Quiet Desperation

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"5G is not a technology. It is a Revolution" ! So, says FCC Chairman Wheeler. However there is no need for discouragement or exaggerated anxiety. Alas Tom is referring to "The Forth Industrial Revolution" as proscribed by Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum. Yep - two of those Globalization Experts. Now so despised and patronized by the UK patrician class, formed from the "elite" of the Oxford/LSE PPE Movement, currently engage in their stiff upper-lip,"Up the Khyber" posturing on the world stage. Or, as English Anti-Establishment Rock Band, Pink Floyd observed, "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way" just "Waiting for someone or something to show you the way."  Well, their "Time" is up and their bluff is being called by the Global Financial Markets. 

 

Globalization is merely a euphemism for the advancement of Science and Technology. So true! Though with people it always, always come down to Education and Leadership.

I take no satisfaction in saying I told you so, but what comes next? And more importantly should I warn them? Would they listen? For the truth is very hard for people to take, especially those others who are fearful or have have lost hope in the integrity of institutions. Hence why real Sovereignty involves activate participation and partnership between the leaders and the followers. Disconnects are problematic. Consequently these S&T aspects are naturally outwith the ken and sovereignty of the uninterested and uninformed mass of the population fed on a diet of media gruel. Served up in order to benefit the PPE Brigade and supporting vested interests. But surely this is all okay provided they don't then make a fuss about it afterwards? Shall they complain over the new government backsliding on Leveson? Consider also the cultural lesson contained in Les Miserables' "Do you hear the People sing"  and understand why The English are not The French.

Indeed, S&T produces in these parties a state of confusion; retained indifferently to their philosophies. Consequently have you noticed how they still express diverse and self-contradictory opinions about S&T while clinging to the benefits of their smartphones and foreign travel? Pound shops even?  

S&T at heart is neutral in human terms. Both can be used for ill or good. Used by those who seek to benefit themselves and to disadvantage others as they don't believe in a common good. One problematic issue at the heart of this Forth Revolution is the unnecessary exploitation of generational disconnects by and through communication technologies. These generational disconnects have always been there, the problematic issue is that they have become more pronounced through lack of Digital Immersion. [Here I am not only referring to the Digital Disconnect which Broadband access issues exacerbates the human drama.]     

One open question thus is whether the "someone"  to be their saviour is PM May? But is she is being insincere and deceitful with them? Shall she break their cricket bat and blame it on someone else? She is a politician after all! As to Philip Hammond saying that "no one voted to be poorer, or less secure"? Well, actually they did! For that is exactly what the Leave Campaign led them to believe: that they would be slightly poorer but free. Did not every economic forecaster's (heavily caveat-ed) projections outline just how life outside the EU would impact to various degrees leaving the UK poorer than if the UK remained? Perhaps the Chancellor could produce one forecast to the contrary for us?

Consider again that I have previously written that the greatest strength of Democracy is that the majority have the right to be wrong, but that they must then bear the responsibility and accountability for the consequences and not vest their anger or repress their guilt and frustration. Even though they themselves were not liable for the deceptions perpretrated upon them. So, how can all these good people be brought into the light? Perhaps only by accepting that they were decieved! Alas how does one recognise Deceiving Spirits? Could Abraham Lincon possibly enlighten us?


The Vision of Tom Wheeler and Klaus Schawb

I will come back to Lincon another time as I will now indulge you with an in-depth look at the rational judgements of these two Globalisation leaders on the 5G Revolution. The lesson I am hoping to call to attention, is that as scientists and engineers we can (if we so desire) as doers, not commentators, turn our hand to these matters, whereas the PPE Brigade cannot get their head arround S&T.

Education, eh! I say this because there are various institutes dedicated to the public understanding of S&T and also various institutes dedicated to the public understanding of politics, but where are the Think Tanks whose ethos is to enlighten PPE educated politicians about S&T? Hence their patronising of us, is merely defensive behaviour which should actually be understood as such and pitied. This S&T disconnect is one modern fault line which runs through Parliament. Search out the British scientists and engineers pre-specialisation and you shall see that Simone Weil was correct.

Let us begin with Klaus Schwab, and consider some of his observations which I have extracted from his seminal "Foreign Affairs" article: "Navigating the Next Industrial Revoluttion":- 

"We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society...............

There are three reasons why today's transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country...........And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance..........

The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing...............

Engineers, designers, and architects are combining computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the buildings we inhabit.......

