By Adaeze Theresa Ogeah
September 10, 2020
Technology is a gift to mankind, to make life easy and better for us. Throughout the years, we have seen series of technological developments which have helped improve standards of living which we all are beneficiaries of, either by the use of our mobile phones, or other electronic gadgets, and all these have been facilitated by a communication and information network.
The above notwithstanding, words in the streets are that as technology advances, the greater danger it poses. The general saying that ‘anything that has an advantage has its disadvantage’ may be widely accepted, but the question is, “how bad are the disadvantages of technological advancements on us?” Could technology have caused the current global COVID-19 outbreak? Could there be more to the 5G technology than meets the eyes? Believe me, the “evil 5G” theory, otherwise known as the 5G “Conspiracy Theory” is trending with the man in the street, and gaining huge support as well. However, what is your take on this? Do you agree with the said theory? Or could this conclusion be out of sheer ignorance and absence of basic knowledge about the inception and progression of mobile networks?
Despite anything to the contrary, it should be noted for one that the development of the 5G network did not just start today (with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic), however, the Fifth Generation (5G) technology standard for cellular networks gained huge attention with the COVID-19 pandemic, and has wireless networks investing heavily in it, but it is a network in potentiality and geometric progression. And just like living organisms evolve in their form for better adaptability to their environment, the network chain is not left out, hence, the rapid rate of global civilization has now created a need for an evolution in networks, thus, the need for a transitioning from the Fourth Generation (4G) network to a Fifth (5G), and even higher. In the light of that, the 5G network which is not entirely new, as thought by many, may not necessarily have any direct link with the “evils” attached to it.
5G NETWORK, THE ATTENTION SEEKER
Why the sudden buzz? One may ask. The Fourth Generation (4G) and Third Generation (3G) networks did not have as much controversies like their 5G cousin, rather, they were widely accepted and seen as good steps towards civilization, while same took quite a turn for the 5G Network, and led to contentious comments and conclusions. This I owe to the current lapses in the global health system — especially in the areas of concealment of valuable information, and political interference in the health and safety of citizens — which makes some people feel technology has given the best it can give in the health sector, hence, further introduction of seemingly better technology is nothing but calling adverse effects upon humanity. Unsurprisingly, some proponents of the said “Conspiracy Theory” do not even have basic knowledge of how networks function, or how much more technology can positively impact health and safety. Well, I don’t blame it all on them, as they are victims of hearsay — one person says something, another hears, and yet another reports, and it spreads like wild fire with varying versions. For that reason, appropriate stakeholders should oblige citizens proper enlightenment about the functions and operations of digital cellular networks, and the need for higher versions of networks, such as the 5G, else, the tendency of making fallacious statements and reaching unsound conclusions will linger.
WHY THE CONCERN?
As we all know, mobile phones have become an integral part of our society, and they are used in virtually every sphere of life, from communication to health, to business, an so on, and this has been the norm since the era of the 2G network. Similarly, the 5G network enables us to do same, but at a higher frequency, transforming the effects of digital connectivity and providing users access to unlimited data quantities. However, the major concern with the 5G network springs up from the claimed hazards of the technology to human health. People are worried about their health, and they fear that this somewhat new technology is their doom. Hence, this concern has led to several investigations and studies by professionals in the field, to correct the notion that 5G network radiation is the cause of some deaths in places where 5G cell sites and mast stations are situated, as propelled by some conspiracy theorists, who also propound that the coronavirus is technically transmitted through the 5G network. Yet another fraction of the theorists claim that the 5G network causes death by suppressing the immune system, thus, making the human body susceptible to damage, and I begin to wonder why the 4G and 3G networks spared our lives. Or, could we have been dying slowly, yet unaware? Hmm! This calls for personal reflection, but with absolute certainty about the level of knowledge we possess about the phenomenon, else, we risk downgrading the hard work of those working tirelessly to ensure we have fast Internet, and better usage experience.
