Big Tech has some wacky ideas about what to do once 6G becomes a thing
Whitepapers can read like science fiction.
Remember all the promises we heard about how 5G was going to change everything? We'd have tiny cell towers on every street corner and insane internet speeds so we could do... something... much faster than ever before! And the best Android phones would all be blazing fast to make our lives better.
Yeah. So far things haven't played out exactly as promised, but 5G is becoming the more robust (and yes, faster) way to communicate, and we need it now more than ever since so many people have a smartphone. But now, we already get to start hearing about 6G!
Enough kidding around. To be fair, 5G might not be the superhero-style upgrade companies tried to convince us it would be, but it is a really big improvement in many ways, from faster speeds on the best Android phones and beyond. Most importantly, it has room to grow further. We'll all see those hyper speeds we wanted eventually.
When it comes to 6G though, we're still in the crazy idea phase where tech companies seem to be trying to outdo each other with proposals that will never see the light of day but are certainly worth talking about.
If you thought the Metaverse was a silly idea, you'll love these two absolutely insane ideas from tech companies.
Ericsson is a name you probably know if you're interested in anything broadband or cellular. The company was one of the pioneers of wireless technology and it is still around and contributing to the internet we use every day in a major way.
The company also has some grand ideas about what 6G can bring. Could bring? Won't really bring, probably, but hey it's fun to talk about. I present what I want to call: Smellovision.
It's called the Internet of Senses and the idea is that new tech combined with high-speed communication can allow you to not only see and hear digital experiences, but smell them, taste them, touch them, and even use your mind to control them.
Imagine putting on your Meta Quest 6 and smelling the inside of a sweaty VR chat room or being able to taste the virtual fruit platter on the virtual table. Then when it's time to go, you simply use your mind to call for a driverless Uber and head back to your apartment.
Ericsson wants us to visualize a virtual beach with virtual wind on our faces, but come on, we all know my vision of the Internet of Senses is probably more likely.
A different kind of implant
NGMN, a trade group made up of companies like Google, Apple, Intel, and Qualcomm takes things a step further when it comes to what 6G could bring.
The group's use case study includes two very important bullet points labeled "Enhanced Human Communication" and "Enhanced Machine Communication" and yes, you're probably getting the picture already.
6G will not only bring along things like the next step in networking and new services that can take advantage of faster speeds and more bandwidth, but it will also allow smart machines to control other smart machines and people to directly control smart machines.
I don't know what to think about the idea of me having telecom implants that allow me to control my robot vacuum using only my thoughts and prayers, but I know that I don't think it's likely to happen while any of us are alive.
Forget microchips in your COVID vaccination, this here is the real deal. It's also probably the first step to killbots that will eventually take over the world. As Kyle Reese says in The Terminator, “Cyborgs don’t feel pain. I do. Don’t do that again.”
Just R&D Things
It's fun to talk about the crazy ass things companies with billions of free dollars put out there. When 6G arrives we'll hear more and more of them.
What we need to remember is that there are ideas, then there are realities. Google and Apple aren't really planning on designing microchip implants that let you control robots any time soon and even if they were, neither company would let some trade group put the idea on the internet. Those kinds of secrets have to stay in a hidden volcanic island lair somewhere until they are ready.
What these kinds of things do show is that tech companies are always looking for ideas that will stick, work, and sell. You may not want to smell virtual smells while using a Quest 2, but the ability to transmit a more realistic scene is something fans of the tech will love, and a faster more robust network would allow it.
Here's to the future, and let's all hope we can outrun the killbots.
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Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.