In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth......However, I am convinced of one thing-that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production. This will give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into "low-skill/lowpay" and "high-skill/high-pay" segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions.......

In addition to being a key economic concern, inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The largest beneficiaries of innovation tend to be the providers of intellectual and physical capital-the innovators, shareholders, and investors-which explains the rising gap in wealth between those dependent on capital versus labor. Technology is therefore one of the main reasons why incomes have stagnated, or even decreased, for a majority of the population in high-income countries: the demand for highly skilled workers has increased while the demand for workers with less education and lower skills has decreased.

The result is a job market with a strong demand at the high and low ends, but a hollowing out of the middle. This helps explain why so many workers are disillusioned and fearful that their own real incomes and those of their children will continue to stagnate. It also helps explain why middle classes around the world are increasingly experiencing a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction and unfairness. A winner-takes-all economy that offers only limited access to the middle class is a recipe for democratic malaise and dereliction.........

Discontent can also be fueled by the pervasiveness of digital technologies and the dynamics of information sharing typified by social media. More than 30 percent of the global population now uses social media platforms to connect, learn, and share information. In an ideal world, these interactions would provide an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding and cohesion. However, they can also create and propagate unrealistic expectations as to what constitutes success for an individual or a group, as well as offer opportunities for extreme ideas and ideologies to spread."


 

Sounds familiar? Any disenting voices? Note the Synthetic Biology insertion and what Klaus is saying about financial capital. The above narrative was just Klaus beginning his Shaping of the Battlefield scenario! Fortunately for us, Klaus also believes in miricles. Thus I shall pick up on how Klaus's ideas on technology impacts on Business, Government and Peoples in forcoming articles. However, Klaus's views do need to be sanity checked against the views of a two other Globalisation Experts: a certain Eric Schmidt and one Jared Cohen as propounded in their book "The New Digital Age: reshaping the future of peoples, nations and business"  previously called to you attention. One serious issue all identify being played out is whether the Fourth Industral Revolution is an exestential threat to National Goverments? All political experts dwell in the past, whereas visionaries look to the future.

Now let us once again seek the wise counsil of the other visionary Tom Wheeler, who used his annual address to the US CTIA to expound on his revolutionary views on 5G. As usual I would recomend all readers absorb his speech in full. However for brevity, I have tried to condense Tom's view's here as they expresses matters better than I could hope too for giving shape to where the Americans are heading. Hopefully Tom is setting the canvas and strategic parameters for us to assess the Draft Digital Economy Bill, now winging it's way through Parliament, against. 

Tom said: "Until mobile communications, the network was in control, commanding the user to come to the network. You could only enjoy the network on its terms, which shaped the patterns of economic activity.......Thanks to the Internet's open design, which is protected by FCC rules, U.S. entrepreneurs can offer their ideas on this platform without having to ask anyone's permission ......Let's move from the more high-level to more 5G-specific strategies........

There are three keys for what the Commission can do to help unlock the 5G opportunity: 1) ensuring ample availability of spectrum to a range of competitors; 2) taking all steps to foster competitive provision of infrastructure; and 3) removing unnecessary hurdles to siting. In all these areas, the FCC has activities underway. Yet, let's be realistic, there is more to be done if 5G is to realize its promise........And, of course, this summer, the FCC approved an order making the U.S. the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications. And in order to give this industry the opportunity to lead the world in 5G, we did it in record time-only nine months from proposal to final decision.......

In all three of these allocations, the Commission sticks to a proven formula: Lead the world in spectrum availability, encourage and protect innovation-driving competition, and stay out of the way of technological development and the details of implementation.......It is also necessary to explain that the nature of 5G technology doesn't just mean more antenna sites, it also means that without such sites the benefits of 5G may be sharply diminished. In the pre-5G world, fending off sites from the immediate neighborhood didn't necessarily mean sacrificing the advantages of obtaining service from a distant cell site. With the anticipated 5G architecture, that would appear to be less feasible, perhaps much less feasible........

Furthermore, the nature of the technology makes the review and approval by community siting authorities, and the associated costs and fees, all the more critical. There are just over 200,000 cell towers in the U.S., but there may be millions of small cell sites in the 5G future. If siting for a small cell takes as long and costs as much as siting for a cell tower, few communities will ever have the benefits of 5G. We recognize that this is a major concern and are committed to working to lessen these burdens and costs to ensure that 5G is available nationwide, while respecting the vital role that the communities themselves play in the siting process......

