattering. But what’s interesting is what happens next year. So with release 16, which is slated to happen in April 2020 so exactly one year from now we’re going to start seeing the release of 5G in the higher bands, 24GHz and up until the 80GHz range.

And these are much higher frequency much different types of frequencies. And what we get into is millimeter wave ranges and just a good way to visualize millimeter wave is instead of the sub-6 frequencies that are kind of like these big waves that actually travel fairly far, millimeter wave is a little bit like a laser, even though it’s not, but it’s much more focused. It’s as its name calls it a millimeter wave. It’s very small, very thin, and it’s capable of sending quite a bit of data very quickly from point A to point B. The problem with millimeter wave though is that it has a very short range because it dissipates very easily in the atmosphere. So you have to have more cells, and the cells have to be different from what we use today for 4G.

So there’s a difference that people need to grasp between the 5G that they’re going to be experiencing in the next year, and the 5G that they’ll be experiencing two, three, four years from now. It’s going to be very different, and you’re going to have this low range and high range thing. The second thing, essentially 5G can be split up into three categories of not technology but I guess usage scenarios. So one of them is enhanced mobile broadband, which is typically what we think about as consumers, when we think about 4G or 5G. It’s basically faster data speeds. So again, release 15 in the next year you’re going to see a 2x increase in performance or in download speeds by the end of 5G deployments, when the technology is mature, and the infrastructure investments are mature, you could see up to a 20x increase in download speeds.

So your downloads will be in theory potentially 20 times faster than they are today. So that’s really huge, and it’s really great for smart phones, for video. I think it’s going to radically change mobile gaming. I think it’s going to make wireless VR and AR actually possible for consumers. And it opens up a whole bunch of really cool opportunities for entertainment, for content, et cetera. But there’s also two other aspects of this. One of them is reliable low latency communications. That’s essentially the kind of mission critical technology applications like factory automation. So the industrial IoT depends on this, where you need uninterrupted exchanges of data. And that’s also going to be very important as autonomous vehicles begin to become mature. Right now we have kind of like these semi-autonomous vehicles, we have driver assist vehicles that are injecting some autonomy into what they do, but in five, six, seven years where I think we will see fully autonomous vehicles that are able to communicate with each other, that are able to communicate with the infrastructure around them, the roads, the signs, the cities that they pass through.

And all of that is going to need this 5G network with ultra-reliable low latency communications. So that’s one of the layers that’s going to be important and that’s going to kind of mesh all this together. And then the third aspect of this is massive machine type communications, which is the 5G that we usually think about, we think about just the basic IoT. So all of the sensors out there, all of the kind of semi-automated traffic lights and basically anything that has a sensor in it and that’s connected to the Internet that’s connected to the Edge is going to be relying on 5G network as kind of the glue that connects everything. And that’s obviously very different from just having slightly faster speed when you download your favorite YouTube videos. So those three things are really important. And there are three very separate branches of 5G use cases that people need to know about. So that’s kind of like a roundabout way of where we’re going with 5G and how 5G is going to evolve in the next few years.

Fred McClimans: Now that’s what we should’ve said Dan. Oliver I meant that’s spot on. That’s some really good depth. And that’s where I think the conversation and the focus for us really should be, it’s what about all the things that this is going to enable moving out there? I mean, the NR IoT aspect of this, that’s huge. I mean, that’s going to touch sensors, but it’s also, I think going to reshape the way we think a bit about Edge computing perhaps.

Olivier Blanchard: Oh 100 percent. And so the point is that it’s not just like Verizon having faster speeds than AT&T-

Fred McClimans: Which is what it will boil down to in all of the commercials.

Olivier Blanchard: Right. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but this is one of the reasons I wanted to talk about 5G this week as well, is I saw an article published by Wired, which was widely shared, and caused a lot of confusion among people who were actually pretty tech savvy. And it just reminded me of the sort of misinformation that I see on flat author, discussion boards, which I like to troll on occasion, disclosure and also kind of like the anti-vax movement. There’s a lot of bad science and weird kind of tinfoil hat stuff going out there. And because 5G is so new and people don’t necessarily understand what it is and what it isn’t, it’s very easy for bad information to start spreading and to start sticking early on.

I’m a little bit concerned about that and I just wanted to throw it out there that, no 5G does not cause cancer, just like windmills don’t cause cancer. Not a political dig, just a fact. 5G those signals don’t penetrate the skin unlike what you may have heard or may have read in the last week. No, 5G signals do not activate sweat glands and do not turn them into 5G antennas. None of that is true. 5G’s totally safe. I mean, yes, everything is radiation. The sun, the solar radiation can be dangerous in large exposures.

Anything millimeter wave can be weaponized, absolutely. But in terms of like the 5G networks, and the types of use cases that we’re going to see in the equipment being deployed and how it will be used, it’s perfectly safe for humans. It doesn’t cause cancer. It doesn’t pose a threat. There’s no government conspiracy. There’s no cover up. It’s just the safest 4G.

