The Truth About 5G ft. MKBHD

by birtanpublished on August 4, 2020

– As five G technology begins to get implemented all around the world, there's a lot of confusion and concern over what it is, how it works, and if it's even safe So today we're gonna go over all aspects of five G We have our friend and tech expert MKBHD who's gonna explain why people are so excited

About this technology And then we're gonna take the science angle about how it actually works, what it does to your body and most importantly, what the science says on whether or not it's safe – We have looked at hundreds of scientific papers

And journals in order to decipher the truth about five G and yes, we will be jumping into some of the conspiracy theories and claims, so stick around for the end of the video when we do that 'cause they are pretty wild But first, we're gonna throw it to our friend, MKBHD,

To tell us about what's going on with five G tech right now – Hey, what's up guys? I'm MKBHD here So five G technology or the fifth generation of these data networks has been getting a lot of hype and it's been talked about a lot

And it's been slowly rolled out over the past year or two, and getting insane speeds on some phones So the wavelengths used for five G technologies can be split into three different sections There is low-band five G, which is frequencies below about one gigahertz

Then there is what we call mid-band five G, which is slight above that, which is faster but travels a shorter distance And then there's millimeter wave, which is talked about the most, which can give you the fastest speeds

And uses the highest frequencies but travels the shortest distance And so with five G now we're talking about download speeds of anywhere from 50 megabytes per second, all the way up to those crazy millimeter wave speeds you might have seen of like two gigabytes per second,

Which is insane, I mean, that's we're talking like a whole TV show season downloads in seconds, so download speeds are nice but this five G tech will be useful for far more than just your phone So having these high end speeds

And low latency in the future will be essential for things like fleets of driverless cars all driving as a swarm and all talking, communicating with each other to never crash, all the way to things like a robot and a surgeon in two different states

But that surgery being performed remotely in real time So I had the chance to use some early five G, it was millimeter wave, and it was really impressive but you could tell it has a long way to go before it can be used and rolled out to the world For starters, it doesn't travel very far

And it's very easily blocked by obstacles, that stuff I talked about in my video So it would take a lot of nodes and a lot of antennas just to cover a small area like a town, let alone a country or the entire globe, and that would be expensive and time consuming

But even the low to mid-band five G can still be impressive in terms of improvement in speed So there's a lot going on but it is a pretty exciting future of five G if I say so myself, but with that comes a lot of fears and concerns

About the potential effects of these new frequencies on our biology and on our health So for that, I'll throw it back to Greg and Mitch to talk through the science of it all – So how does five G work? In order to fully understand five G

We actually have to learn about one of my favorite things, which is the electromagnetic spectrum And this is a spectrum of radiation So yes, we will be talking today about radiation So it does sound scary, but it's important that we know that radiation

Is just the transmission of energy through waves or particles On the left of the spectrum we have really long wavelengths, some as long as thousands of kilometers and as we move to the right, they get shorter and shorter to even a fraction of the size of an atomic nucleus

Now a wavelength size is measured from peak to peak, or trough to trough Basically, the distance over which the wave shape repeats or the size of this literal tattoo on my arm because yes, I do love the electromagnetic spectrum As the wavelengths become shorter and shorter,

They have higher frequencies and energy Frequency describes the number of waves that pass a fixed place in a given amount of time, and is usually measured in hertz each set So a low frequency will fit less wavelengths and a high frequency more

– Take gamma rays, for example, which can be 10 to the power of minus 12 meters, which is 0000000000001 meters I hope I got the right amount of zeros And they're generated by radioactive atoms and nuclear explosions

And these gamma rays along with X-rays and higher energy UV radiation can damage DNA and destroy cells, also known as being ionizing Yeah, that's scary As we move back to the left, the wavelengths get longer and have less and less energy

And are no longer ionizing This part of the spectrum is the wavelength size that the cells in your eyes evolved to see, otherwise known as visible light Every single wavelength your eyes pick up fall within 400 to 700 nanometers

If we keep moving left, we go through microwaves and radio waves, which are also called radio frequency radiation This low energy, low frequency radiation has been used in technology like radios since the late 1800s,

But it wasn't until the 1980s that the first generation of cellular technology or one G began – This next chart is from NASA, ever heard of her? She's famous and it breaks down all the generations of cellular technology frequencies

One G cellular attack, we're talking in the 1980s, used 150 megahertz aka UHF, ultra high frequency waves Two G was using around 450 megahertz, more ultra high frequency waves Three G was allocated frequencies between 450 megahertz all the way up to three gigahertz

This was in the spectrum known as super high frequencies Four G was allocated similar frequencies to three G but was taking advantage of some of those higher frequencies which takes us now to five G, which is allocated between 600 megahertz to as high as between 38 to 90 gigahertz

So it is also using a super high frequency section but for the first time in cellular network technology, it's moved into the extra high frequency section with millimeter wavelength technology leaving the radio wave section in this graph and chart that we saw earlier

To the section of now microwaves Of course, none of these words help make any of this sounds, radiation, super high frequencies, extra high frequencies, microwaves Thankfully, the electromagnetic spectrum

Is regulated to keep us all healthy An important regulating body in all of this is the International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, which is essentially a conglomeration of epidemiologists, biologists and physicists

And people who understand this technology very deeply, who take all the most up-to-date science and make sure they understand and regulate what this radiation is doing to all of us It's also important to note that this regulating body isn't connected to any one government

Or a country or commercial corporation – Which leads to the big question, how do five G waves affect us? We know that five G frequencies are not ionizing radiation, but should we be worried about them impacting our body in other ways?