I've cited spectrum, infrastructure, and siting as the three keys to 5G, but there are others important issues that warrant mentioning..... Next-generation networks must be secure, and the Commission is engaged with industry to make sure cybersecurity is addressed during the design phase for the entire 5G ecosystem, including devices........

Privacy is another important topic. A lot of the value of 5G will come from the exploitation of Big Data, so it's imperative that carriers have privacy policies that enable customers to understand and control how their personal information is being used."

Note the clarity of Tom's three strategic regulation framework objectives and the realisation of the evolving people context we all constantly need to address and not leave behind or isolate.


The Shifting of the Global Financial Tectonic Plates

What is the foremost strategic disruption that 5G shall enable? Simple answer: it involves a change from interest rate based payment model systems to fee based payment model systems.  Witness some of this disruption being played out in 4G Fintech systems, especially in Africa and Asia. But what are the consequences for Government Bonds, mortgages and pensions? Economic experts eh!Elsewhere shall 5G enabled autonomous vehicles ensure that the global insurance industry disruption is our stater casualty here with the Americans having again taken the lead in publishing a 15 point assessment as they begin the regulatory evolution from a voluntary to mandatory framework via their National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. [Look to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Perhaps!]    

Staying on the foresight front, none of the Referendum forecast's, which I read, incorporated the scenario of the Chinese Renmimbi becoming an IMF Reserve Currency alongside the Dollar, Euro, Sterling and the Yen after the 30th September (or Sterling being saved by an Algorithm!). Why ever not? The Asian financial foreign exchange markets are about to be put even further through the wringer. For China just announced, beginning in January, it shall start converting $1tn from their $3tn plus foreign currency reserve holdings. Is this strategic tactic a death sentence for the Pound (or Yen) as a reserve currency once a glut of Sterling begins to swirl about? Just how much foreign currency reserves does the BoE hold to defend the Pound? How shall this event impact global supply chain financing? Come the glut, shall the QE Policy, to address a self-inflicted credit deficit, exit their toolbox or be a saviour? For future bench-marking, the total UK Asset Base estimates varies is of the order of 6tn pounds whereas the Computerized Trading in Global Hedge Funds amounts to a mere $880bn.  

But this course of events should not be confused with the subliminal Global Digital Single Currency Agenda which shall have to be contested later. But not by the PPE Brigade. Sovereignty, eh?! No wonder the Japanese are hopping mad with the UK Government naively playing into speculators hands. Or perhaps a Yen/Sterling stabilization mechanism is on the horizon? Factor in that the most prominent US trade organization submission has informed the UK Government that $700bn of FDI in the UK is at risk. Shall the pretense of Sovereign Immunity prevent them from seeking compensation and removal expenses? Ah these American's; they are so litigious! Just consider the friction with the EU Commission over double taxing their foreign profit holdings? But as these holdings are to begin being repatriated next year, how many Dollars shall flee The City post the US Inauguration?  

Alas shall Sterling eventually even be forced towards the security of the ESM and the Euro? Don't tell the JMB but this later piece of global financial speculation is contingent on the outcome of the forth coming contest between the Trans Pacific Partnership (excluding China) encompassing over 40% of world trade and the China led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (excluding the US). Only one trade pact is implementable here before moving on with the TTIP.  So, perhaps PM May is being disingenuous and hoping events mean she never has to trigger Article 50? CETA, eh?!


 

Progress Towards A Global Digital Market?

Chancellor Hammond in his Party Speech contrarily also said:"Yes to a Europe that champions and extends the Single Market".  Hammond, of course, means here the "Digital Single Market" . Hammond furthermore said  ""Never, ever" to a European Army". I see! Note the Chancellors oblique reference here to "Ever Closer Union" . Simple question Chancellor: "Once you leave the EU, before the DSM arrives in two years, how are you going to stop them getting together without you"?  Thus could Hammond's statements be contingent on PM May and the JMB being willing to go "to war" to stop them as Cameron warned? If so, Cyber, Currency, Trade or Shooting War Chancellor? And don't Chancellor ever forget that the ultimate objective of war is peace? Oh Dear! And the Party faithful applauded this piece of political nonsense from the former Defence Secretary who should know better.

Thankfully, one "something"  that shall eventually save the UK is indeed 5G and the Forth Revolution, incorporating the Global Wellbeing Agenda and of course the Global Digital Single Market, co-joined to the EU Digital Single Market. However, will the National Government's be symbiotic or parasitic?