Daniel Newman: Well, the only thing we don’t know for sure is what the effects are going to be of any of these technologies. After people have used them 12 to 14 hours a day for 20 years. I’m not saying… I’m not on the conspiracy train, I’m just saying sometimes it takes time for this stuff to fully flush itself out. What we do know is there’s no immediate harm and anything you’re reading is purely speculation and conspiracy theory.

There’s been no labs, no tests, nothing’s been validated that anything is that actually wrong. And like I said, I’m not on their side. I just mean people smoked for a long time too and had no idea it was going to kill them. That really did happen. And then over time they started to see harmful health effects.

Olivier Blanchard: Right-

Daniel Newman: Literally they’ll put a pretty significant amount of technology close to our brain for a long time now. And my point is, I agree with you. I don’t think anything is immediate. I just… it’ll be interesting in 30 or 40 years when we’ve had a generation that started their life and went all the way to death with a device attached to their head all the time-

Fred McClimans: Not just one device, but think about all the wearables.

Daniel Newman: What our brain, what our body will look like. It will be interesting from a medical science field, Oliver. I’m not saying it’s actually going to change. I’m just saying we haven’t studied it.

Olivier Blanchard: Sure, but you guys are making a connection with like cancer-causing cigarettes in 5G though even while you’re saying you’re not…

Daniel Newman: Well, I’m making the connection of we don’t actually know anthropologically or physiologically what will happen to the human body that’s been connected intimately to technology, not just your phone and not just to your Wi-Fi, but to your computers, to all the electromagnetic fields around us all the time. It is different. It’s different than 50 and a hundred years ago and it hasn’t been studied. I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy, I’m certainly not saying 5G has any issue, and it’s going to harm anybody. I’m just saying, if I was a researcher, a scientist, I would love to go 50 years into the future and study and say, did all this tech being attached to us all the time change anything at all? And if it didn’t, then that’s great. If it did we’ll never know because we’ll be dead by then. I will be.

Fred McClimans: From wearing too many wearables. Actually I think the only real and unknown there are the variable. It’s not necessarily the tech. I mean, when they roll out a technology like this, Oliver, as you mentioned, millimeter waves, they don’t penetrate very far. They’re very easy to deflect or they degrade fast. But when you look at the implementation side of that, as 5G becomes more cost effective, as it drops, becomes more of a commodity component. The modems, the chips, everything required for that. And then we start to see that wave of Ronco type products that come out.

It’s a 5G fishing rod. The 5G barbie toy, the 5G whiz frost that costs $2. It’s in those areas there that it’s just such an unknown. And we know by past experience there are a lot of manufacturers out there that when they get to that commodity point they will ship anything, from the cheaper radios, cheap cell phones to laptop batteries that on occasion happen to explode. And when they do they pull them out and throw them into a hover board, and sell them again.

Olivier Blanchard: Obviously a battery exploding is not the same as…

Daniel Newman: Well listen, every time I tweet or post about 5G I get at least a few lunatics that tell me about the immediate death that will come all of society. And I am certainly not repping such nonsense. I’m simply just saying, we don’t really know what all this technology is doing. I mean it is physiologically changing our posture. We are actually going back to the Neanderthal days and soon we will be knuckle dragging while we can make sure we can look at phones on both hands at the same time while running around like bears. I mean we… it is changing the world in a lot of good ways but also in interesting ways. So I guess I’m just saying is we are… look for instance, sleep pattern, right? So when I sleep in hotels, I often have my laptop in the bed, I’m on my phone, I’m working and then I eventually closed the lid in my laptop, put the phone and I fall asleep.

I sleep exponentially worse when my computer and phone are close to me than when they’re not. Why is that though? Is it just because I’m in a hotel? I don’t know, but what I’m telling you is when I do it at home, I get that same effect. There’s something about being that close to my laptop. I’m not sure if it’s a phone, but the laptop being that close to me-

Fred McClimans: You’re afraid of rolling over and crushing it.

Daniel Newman: What?

Fred McClimans: It’s just you don’t want to roll over…

Daniel Newman: I mean maybe. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing. I just told you it’s an interesting debate. But there been things that have said the light… that the way you look at the light close to at night, it changes your sleep patterns. So what I’m saying is the effects are probably aren’t deadly, but it could change the human condition.