Now, focusing on radiation as the primary cause of death with the 5G network, we should know that in different ways, we have been exposing ourselves to electromagnetic radiations, from electronic devices we have in our homes like televisions, to natural lighting, and more specifically, sunlight.
It is important to note that mobile phones which are the primary contact of 5G transmission are low powered radio frequency transmitters, and they only transmit when powered on. According to the World Health Organization, mobile phones communicate by transmitting radio waves through a network of fixed antennas called base stations. This is non-ionizing, that is, even with interaction with the human body, it cannot break the DNA and cause damages to the human cells like the X-ray, Ultraviolet ray and Gamma ray. Furthermore, research from the past has not established any adverse health condition to be the effect of mobile phones and its networking system.
THE NEED FOR 5G NETWORK
Amidst fear that the 5G network was developed to doom the world, it is worthy to note that which the network is said to do.
The above facts notwithstanding, there are still concerns about the said network. In South Korea for instance, where the network has been put to test, it was subjected to both positive and negative reviews, and obviously, the 5G technology hasn’t lived up to its hype as an omniscient network.
Personally, I am an advocate for improvement and advancement, and I think we have not seen the end of the network evolution. From the emergence of 1G in 1979, and with the advancement in digital and communications technologies each year brings, it would only be logical to conclude that the year 2020 is just another year of new and greater things to come, as the year has shown us quite some interesting shades of technology, and the extent to which technology can stretch, as the new normal introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic has made our world more complicated, digital and connected than ever, hence, the need for a new and higher level of connectedness.
GET IT STRAIGHT
Having shed light on the fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks (5G), and how it is perceived by a fraction of the people, kindly note that this article is not aimed at supporting or disputing a particular claim, rather, its aim is to educate its readers, by furnishing them with basic information about the 5G network, for proper understanding.
I’ll leave you with this: “should we put a stop to technological advancements due to fear of unknown causes?” Remember there are always two sides to a coin, hence, the path is yours to choose.
Stay In The Know
The world we live in is in a state of constant change, and everything tends to be evolving at a pace that isn’t suggestive…
By Godstime Aisosa Osague
August 15, 2020
The world we live in is in a state of constant change, and everything tends to be evolving at a pace that isn’t suggestive of a slowdown. Apparently, our world is becoming more and more digitally-driven, and unless one measures up and meets the “21st century standards” for being part of a digital society, one feels some sort of burden, stemming from their lag in knowledge, in not being able to apply necessary digital skills, as well as weave necessary digital demands into their career, business and other chosen walks of life.
With the rapid introduction of smart technologies, it is arguable that the world currently is more than just a global village as it has often been called, as with smart technologies, distance, and time in some regard, can be
breached in a twinkling of an eye to get anything done, and what seems to be the only true distance that exists is just the distance between you and your (“connected”) device.
Interestingly, one of the wonderful meals the 20th Century dished out before us, which also has been garnished by the 21st Century, is the phenomenon termed, Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has impressively rooted itself deeply in virtually all activities happening in our globe, and statistics have it that by 2030, automation and technological advancements will eliminate 73 million jobs, and only those who are digitally intelligent will stand their grounds, as roles humans are currently responsible for will take a vast turn, and efforts will then be geared towards the digitally intelligent.
AI has penetrated the vast majority of human endeavours, and it is currently being used by a large number of organizations to carry out their day-to-day operations, which hitherto, were the sole duties of humans. Taking large IT (Information Technology) and online shopping corporations into consideration, AI has been employed to search for a particular item from amongst millions of products when an order is placed, and in similar fashion, to search for a particular piece of information from amongst billions of information and big data. Impressively also, AI has found its way into our buccal cavity, as voice recognition and voice assistance are fast becoming ways people use specific technologies, and for specific services and experience. Applications like Siri, Bixby, Cortana, Alexa, etc., help people make commands, place orders, conduct searches, find their way around a place, read (aloud), and even dictate ideas to their devices for textual recording. Voice assistance gives users an improved search experience, as it saves them the stress of typing, as well as scrolling down and up their screens, especially after a busy day. No doubts, a few minutes with voice/virtual assistants could get a whole lot done for their users.
