The promise of 5G
Zou Yue
Editor's note: This year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, scheduled for March 26-29 in Boao, a coastal town in Hainan, is themed by "Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development." ZOOM with Zou Yue, a video series focusing on the latest and core topics on this year's BFA, will share with you some insights.
In a world where everything talks, we know it is big, we just don't know how big it will be. This is the moment of 5G, super-fast communication.
To understand the future, let us go back to the beginning. Innovations have been changing the way we live and work. In the late 1800s, a part of the workforce was replaced by electricity, which promoted the large-scale development of public utilities. Invented in the 1970s, the internet soon connected the world with cables and satellites; the new services have turned the world into a global village.
5G is the new electricity of our time; only that will empower us to do more faster, deeper and cheaper.  But that is not all; it could lead to revolutions and evolutions we may not be able to imagine in 2019.
5G becoming the nervous system of a brave new world is exciting and challenging at the same time.

The controversy

The challenge is not about users, but builders. One particular telecom company has the best technology and service in the world, but it has a problem. It is a Chinese company. And America rejects the idea of a world running on Chinese infrastructure even though it does not offer a better alternative.
But I think it is only a matter of time. When Microsoft launched Windows in the 1980s, and Apple sold the first iPhone in 2007, nobody took them seriously. Time will tell.

The future

5G will connect the world even tighter and could be a gamechanger for communication, manufacturing, healthcare and even energy.
Like any new technologies from fire to Facebook, from internal combustion to the Internet, there are no guarantees of success, and there are many debates about risks. Regulating is essential, but we should not give up a choice for the sake of giving up, because usually, we have more to fear from human myopia than technological utopia.
In 2019, let us hope 5G will be a bridge that connects us, not a split that divides us.
Script: Zou Yue
Video photographer: Wang Jigang, An Kun
Animation: Ma Zhiyuan
Cover photo: Liu Shaozhen
Video and design: Li Linxi, Wang Kailin, Xu Xiaotong, Yang Chuchu, You Jia
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