It could change our requirements for sleep, it could change the amount that we sleep and the quality of it. And by the way, did you know as an athlete, if you’re a child with sleep deprivation, you’re 61 percent more likely to suffer a severe injury playing sport. I know that sounds interesting, but children are sleeping less because they now are up later on their devices and their devices are keeping them awake longer. So I realized I’ve gone… this is like a tangent off the reservation but this is about a connected universe and 5G is just one more layer of tech that is going to bring us closer to being connected 24 by seven 365 all the time in our hands, in our pockets and in our eyeballs. And hell, we’re all willing. I’m certainly willing to have tech injected into me. What the hell is that going to do to me? We don’t really know. And that’s the fascinating thing about checking and going through this life and doing what we do… you will be-

Fred McClimans: But what you’re getting at Dan though is I think a really important point here, and this is true with just about any wave of technology or innovation or commercialization of these products. It’s not necessarily the products themselves, it’s the way we use the products and the behavioral changes that result. So I mean your laptop is not sitting there in bed plotting is he asleep? Can I go? Is he asleep? Can I go. No, your laptop is sitting there in the back of your mind, not the laptop’s mind, but your mind going, I know it’s there. I don’t want to roll over, or my phone is there, I’m going to get up and check it again. Or I can stream the new season of whatever off Netflix. I’m going to do that for the next 36 hours straight because I got to get through the last episode of the Americans.

So it’s the behavioral change and when we think about all the areas that 5G can impact what we’re doing today, it’s hard to think of an industry that is not impacted. I mean, everything from, with the automobiles and the autonomous driving, all the way to oil exploration and remote drilling rigs. The technology, it’s just an overall boost. I mean, I think the way to really think of it in my perspective is 5G is kind of just, it’s overall lifting everything else up, and the changes that come from that in our behavior as individuals, as groups, as societies and as businesses and governments even. There’s the potential here to see some very radical shifts over the next four to five years, much in the same way that the Internet itself brought about a very radical shift in the way culture expands, learns, grows and conflicts with other cultures.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see something kind of similar in that way. As 5G really starts to roll out, and in different areas. Olivia, as you said, we’ve got this nice bandwidth pipe now for our mobile phones, and our faster downloads, which should be great if we can get rid of that screen that pops up on every website you visit. We have cookies here, that kind of slows you back down. But in the industrial space it’s huge.

Olivier Blanchard: GDPR. All right. I’ve gone down the wavelength now. Everyone that listens to our show is going to think I’m a crazy conspiracy theorist-

Fred McClimans: No more than before.

Olivier Blanchard: And I sleep in the bed with a cell phone. But let’s just say I’m curious, and I think that’s what makes us good at what we do. All right, let’s go. So I’ll give myself the last word since I’m the host of this podcast. Yeah, I’m giving myself that prerogative. All this to say that I think it’s healthy to ask the right questions. I think it’s healthy to ask questions period. And also to go look for answers. What’s tricky is when you go look for the answers in the wrong places. So like flat authors get caught in this weird cycle of YouTube videos and finding conspiracy videos and think that because they’re on the internet, they’re real, don’t get your information from YouTube videos. There are actually studies, legitimate scientific studies about the effects of radio wave, and radiation on the body. The 4G type frequencies, and their effect on the body had been studied for quite some time.

So there’s actually data on this and millimeter wave, even though 5G is new, millimeter wave technology is not. Millimeter wave is actually the stuff that you’re bombarded with at the airport when you go through that security thing where you raise your hands, that’s millimeter wave as well. It’s not a new thing. So there is actually data on this. We know that it can cause cancer in rats in massive amounts of exposure over massive amounts of time, but those are not even close to the kind of, even the most egregious use of technology that we would have. As a matter of fact, the problem with millimeter wave is because it’s so concentrated but also so we can so easy to dissipate. It doesn’t penetrate skin, it doesn’t go through things very well. One of the problems with this is that technology companies, filmmakers have had to invent entirely new types of antennas in their devices to be able to make millimeter wave in 5G technologies work on phones because when your phone is in your hands, your fingers are physically blocking the waves from entering your phone.

Fred McClimans: So this going to work great in parking garages?

Olivier Blanchard: It’s actually going to work great in parking garages because, and I don’t want to go into like another rabbit hole with this, but if I encourage people to look up MIMO, M-I-M-O which stands for multiple-input and multiple-output. And the way that 5G works, especially in the millimeter wave range, is that multiple antennas are going to be basically shooting their millimeter waves at your device from different directions at the same time and sending, and basically synchronizing packets of information that are going back and forth. Because it’s not just one signal from one tower or one signal from three towers. It’s going to be 20, 30, 40 signals from a bunch of little beam forming antennas that are like triangulating on your phone.

And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so fast. But it’s also in response to the engineering challenge of getting the information to your device and from your device, even though it has so many things in the way, whether it’s physical objects like walls or your hands, which basically acts as a shield because millimeter wave can’t penetrate it. Which is also by the way, why millimeter wave penetrates your clothes at the airport but not your skin and why it’s so effective at detecting objects on you but not in you and why it’s perfectly safe to do that.

Fred McClimans: Dr. Olivier Blanchard, thank you very much for that.

Olivier Blanchard: Awesome. Okay, so on that, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of other-

Daniel Newman: Have we monetized this yet?

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, we should. Join a non for profit, the tech doctor. So okay. That’s all the time we have for our main segments. Unfortunately we could talk about this all day, obviously as you can tell and we’ll return to it I’m sure in future episodes. For now though, let’s switch to our fast five and let’s go with Dan this time. Dan you are first, what news story caught your eye today, or this week?