After decades of research on health effects, the ICNIRP found the only substantiated effect of radio frequency exposure is heating of exposed tissue These wavelengths can cause vibration of charged or polar molecules inside of us, which creates friction and thus heat

But the higher the frequency, the lower the penetrative depth in the body, which might seem a little unnerving and I think it's fair to have concern because technically there is a thermal threshold that if we pass can cause adverse health effects on us

But that's why all these regulating bodies are there to make sure that our exposure never goes over that threshold In fact, acute and long term effects of radio frequency exposure below the thermal threshold have been studied extensively

Without demonstrating adverse health effects Research has even been done on headaches, sleep quality, cognitive function, etc, and has shown no issues One other thing that was found was a small effect on brain activity when measured by EEGs, but the biological implication of what that means

Is pretty small and they haven't actually seen any negative effects associated to this brain activity – So why do some people say that five G can cause cancer? There are a few studies that often get quoted And one, lab rats and mice

Were exposed to radio frequency energy used in cell phones for nine hours a day starting before birth and for two years after, and found an increased risk of some types of tumors in the male rats But the male rats exposed to the radio frequency radiation

Actually ended up living longer than the other rats, and the female rats and all of mice in the experiment didn't have an increase in tumors at all Some other epidemiological studies have found a small increase in some brain tumors in people who are heavy users of cell phones,

But it was actually found that there were reporting biases and weaknesses in these studies Also it's important to remember that these studies are on cellphone use So they're actually talking about three G, four G and five G frequencies

The consensus among scientists is that five G technology will not cause cancer but it is very confusing to figure out this information when you are looking online For example, even this article in "Scientific American" would make you worried that cell phones

And five G could cause cancer even though the studies are not corroborated and some of it's claims are just opposite of what the study actually says This happens a lot with scientific information that gets cherry-picked to mislead people

Read "Scientific American" a week later and you get most of the prior articles information debunked, but both of these articles are from seemingly scientifically accurate sources So it can be very confusing, no shade, I guess, to "Scientific American"

At the end of the day what it comes down to is scientists looking at large trials with large sample sizes and controlling variables One very large 13 countrywide study found that there was no causal relationship between brain tumors and cell phone use

And another really great Danish study, large study, I sound like Trump right now, great, huge and large study (laughs) also found that there was no link – Okay, so let's talk about the conspiracies First, we'll address the elephant in the room,

The new online theory that five G causes coronavirus So this one is relatively easy to debunk, five G technology cannot break chemical bonds which is a common claim that conspiracy theorists use On top of the fact that viruses are visible we can literally see that they physically exist,

We can study them, we can look at their literal DNA So ultimately, just know that five G does not cause coronavirus – Is five G bad for birds? This study is quoted often to explain how the electromagnetic noise of five G

Can disrupt the migration of birds But these researchers actually found that it is longer wavelengths, more like similar to AM radio type wavelengths that were actually affecting migrating birds And they have actually come out and tried to speak openly,

Trying to explain that their research is getting cherry-picked to try and say something about five G that they never said – There's the new British 20 pound note show coronavirus and five G

These conspiracy theories have been popping up stating that the 20 pound note has a five G tower giving off radiation and the coronavirus is above This is actually an image of the Margate Lighthouse and behind it is the new Turner Contemporary art gallery The purple foil patch is based on the staircase

At the Tate Modern With now off the science territory though, so let's get back on track, if you are interested in conspiracy theories and the science behind why they work so well, we actually have a video we made all about that,

We'll link it in the description So to recap, one, five G technology uses wavelengths within the super high and extra high frequency spectrum Two, these fall into the category of non-ionizing radiation, meaning they can't damage DNA or destroy cells Three, five G does have the capacity to heat-exposed tissue,

But due to regulation will remain below the threshold known to cause any damage Four, the current scientific consensus is that five G does not show adverse impacts on health, like headaches, sleep, cognitive function or cancer And five, five G has nothing to do with coronavirus,

– The newly published guidelines about regulating five G, I'm gonna link in the description below so that you can read them yourself Now this doesn't mean that we shouldn't be skeptical of technological advances I mean, honestly we did all this research

And made this video because we were skeptical ourselves I do think it is important that we continue to regulate and understand how all of these technologies that are gonna be used around us work But at the end of the day we also need to listen to science and to listen to the scientific consensus

In order to guide our knowledge, – We talked more about five G and conspiracy theories in our newest podcast with a Harvard professor who studies disinformation campaigns and conspiracies, so definitely click that and check it out – It's fascinating,

It's really a good way to understand how these conspiracy theories are spreading But if you haven't subscribed, make sure you've done that, right? What else can they use? Subscribe to our email thread

– Yeah we've got a mailing list, yeah This 30-year old calls it an email thread (laughs) But otherwise, thank you for watching, like it, subscribe, do all the things if you like science videos and we'll see you next time – (mumbles) Okay thanks

(laughs)

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