Just send them all to Mullumbimby

Take a look around you right now.

Good chance you’re reading this at home. Most people are still somewhat cautious about exiting the home into the public again. Some have trotted off to work again, but a large swathe of people are still at home.

So, have a look around. Note all of the devices, gadgets, things that require electricity. My guess is it’s loads.

When I look around my study right now as I write this I have at least three power boards plugged into the wall sockets, representing at least 18 different options for power supply, ad a dozen of them are currently in use.

That’s not counting the light above my head either.

Across the wider house, well I’m not going to bother counting. It’s a lot.

My house may be a little more power hungry than the average one. And I’d think so it should be. After all, it’s my job to be on top of all the latest technology breakthroughs shaping our world. You’d expect my place to be “gadget heavy”.

But the point here is that electricity is the lifeblood of the modern world.

Without it, there is no Netflix. There is no Zoom. There is no smartphone, smart home, Alexa, Portal, Google, Tesla. There is no TV. There is no internet.

Electricity is everything.

But only about 140 years ago, it was nothing. In fact, it was terrifying, scary, wild and dangerous.

It was change.

Change is crucial for prosperity

It doesn’t take too much to find examples of fear from the turn of the 20th century about the electric revolution.

In a New Hampshire article from 1900,

[Electricity] promises, detractors fear, to strike at the very sociability of our community. People who would normally seek out each other’s company, may now speak over a wire, and so far, with minimal fidelity.

It continues,

Electricity is the new Jezebel, seducing our young men into the arms of immorality.


Despite the vaunted medical benefits of electrotherapy, can we be assured of its true safety? The untapped electrical fluid leaking from these outlets and wires, we are told, may cause serious bodily damage and – with prolonged exposure – possibly death.

Scary stuff, right?

Of course electricity wasn’t the only major technological development in the last 140 years. Like I say above, you can also look at the telephone, television, the internet and more as some prime examples of radical change and the fear they created just because they were new.

In 1933 The Atlantic reported about the telephone,

[Telephones] weren’t human, they popped or exploded… [People] were afraid that if they stood near one in a thunderstorm they might get hit by lightning. Even if there wasn’t any storm, the electric wiring might give them a shock. When they saw a telephone in some hotel or office, they stood away from it or picked it up gingerly.

And in more recent times the falsities around the dangers of cellular and WiFi. Modern communications emit what’s known as electromagnetic field radiation (EMF).

But it’s also widely accepted that it is so weak that is does absolutely no damage to human cells. Still the fanatics and conspiracy theorists are about which according to Mashable,

You can find the hashtag #EMFprotection — which refers to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation — on nearly 35,000 Instagram posts, many warning of the cancer risks of cellphones and WiFi routers. Many share conspiracy theories involving government and corporate cover-ups.

What many of these “believers” happily skip over is something like sunlight will do damage to your cells. And that sunlight can lead to cancer, whereas WiFi cannot.

But like I mentioned to you yesterday, you can’t reason with crazy.

And the most recent iteration of the misplaced and misguided fear is around 5G communications. And while there’s absolutely not a shred of evidence to suggest any fear about 5G is warranted, it’s still created an element of fear in places you’d least expect.

For example Byron Shire Council in Australia has rejected the approval of 5G towers being erected in the shire due to concerns about elevated levels of electromagnetic activity.

Now to be fair, Byron Shire is a region in Australia where you’re more than likely to find a bunch of QAnon followers. Where the town of Mullumbimby is the “hippie town” that’s the “anti-vaxxer capital of Australia”.

So rejecting 5G towers isn’t unexpected. But it shows the power of false information and the force of social pressure.

The facts are that many assumptions by the fanatical conspiracy theorists about 5G are simply wrong. But what their efforts do is signal to us that 5G has the power to be as significant to global progress as electricity, the telephone, television or WiFi has been.

When you realise that, then you start to really see the opportunity that’s knocking at the door, right now.

Changing the entire supply chain

Speed and volume. These are two of the critical factors that 5G will enable in new communications.

And there’s a good reason why this is so important.

Yesterday I explained how I think there’s the possibility of intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe. That’s because the universe is so huge, it’s actually quite the thought exercise to even think about how big infinite can be…

Nonetheless, we’re talking hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars, planets and the potential for life.

And that was just the observable universe. Well what if the observable universe existed on Earth? Sounds a bit bonkers right? A bit like the crew up in Mullumbimby.

But the observable universe does exist on Earth. Just not as you might think.

This year it’s estimated that there will be more than 40 times more bytes of data on Earth than there are stars in the observable universe.

Our Earthly universe is the expanse of data that we create, transfer, store and consume every single minute of every single day for what I would expect to be for eternity.

To give you a bit of an idea as to the volume of data that really is think about this…

Every minute of every day,

  • YouTube users watch 4.5 million videos
  • 188 million emails are sent
  • Twitch viewers watch 1 million videos
  • Google does 4.5 million searches
  • In the US, internet users access 4.5 million gigabytes of data.

That’s all in just one minute.

Our world is all about data creation, consumption and storage. And it’s this data that helps propel economic development forward.

Do you think it’s any coincidence that the biggest stockmarket winners on markets around the world this year have been tech companies? And when you look at a company like Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft, what really drives their growth and capabilities?

Of course it’s a combination of factors, but they’re all data driven. They have the capacity to access and analyse and use data on a scale that makes them each their own data universe in the great expanse.

5G technology gives everyone the ability to create, share, access, consume and use data faster and in greater volumes than ever before. It allows for faster more complex and useful data flow from machine to machine. We call that M2M communications.

This has potential payback not just in technology-focused opportunities but entire supply chains. If you can use 5G technology to create greater insight and efficiency in an industry for even just a few per cent, then you’re talking about millions, maybe billions… long term maybe trillions… in improved efficiencies, better insight and deliver of goods and services to users.

These will help to drive economic growth and development, ultimately leading to rising living standards. This is the cycle that every new massive leg-up in networks and communications technology brings.

And it means that we could see an explosion in companies that are able to really capitalise on the 5G eruption across global markets.

For me the outcome here is inevitable. The crazies have their day in the sun now while things are new, change is present and there’s uncertainty. But as this plays out in the next year or two, 5G will become ubiquitous and present an immense opportunity to those who see the truth and don’t buy into the lies.


Sam Volkering
Editor, Southbank Investment Research

Category: Energy

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