Daniel Newman: Yeah, I had a couple of that caught my eye this week, but one of them was Microsoft Dynamics 365 basically announced a V2 of their Nonprofit Accelerator and this was pretty cool and I found it very interesting is they’re taking a community approach to helping nonprofits because as we know, the tech costs of truly doing everything from fundraising and community identification is pretty intensive. So using their common data model and the apps within Dynamics 365 they’re basically enabling non-for-profits to leverage common data to build on their tools and to execute their non-for-profits with the support of Microsoft and Microsoft’s technology. So they’re expanding the program right now and they’re into their V2, which has expanded the data model, the available data, the tool sets. And so this announcement that kind of came out from Eric Arnold, their Global Chief Technology Officer just looks very promising to me and it caught my eye.

A lot of times big tech companies, we know they’re doing good because they talk about it a lot, but the practicality of empowering. So we talk so much about give a man a fish, teach a man to fish. So when big companies are donating dollars to causes, that’s great. They’re giving a man a fish, giving a woman a fish. We should say that in the age of all equal. But I like the Microsoft’s empowering others because this is scale. So by giving access to their tools, to the data, to the shared data. And a lot of this common data comes from giant non-for-profits that already have success in global models and have built platforms. They will help so many of these other 501(c)(3)s to get started, which is always a problem. I mean my wife sits on the board of a non for profit around cancer and one of her friends had breast cancer and they do this thing with writing letters.

And the point is the finances on this is so difficult. It’s so hard to fundraise everything from Bingo to just getting local people to give you 10 or $20 and to utilize the technology is really difficult. So with what she’s doing, and it’s called Send A Smile Today. So if you do have a chance to check it out, that’s my little plug. It’s a good cause. It’s super interesting, but I’ve seen it firsthand and small companies could really benefit on the backs of technology companies providing them with infrastructure to utilize big data, to build their models and to scale good causes around the world.

Olivier Blanchard: Awesome. Fred?

Fred McClimans: Yes. So, last year Google did a very well done, misinterpreted perhaps, I don’t know, but just creepy out demonstration of its new Google Duplex technology. That’s Google’s effort to leverage software, AI, compute resources. They did some really interesting demonstrations with it that everybody applauded at and everybody that wasn’t there kind of stood back and said, wow, essentially Google Duplex the demonstrations allowed an individual to place calls to other people through the AI interface. So Oliver, you as example would say, I’d call this restaurant that can make a reservation, but it’s not you calling, it’s the AI that’s calling, very realistic. They have now released that out across most of the US, it’s available on the iPhone now for the first time I’ve tried it, I’ve played around with it. It’s kind of creepy cool. You can ask it questions, it responds back, you can tell it a task or ask it to do something.

It effectively tries to execute on that task. There are some issues here about the ethics. Do you disclose that this is an AI bot communicating on your behalf? And what happens when your AI bot encounters another Google Duplex AI bot on the other end? Do they still communicate in English or whatever language you’re speaking or do they just kind of recognize it and go quickly into the digital realm for that, but it is out now, it is new. I would tell everybody if you think this is something creepy, go ahead and try it. Test it out, see what it’s like.

The one thing I will say is that it is something that takes a little bit of training both on the user and on the AI bot itself. So Google has with a lot of forethought here, seeded the system so that it asks you questions, and prompts you ask me a question about this and tell me about yourself. Tell me this, tell me that. So it can better learn you all at the same time I know it’s gathering a lot of data coming off that, but Google Duplex, it is out. It is now. It is creepy and it is cool.

Olivier Blanchard: Pretty cool. All right, well that’s actually a perfect segue into my fast five this week, which deals with AI and ethics and Google again. So I guess we’re going to need some kind of touring tests for AIs, right? To figure out what we’re doing. Anyway so my story is Google put together this AI ethics board, which is necessary. And actually we’re going to talk about it a little bit at the very end of the show. It was a good idea. We have issues with AIs, like what you just mentioned, right? When do you know that you’re talking to an AI? When do you know an AI is talking to you. There’s the issue of AI bias in searches and in the workplace. There’s the question of AI ethics. Do we give, for instance an AI the power to control a Warcraft, an airplane? I just, yes, I’m actually not a Warcraft player.

Fred McClimans: What if you had a whole world of them?

Olivier Blanchard: Yes. Because we’re entering the age of AI where AI is going to make a lot of decisions for us and automate a lot of things around us. We need ethics boards, we need AI ethicists and we need to start having this conversation. So Google, intelligently put together an AI Ethics Board to start beginning to address that. And unfortunately, the ethics board lasted a week. It was disbanded or at least they have plans to disband it, it didn’t work out. And I just want to make everybody just kind of feel more secure in their persons. Again, there’s no conspiracy theory. It’s not like the board convened and talk to an AI and got so scared that they disbanded. There’s nothing sinister about it. What happened is humans actually couldn’t agree on some of the appointments. There were some political infighting about who was on the board who shouldn’t be on the board and so Google just kind of like threw in the towel, said, okay, we’re going to stop this. We’ll start from scratch. We’ll do it again. This didn’t work out the first time, so it was just one iteration.