In today’s business world, AI plays pivotal roles and creates opportunities for employees to handle even the most advanced of tasks simultaneously. The employment of AI makes operations less cumbersome, with speed and time optimized.
As AI is closing in on businesses and economies, we are beginning to experience paradigm shifts in market demands, be it demands in human resources or other forms of resources. From job openings, we could notice the shift in skill sets demanded by employers, and the shift in job roles that were formerly mono-directional and conventional. Nowadays, traditional shops and market places are now partially and completely virtual as the case may be, as physical business locations are being transformed into digital locations, yet, business transactions are not distorted, rather, they are enhanced. And unless one is a part of this transformation, by upping their digital intelligence, one would wake up one morning to discover they are now aliens in a world they were once an integral part of.
Despite anything to the contrary, the introduction and adoption of AI in vast walks of life, also comes with vast opportunities for the digitally intelligent, as there are no breakthroughs in any computer technology without humans behind it. With breakthroughs in AI also comes the need for people who can influence, harness and manage such breakthroughs. Hence, the need for digital intelligence cannot be overemphasized. All you need do is take a chance, and become a digital citizen.
It is no news that the world has been hit hard , and our world is no longer as we knew…
By Adaeze Theresa Ogeah
August 1, 2020
It is no news that the world has been hit hard [by the COVID-19 pandemic], and our world is no longer as we knew it to be. The COVID-19 pandemic has dreadfully disrupted the normal affairs of the world, and the big questions are, “will we ever recover?” “can the world stand against this?” “is there a chance for the human race?” All these are questions that bother the inquisitive mind.
So, how did we get here? The new coronavirus came with a great wind of pain, robbing the world of lives cherished by family, friends and colleagues; great minds inclusive. It has affected every race and gender, caused loss the world is yet to recover from, and has forced all hands to be on deck, in a fight for our lives. Among those “fighting” assiduously to give our world some respite are healthcare providers, who are at the forefront of the “fight”, and are most exposed to the virus, which came as though with its terms and conditions of “come close to someone who is affected, and
you could be the next. Otherwise, keep your distance!” Hence, social distancing has become the order of the day.
Based on the new normal , typical human activities of sharing space, other natural and artificial resources, which characterise us as social beings and a society, have been greatly affected, and yet again, it is technology to the rescue.
In the past few decades, technology defied distance so impressively that our world was dubbed a global village. That notwithstanding, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has made our world even smaller, as the adoption of smart technologies in virtually all walks of life, and as part of the new normal, is bringing us closer than we have ever been. The way information is currently being disseminated and exchanged, especially health information, is giving us an advantage of protecting ourselves in a trying time as this, and it makes me wonder what would have become of us, if they were no information and communication technologies. Well, what can we say in the light of all this, if not to be thankful for the emerging technologies and improvements in our world today, especially in the Health sector, and that brings us to Digital Health.
This term Digital Health, also fondly called DigiHealth, may have been described from different points of view, however, the concept basically centres around the use of information technology/electronic communication tools, services and processes to deliver health care services or to facilitate better health. According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS),
Digital Health connects and empowers people and populations to manage health and wellness, augmented by accessible and supportive provider teams working within flexible, integrated, interoperable, and digitally-enabled care environments that strategically leverage digital tools, technologies and services to transform care delivery.
From the foregoing, Digital Health encompasses a wide range of health services. And as the name implies, it is the convergence of health care management into digital technology. Unlike the traditional walk in healthcare service option, Digital Health helps to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery, and make medicine personalized and precise online. Consequently, it covers a wide range of products and services such as telemedicine, ingestible sensors, wearable gadgets, down to mobile apps, and it aims at benefiting both the patients and the healthcare providers.