Currently the CMS Select Committee has opened an Inquiry into the "Impact of Brexit" citing the 118bn pounds of Digital products and services of which 43% go to the EU. How much is FDI funded?

We will still have to navigate OFCOM through the new UK Digital Economy Bill and understand what shall become of BDUK personnel in the scheme of things, especially for Spectrum Monitoring.

Essentially the Digital Economy Bill enhances the Statuary Powers of both OFCOM and the Secretary of State. It entered the Commons Committee Stage, beginning with the examination of witnesses on the 11th October with their HoC Report due by the 1st November. (Hence the new Cyber Security Framework!) The two key sections are: Section 8 Dynamic Spectrum Access Services which amends the Communication Act 2003 and Section 9 Statement of Strategic Priorities which amends the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. Although the Digital Economy Bill is a product of self-indulgence (essentially intended to modify the governance of OFCOM and rectify the Communications Act 2003) one very real question is: shall it be fit for purpose for 5G or dead in the water when it finally achieves Royal Assent? After all, all sticking plasters eventually have to be ripped off once the wound is healed. 

Regarding its USO aspect, on the First Sitting Baroness Harding gave the following evidence: "At the risk of being dangerously technical, I think we all try to summarise in the form of speed, but actually consumers and businesses would say that reliability and consistency are every bit as important as speed. The small businesses that are customers of TalkTalk would say, "It's not the headline speed I need. I need it to work every single second when my customers are using the chip and pin machine in my small corner shop", for example. So while speed is a useful proxy, it is not perfect. The Minister gets to the nub of the issue: when you have a proper fibre network that goes all the way to the premises, you have upgrade potential. You just change the card in the rack of computers back at the exchange and you can go from 1G to 100G. You also have a much, much more reliable network. When it rains, water does not get into the copper and it does not stop working. The small businesses that we talk to are very cross that the fibre-to-the-premises roll-out has missed out a lot of business parks-not necessarily because they want speed, but because they want a reliable service where they can upload as much as they can download and customers can always buy things from them. I would therefore support being clearer in the detailed regulations that I presume Ofcom would set in specifying the service requirements for small businesses as opposed to consumers."

Heaven forbid Dido that we should ever talk technically to politicians! Importantly Dido gets to the crux of the matter. The 5G issue the UK infrastructure needs to address is fibre and upload capabilities and the dereliction of OFCOM. Then the rest shall take care of itself. 

This Bill Committee is jointly Chaired by Gary Streeter and Graham Stringer, with the Bill itself now being shepherded by Mathew Handcock (Minister for Digital and Culture), after the demise of Ed.

Both the Government and OFCOM replies to the CMS SC Report into Establishing World-Class Connectivity were published on the 12th October along with the Government Response to their Cyber Security Inquiry. Congratulation's here to Damian Collins as the new Chair, after Jesse was kicked up-stairs. More on these three important matters next time as they are naturally all inter-related as we progress towards True Globalization of S&T.


 

Leave Proponents?

What are we really seeing played out globally here? In my view it is the "We the People"  verses "We are the People", false dichotomy, fault-line espoused from the Founding Fathers and the John Milton Brigade. Never, ever forget though that the Founding Fathers are no lovers of Despotism (See a certain Declaration. And note no referendum was needed!).

Hence I shall take a brief look in turn at the "Wrecking Crew" ; comprising Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis. Let us never forget that after the Referendum it was widely commented upon that PM May had cast them as "The Three Stooges"  who would take the fall, while "Empress May"  takes all the glory. I shall begin with Boris first this time round. 

Boris wrote in his now infamous "Numskills" article about the TTIP (while plugging his book on Churchill naturally) by quoting Winston's two sayings from 1955: "Man is a Spirit"  and "Never be separated from the Americans" . Indeed! However, Boris is just Boris: he is no Churchill. Here context does actually matter: the Treaty of Rome was signed when Boris? Hence we should acknowledge, Winston foresaw that we would be dragged through the Spirit of Prejudice and Spirit of Self-Indulgence [Referendum] stages and become ensconced in the present Spirit of Defiance stage. Next comes the Spirit of Self-Destruction Stage. Thankfully to be followed by the Spirit of Healing Stage before we all hopefully then reach the Spirit of Renewal Stage. Although this evolution is not a fait accompli. Miracles do happen. For "Brexit does not necessarily mean Brexit". Despite reports to the contrary the Referendum was not an "overwhelming victory"  but instead had less than half the separation of opinions pertained in the Scottish Referendum, which naturally is still being played out as the Democratic process ensures. The UK is still a democratic state, is it not? After all when politicians lie to us to get elected in a General Election we can chuck them out in the next one. Which brings me round to Empress May: Clearly she has the authority to run her Party but where is her Democratic Mandate to lead the UK? What would Walter Bagehot have to say about her?