But I think it’s interesting that this effort, which is needed, failed so catastrophically inside of a week. So obviously we have… it’s very needed when we have a long way of go before we actually understand how to address these things.

Fred McClimans: To check out my tweet, it was something like corporation tends to centralize control of AI fails, goes back to drawing board.

Olivier Blanchard: That’s exactly it. All right, so Dan, yeah. What’s your fast five of the week?

Daniel Newman: Well, my second fast five is all around the Intel Data-Centric event that I attended when I was in San Francisco. It was a safe trip because I went from Uber to hotel and never left again until I got back into an Uber, it’s the safest trip to San Francisco these days.

Olivier Blanchard: It’s very San Francisco.

Daniel Newman: But no, Intel had a big event this week. It was one of the largest launches in a number of years and the big focus was their 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable processing, which basically what Intel’s mission was, they called it a Data-Centric event. So instead of data center, which is really where they dominate they’re calling it Data-Centric because it was all about the whole Edge to Core.

So everything from faster connectivity through Ethernet adapters, next generation Ethernet adapters, to Xeon 2, to their Optane persistent memory technologies, that basically allows memory and storage to happen interchangeably, so to keep your storage in memory mode all the time so it’s faster access. But I thought it was a really impressive showing and the week before that AMD had put out an article talking about the Intel TACs because Intel’s chips, which by the way are much, their offerings opposed to AMD’s Epyc is a much broader offering.

Everything from their bronze level to their platinum level and their pricing is typically more expensive at the processor chip level than AMD. But from an ecosystem standpoint, Intel has built the reference solution, worked with all the partners, and AMD does this at some level too. But what I really came to the conclusion is if you remember the old adage that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, and that’s the old tech adage, right? But when it comes to building your data center hardware strategy Intel really did tell a compelling story that if it’s Edge to Core, they had the most complete offering, the most complete designs, partner ecosystems and I think they are really ready to compete.

They had everything… Their new 10-nanometer FPGA’s, custom chips and A6. They had the new wireless Ethernet adapters. They had the Optane memory, which I mentioned. And then the Xeon 2. The one thing about them is, it is a walled garden and a lot of ways, a lot of their new technologies you have to use with their other technologies. But I think that’s growing increasingly common as we’ve seen with Apple. And it drives certain people into frustration. But when it comes down to building your data center architecture 5G ready, Edge ready, it was a very good showing. So I realized… a little long winded there, but a lot to show you can check out. We wrote an article, throw it in the show notes, talking about the impressions, but overall very impressive showing from Intel.

Olivier Blanchard: Okay, cool. Fred bring us home with the last fast five of the week.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. So last fast five, a little bit of news surrounding Apple and India. Now, as we know Apple, they have had their challenges overseas in certain markets with their iPhone technology, their products there. India has been one of them as has China. And for the last couple of years, India has been one of the few places that Apple actually does local phone assembly. Now they’d been doing this for the iPhone SE and the SS, since about the middle of last year, middle of 2018. They’ve just announced that they are shifting that same capability over to handle the iPhone 7, so they will be producing locally in India, in Bengaluru, beautiful city by the way, to hopefully gain a little bit of market share and maybe a little bit of local loyalty there, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for Apple as it almost always is in this type of a situation.

Their iPhones cost about a thousand dollars more than the average sale price for mobile phones in India. I mean their comparison is just huge. So while we think this is an interesting move, it’s something that they needed to do. It was kind of expected here. It is kind of interesting they have stepped up to the iPhone 7 at this point. They have not made any announcements about price changing on that. So I think it will have limited success and really, I think what Apple is doing here with this, they don’t expect this to be the ultimate market for them in any sense. I think it’s more catering to that upscale market. Maybe some of that international crowd that has a lot more engagement with the US than others. But it’s there, we’ll see what happens here. I can only assume that if things continue in a couple of years, we’ll be talking about how they’re doing the iPhone 10 in India and it’s only $2,000 more.

Olivier Blanchard: Hey, so can I do a little fun fast six. So Apple HomePod dropped the price $100. So I did a little tweet earlier about this and I said, hey, look, they dropped the price. Anyone actually own one of these things? And Twitter tends to give me a lot of engagement, likes, retweets, but no one ever usually responds or very few conversational responses that are like crazy wackos telling me about 5G penetrating my skin. I’ve gotten like a string of responses and the moral is, nobody actually owns one of these things. I don’t think the HomePod has been sold yet.

