6G brings hype to the next level. Or the PREVIOUS one


Deja-vu is strong with these mobile networks.

Forty years ago, we were laughing at a Pioneer commercial full of some sort of zombies, living with screen helmets glued to their skulls:

6G brings hype to the next level. Or the PREVIOUS one /img/pioneer-orig.jpg

This year, 5G mobile networks still struggle to justify their real necessity, and general sense, but (just for that reason?) many technologists and researchers have already “moved their focus onto the next generation of wireless technology”: the 6G networks through which an Internet of Senses will “deliver multisensory experiences”.

The Internet of Senses is presented as a form of teleportation. After seeing and hearing, we need to “find a way to transmit the other three senses. If you put this together with 3D video, we’re effectively creating a kind of teleportation”.

Beam us up, 6G Scotty!

6G brings hype to the next level. Or the PREVIOUS one /img/beam-me-up-scotty.jpg
What FOR?

Concretely useful, justifiable use cases for this teleportation include:

  • telemedicine, to monitor patients and provide care remotely (that is, the same thing that 5G should deliver)
  • “truly lag-free” virtual business meetings (but doesn’t lag-free only mean “no delay”, high broadband, without need for smell, or 3D video?)

Then, unsurprisingly, there are lots of talks “around things like more immersive entertainment or online shopping experiences.”

There ARE “challenges ahead”

ITPro duly notes that “There’s still a long way to go for the Internet of Senses to become reality, and many challenges to overcome. Transmitting and receiving all our senses will require extensive bandwidth and high accuracy synchronisation between the different data flows. Low latency levels of approximately 10ms will also be needed in order for natural interactions, such as shaking hands, to be able to happen in real time.”

What is NOT new in this picture?

My first, instinctive thoughts to discourses like this is “So, 6G is about not fixing the world, just hiding it with illusions, right?”. As in “Let’s really figure out if an Internet of Senses *makes** real sense only after consuming tons of resources to build it”?

Yes, I am weird that way. But never mind me, and let’s move on:

6G brings hype to the next level. Or the PREVIOUS one /img/used-car-salesman.jpg

My second thought about that piece is how much of it feels deja-vu, or more exactly like recycled sale pitches. Like things one would say to sell the next version of his product, if all he had to do it were the same brochures, slogans and features (bandwidth, synchronisation, low latency”) written for the current one, that is full of bugs and behind schedule. I may be wrong, but don’t be surprised if I still struggle to see 6G, like 5G for that matter, as a priority, or something exciting.

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