We also should recognize that eventually all market Trade Agreements shall have to be adopted through the EU Parliament not by silo-ed national governments. The realization of this fact has yet to sink in. But the real political battle yet to come shall be between Empress May and elected UK MEP's who are wisely biding their time and holding their council. How shall Empress May react, if or when, the Devolved MP's and elected Devolved Governments seek to bypass her and directly engage with these elected MEP's? (Especially if they pincer on the Council of Ministers - whose bidding shall the Commissioners do?) Alas whose side shall the ancient City of London Corporation [1066, Magna Carta etc] with it's own Mayor and own Police Force then be on? Of course we all know "The City" does not understand technology companies, but do they understand people? "No taxation without representation"  and the "Boston Tea Party"  events both come to mind here. 

Alas Boris who was the famous politician who said "Never should a Foreign Secretary be sent to the negotiating table naked"? Encirclement eh!


Our Heroine?

This brings me to our heroine Sharon White who sumarised the current OFCOM position thus:

"The UK's 57-billion-pound communications sector is already our economy's second largest, after financial services. Communications and information exports rose by œ1bn in the last year alone, according to Government figures.........Approval of some mergers and takeovers may switch to UK regulators, who would work together to scrutinise deals in the sectors we regulate...........

There might also be challenges. In the digital age, the rules that govern internet traffic, mobile signals, Amazon or Netflix affect everyone.........Just as globalisation has broken down trading boundaries, modern communications show scant respect for national borders. They travel through the air, under sea and over global networks at the speed of light.........

After Brexit, we want to remain a constructive, influential player in these debates, sharing our experience and expertise. In future, that might mean working with EU countries to ensure 5G mobile devices work across the continent. Or helping to ensure that rules governing online services, like YouTube and WhatsApp, continue to protect openness and innovation............Just as the Government is seeking new trading opportunities in a world outside the EU, we would like to see a new framework for telecoms and TV regulation that protects the future needs of consumers and businesses, while allowing us to take part in a global debate over how these fast-moving sectors evolve."  [See OFCOM's new website for full text]

So is your "new framework" neither the EU Digital Single Market or the parochial Digital Economy Bill? If not, why don't you just clearly say so? "Might be challenges"? "Scant respect" ? Elsewhere in the FT (now under Japanese control) you said that the BBC has "special status"  but cannot be given"special treatment". Oh Dear! Why can't this exceptionalism policy translate across from the EU to the UK? Oh Sharon, Sharon, Sharon all of the above appears to me like self-pity, special pleading, English exceptionalism and a direct appeal for natural reasonableness. [Obviously the latter shall fall on deaf ears.] Convening powers aside, raise your game and visibility! Alas Sharon what now your Washington Speech views on the proposed AT&T and Time Warner vertical merger and Net Neutrality? 

Finally consider recent $100bn Vulture Fund announcements from Japanese SoftBank and the Saudi Royal Family: ironically a case of "Japanese Brain's" and "Saudi Moneybags" . A venture sound on tactics, weak on strategy? Clearly though, along with ARM they intend to plunder UK IP on the cheap. (But where will their buy-out money go?) Shall they in this venture drive Empress May into other very real National Security dilemmas as these foreign parties gear up to take on Silicon Valley and the American's? Alas shall Empress May sleepwalk into neutering the Secret State by giving away control of their toy's? Don't take the bait Sharon! I also sincerely hope Empress May is not foolhardy enough to contemplate using them as leverage and remembers what Winston said above. However, given that the UK is so far behind the US in 5G Policy and technology, by the time we get these preliminary parochial arguments out of the way, hopefully we shall have arrived at the Spirit of Renewal stage. 

Why do I say this? Because why did no one ever asked the simple question during the Referendum: Why after fifty years of  "Ever Closer Union" was Article 50 inserted into the Lisbon Treaty, in December 2007, with the full agreement of these European powers? Political Theatre eh!

Barry McKeown

1st November 2016

 

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