I think it was just go, I think it was an April fool’s day. I don’t know if you can actually procure one of them. So I’m challenging people out there to go buy one and tell me what you think. This is not me even picking on Apple. It is genuinely me saying, what’s up with this HomePod? How could they be so wildly unsuccessful with a product that’s got so much traction and popularity. By the way, while also, shutting out iMessage. So that means that nobody’s using Alexa to send text messages, because if they were, they’d have to do it on iMessage and Alexa [crosstalk] Can they? I don’t think they can.

Fred McClimans: No. Alexa doesn’t do iMessage. But I’ve seen over the last three, four months I’ve seen probably… Oh man I’ve run into maybe a hundred HomePods all in the Apple Store.

Olivier Blanchard: That’s it. Well, you know, we shut our Alexa down when it started randomly playing music and talking to us for no reason. We’re like, yeah, there’s no way this thing’s not working I’m turning it off, right?

Fred McClimans: Anytime it gets uncle teddy, it’s time to turn it off.

Olivier Blanchard: Well, I mean, look, it’s pretty simple at Apple, number one it isn’t really known for its really good AI and voice activated experiences, right? Siri is not at the top of the digital assistants universe and two those things were $399. Why would you spend almost 400 bucks on a home speaker that doesn’t do what the Echo does for half the price. So now that it’s 299, I guess maybe it has a better chance of-

Fred McClimans: No.

Olivier Blanchard: I was just trying to… Yeah I agree.

Daniel Newman: I don’t know if they could give them away. I really don’t. I don’t know because I mean you can get a $50 Alexa and those seem to-

Olivier Blanchard: I think 50999 seems like a good price.

Fred McClimans: And we’re to the point now where Apple has neglected it enough that Amazon has built its ecosystem.

Daniel Newman: They gave them too much runway. There’ll be one more bullet point in my soon to come MarketWatch article about innovation.

Olivier Blanchard: All right, so we got to keep moving. I’m the reason we’re late.

Daniel Newman: Yes you are.

Olivier Blanchard: But that’s okay. So it was a six, you know, [inaudible] in today’s fast six.

Fred McClimans: So we’ll do a real quick tech bite.

Olivier Blanchard: Yes. So the quick tech bite is actually, it’s so repetitive and we’ve done this tech bite so many times that we don’t really have to dwell on it. There was another Facebook related data breach this week. Actually, it wasn’t this week. It was just reported on this week and this time, more than 540 million records about Facebook users were apparently publicly exposed on the Amazon’s cloud computing service. A cybersecurity research firm, called UpGuard apparently discovered the problem. And to be fair, this one isn’t 100% on Facebook and it’s not on Amazon either. It’s on the third party Facebook app developers who improperly stored this data and made it’s that available to the public.

There was one especially I think called [inaudible] which was responsible for the biggest part of the leak. It exposed something like 140, 150 gigabytes of Facebook user data, including account names, details about comments and reactions to post, IDs. And one of the problems with this is that UpGuard claims that it alerted [inaudible] and Amazon, both of them about the breaches in January, but no action was taken until this week. So I’m not sure exactly who’s to blame, but as usual, Facebook is a hit with another data breach scandal. So, I guess it’s just another week in 2019.

Fred McClimans: Oliver. I agree. There’s a huge portion of blame that falls on that company, that the third party here, which, I will not pronounce, but please if you will, that company called has a huge amount of responsibility for this. But at the same time, if Amazon did know and they did not take effects quickly to counter that, that’s a ding on them. More importantly, I’m going to go right back to Facebook and corporate culture, corporate lack of responsibility that says even after we’ve been smashed around every day for the last two years because of things we did with Cambridge Analytica and things with other apps and developers out there, we’re still letting this stuff happen. The fact that Facebook owns that data or they have control of that data, that they’re giving it to other people and they are not assuming responsibility for that data moving forward out of there to me is just absurd, because they know it’s a known issue and the impact of this issue, user data, once it’s out there, it’s out there.

It’s not something you just say, hey, we’re really sorry, here’s $10 for your time. So Facebook has got to really be aggressive here or people will be really aggressive with Facebook.

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah. They’re not going to though it’s there. It’s obviously their business model. Basically they’re selling your data to whomever wants to buy it. And what they do with it afterwards is a whole separate thing. But Facebook is obviously not protecting our data because our data is Facebook’s actual products.

Fred McClimans: Right? So the conversation about AI and ethics, maybe we ought to start having one as well about social business and ethics and data and ethics. Because when we get into that conversation about AI, a lot of it deals with data.

Olivier Blanchard: 100% and again, thank you for segueing us into our next segment. That was perfect because our crystal ball this week, we’re circling back to that AI and ethics not because you just mentioned it, but just because it just seems natural. And so thank you. So my question is, with regards to AI as AI is going to increasingly become such an integral part of everything that we do and smart automation and making decisions around us, we are going to need ethics and bias kind of countermeasures and pushback. We have to have a way to frame this properly and put some training wheels on it.

And put it in send it in the right direction. It can’t be the wild west. It can be chaos like this. We talked about Google’s attempted at creating an ethics board for AI. We’ve talked about the possibility of AI ethicists becoming a new profession in the age of AI and human machine partnerships, plug for the book. But what do you guys think that ecosystem of AI ethics and AI kind of human control looks like in 10 years. Do you think it’s companies creating boards and safety safeguards internally? Do you think it’s legislation? Do you think it’s something else? Dan, you go first. How do you think we deal this 10 years from now when it starts to mature?

Daniel Newman: I firmly believe this is going to become a global issue, that’s going to have to be managed by bigger bodies like the G20, the United Nations. I really do not see a way that this can be done even at the country level because the global impact, right? The cloud does not have borders. Companies can access with the exception of China, where they may be restrict data from anywhere in the world. So if we’re not going to restrict where data is accessed and we’re going to keep our borders and data and transferring open, then processing and the way AI is going to be used is going to be basically unregulated unless the broader governing bodies, at least the most of the advanced countries around the world don’t come together and put some regulation around it. I think self-government as in what Google have tried and failed to do is a good start.

I think these companies should at least be talking about it and maybe providing some sort of baseline of what ethical use of AI is, but as this progresses and proliferates and it will get faster, it will proliferate faster in the near future as workloads and data is being processed, inference and training is expedited. What machines will be able to do? Oliver I think we’re actually writing a book about that. What machines will be able to do?

Olivier Blanchard: Yes, we are.

Daniel Newman: We completed a manuscript this week, so it’s coming. Human Machine. But the point is that the governance side of things is going to have to happen I think in 10 years it will, here’s my last caveat on this, because it’s supposed to be a fast response. They will mess it up bad and they will mess it up and it will take a lot of iteration, but I can’t see them messing it up any worse than the tax code here in the US so I mean, they’re going to mess it up, they are going to fix it.

There’s going to be mistakes, there’s going to be abuse and we’ll continue to reel it in. But I actually think it’s going to… maybe be one of the first things that causes some sort of requirement for global consensus. And concurrently this could also be an item that takes us to war and it’s as crazy as that sounds. This is control, data is the next oil you’ve heard CEO’s like Ginni Rometty of IBM get on stage and say that well oil causes wars too because there’s money and power at stake here. And so controlling the holy grail per se, of AI is going to drive interest in power. And we’re seeing it right now with the 5G struggle between China and the US this is just the start. But there is a significant tension around this. So I just made a really big thing.

First of all, I’m connecting 5G with potential human death and now I’m just proclaiming it once again that it might actually cause war. Dan Newman went on this particular episode.

Olivier Blanchard: I’m sensing an underlayer of anxiety.

Daniel Newman: I just got a lot of research to write tonight, so I got to get back to work. Can we finish this show up already, why I’m I still talking.

Olivier Blanchard: Let’s do it. Okay. Fred-

Fred McClimans: We don’t want to make you late for your info wars appointment. Well, so looking at this realistically-

Daniel Newman: Wait. That is that saying I wasn’t?

Fred McClimans: No, when we talk about this whole issue, how does ethics in AI, how do they play out? We can’t even come to a consensus on how we can identify bias in AI. We have a number of issues that we need to address here. And I think that the aspect of ethics and AI, it’s probably a subset. I mean, just like, we talk about machine learning, we talk about deep learning, all subsets of the larger AI. Ethics and AI, I think it’s a smaller set of the larger digital trust and digital ethics that we’re struggling with, with technology throughout our lives. It touches everything from how we allow a system to act on our behalf, potentially even impersonate us in conversations with others through Google Duplex systems and others all the way up to what’s the ethical way to increase productivity, safety, efficiency without destroying the employees that are doing those jobs today.

We have a difficult time just even dealing with the fact that when a factory closes down in a town and leaves business says, hey, we’re making the right move and everybody else is left behind says us? Here? Jobs? What? How do we deal with that? There are so many issues throughout our society that we need to address. I’m optimistic or perhaps even maybe a little hopeful that we can come to some set of structure and start to have these larger discussions that need to be had. The challenge there is, as Dan pointed out, these are not necessarily just ethical issues about how we want technology to influence our lives or how we want to influence technology in our lives. It comes down to economics. Oil? Yes. Oil is out there and you can stop the flow and you can cause a war.

Data? You can stop the flow and you can cause a war. These economic issues. I mean, we see the impact now in the US with trade wars with China and Mexico and Canada and parts of Europe. It’s an unfortunate situation that we’re in, but it desperately needs to be addressed. And I’ll be blunt, I don’t see any mechanism in place today to deal with that. It’s not the United Nations. Maybe it is the G20 groups coming together and trying to address it.

But even there, there’s just so much competitiveness that’s taking place. And, so much of a drive to control. I don’t see it playing out. So when you asked the question originally, what do we see? How does this end up? The first thing that came to mind was the scene from iRobot where you get that final conflict, humans and robots.

Olivier Blanchard: Well actually I love that everything you say segues into what I’m about to say. It’s perfect. We should do this more often. So no, for real because I was about to quote not just iRobot but Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics and I’ll get back to that in just 30 seconds, but I wanted to point out that actually there is already something in play and it has been out there since 2015. We just haven’t really heard about it.

But the United Nations actually has opened a center on artificial intelligence and robotics. It’s part of the… hold on, let me get this acronym right. The U-N-I-C-R-I in The Hague in the Netherlands and the UNICRI stands for the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. So there’s actually something in place, something like basically it’s like the beginning of the creation of international standards or AI ethics and one of the things that they’ve already looked at is, for instance, do we, is it acceptable? Is it legal to give a drone AI the power to decide whether or not it can kill a human being, right? Really basic things like that that then have more far ranging impact. And it always brings me back to Asimov and especially since so much of our technology today is inspired by Syfy.

So I don’t think it’s clever or necessarily super insightful to consider that Syfy is just Syfy and Realfy or real science is real science. I think they’re very much intertwined. And the three laws, or at least the first two of the three laws of robotics actually I think give us a pretty good guideline. A good roadmap to where we should probably try to go and they are this, rule number one, a robot or a machine or an AI may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. I think that’s a good basis. The second law is a robot or an AI or a machine must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law, which the first law being about not allowing humans to come to harm.

I think that’s a pretty good place to start. I think it’s a good aspiration. So what I think will happen is because the UN is already working on this and, I think you guys are right about the G20 a and all the Gs coming together and coming to some kind of agreement. I think NATO might have something like this. I mean there’s a lot of international organizations that are going to have to start addressing this. I think it’ll trickle down into governments wanting to participate in this and wanting to come up with either adopting features of this international or regional standardization process or coming up with their own versions of this just so they can feel like they have some kind of autonomy. So I think it’s coming and the question was projecting this 10 years into the future.

Right now we’re nowhere with this. We’re just kind of like stumbling in the dark. But I think it’s going to happen fast because it needs to happen fast. And if we can come up with, an entirely new generation of wireless technology like 5G after 4G in 10 years and these technological cycles happen usually in about 10 year segments. I think that 10 years from now we start to see a maturing ecosystem of AI ethicists being trained and being kind of required to work at companies that work with AI. And I think we seeing an international standard of guidelines, rules and laws governing the use of AI.

Fred McClimans: You’re right, there are initiatives underway and I know a number of individuals that I’ve spoken with that are living in this community or at least in this field. I think the challenge is look at how well non-nuclear percolation treaties have worked. I mean, I’m saying-

Olivier Blanchard: Actually, they’ve worked fairly well. We haven’t had a nuclear conflict.

Fred McClimans: It’s nuclear nonproliferation treaties. We haven’t, but that hasn’t stopped the spread of nuclear capabilities around the world. I think the real hope in my mind here is that we get to the point, we were talking earlier about the impact of technology on our behavior. We do change, we do adapt. We walk a little different. We look in different directions where we’re just physically doing things different because of technology.

And we’re also doing things different culturally because of technology. And it’s my hope that we’re close to that point where we have enough individuals that start to recognize this and push back against it a little bit and say, look, we are the generation coming up. We want to have a say in this. And there are certain things that we’re willing to accept and not willing to accept. And they start forcing that issue much as they have in the US on areas like gun control and climate change because this is desperately a conversation that we need to have. Every time I see a conversation like this, I’m drawn to it because the impact is so significant. And there’s such a great opportunity here to leverage these technologies in a positive way, or at least to minimize the risks associated with them. But it’s going to be a difficult struggle. But I’m glad that we’re talking about it and I’m hoping that others are as well.

Olivier Blanchard: Well, we should do a show on AI maybe next week.

Fred McClimans: Maybe next week.

Olivier Blanchard: Maybe next week. Okay. But for now, that’s all the time we have. So that does it for this week’s edition of FTP, the Futurum Tech Podcast. I really want to thank you guys because this was actually a really interesting show. Again, we could, the three of us around a table talking about technology can… this could last for hours and hours and I wouldn’t get bored. It goes by quickly. But to our listeners, I hope that you got something out of it. I hope that we’ve answered some of your questions about AI ethics and 5G. So thank you again for listening. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and catch us next week for another round of news and analysis about tech. Have a great week everybody.

There will be plenty of more tech topics and tech conversations right here on the FTP, Futurum Tech Podcast. Please be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes.  Join us, become part of our community. We would love to hear from you. Check us out at futurumresearch.com. We’ll see you later.

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About the Author

Olivier Blanchard has extensive experience managing product innovation, technology adoption, digital integration, and change management for industry leaders in the B2B, B2C, B2G sectors, and the IT channel. His passion is helping decision-makers and their organizations understand the many risks and opportunities of technology-driven disruption, and leverage innovation to build stronger, better, more competitive companies.  Read Full Bio.