Among notable organisations that have capitalised on Digital Health is the World Health Organization (WHO), a frontliner in the global fight against the new coronavirus. WHO has leveraged Digital Health to help tackle the spread of the Virus around the world. It has developed a Global Strategy on Digital Health (for 2020-2024) with the aim of promoting healthy lives and wellbeing for every one, every where, and of all ages. WHO has also come up with a three-tier approach to Digital Health delivery, and they are aimed at ‘supporting decision makers at all levels to ensure sustainable, safe and ethical use of technology, facilitating the capacity for practitioners to use digital technologies to deliver healthcare benefits effectively, and improving health and well-being of people with the intervention of Digital health.
This has caused significant changes in medical decisions, treatments, and diagnosis, as there are now new forms of home diagnosis, with the aid of new and improved mobile apps with avenues for patients to access on-call Doctors online. Apparently, this is a major stride towards victory in the fight against COVID-19. Also notable is WHO’s Chatbot on Facebook Messenger, launched to combat COVID-19 misinformation. This technological strategy gives individuals all around the world the opportunity to get “instant and accurate information about COVID-19”, via Facebook’s global reach, hence, the chatbot’s ability to reply queries in languages other than English. This I would say is quality information at your finger tips.
With fear still lingering the streets, many people are scared to leave the comfort of their homes to seek medical attention in hospitals, because of the fear of physical contacts. That notwithstanding, pro-health mobile apps are standing in the gap, as those in need of medical assistance can now contact Doctors online, where the Doctors can provide answers readily to questions, through video chats, emails, and several other digital communication media, all in the comfort of their homes. As a result, the influx of people into hospitals over seemingly minor conditions, and the likelihood of physical contacts have been reduced. This innovation is a fast growing trend, though it still requires further improvement, but at the moment at least, it has proven useful.
The world we live in has gone digital, and virtually every activity is done online. If you can sell and buy items online without getting caught in the physical hustle and bustle of day-to-day business transactions, so can you have your health needs tended to online — no more waiting on the queue for consultations, nor having to carry files and papers from one place to another. Rather, with wearable smart devices, heart rate can be monitored, weight loss tracked, number of steps counted, down to the amount of calories burned, to mention but a few.
In an exclusive interview with a Medical Doctor, Nnamdi Ogbogu, who is an active practitioner of DigiHealth with a Nigerian medical-tech company, so much was revealed from his experience shared with me. According to him, many patients accept and approve of Digital Health, and with the outbreak of COVID-19, patients feel at ease with less physical contact and opt for DigiHealth, as they consider it less stressful and convenient. Though the digital route allows patients converse freely with their doctors or medical assistants, Dr. Ogbogu states that Digital Health is not without its own challenges, as online consultations do not suffice for very severe cases. However, the impact of the adoption of technology in health and healthcare services cannot be undermined, as significant successes have been recorded.
Now, more than ever, in the light of a post COVID-19 economy, access to one’s medical information and history would be just by a simple tapping of one’s mobile device. Post COVID-19 activities are envisaged to usher in a convergence between the Medical Sciences and Technology, which will further improve the global health sector, as well as effectively tackle present and future health challenges. That said, the onus now lies on heads of nations and appropriate stakeholders to ensure sustainable advances in health and healthcare systems, by funding research in Digital Health, and investing in other aspects of the area. Furthermore, healthcare providers should be equipped with knowledge and skills in Digital Health, as well as have access to Digital Health provisions. In similar vein, citizens should be equipped with adequate information on the need, adoption, and use of necessary health technologies.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has brought about a need for the total evaluation and reassessment of global health services, and there is now, more than ever, need for, and access to new and innovative technological combination in readiness for contingencies in the health sector, hence, all tools made available should be maximally utilized, while new inventions and innovations should be facilitated. The positivity not withstanding, success in this light can only be complete if dwellers of rural and other underserved parts of the world, of Africa especially, enjoy equal knowledge, skills and access to all health technological advances as their “privileged” counterparts.
Together we can rise above our struggles and pain. Keep safe and Stay Healthy.
Stay In The Know
By Adaeze Theresa Ogeah
June 29, 2020
Basically, when the word IT is mentioned, the thought of that young or average-aged guy you call upon when you need help with your computer (yes, I mean that IT guy), readily comes to mind, right? Or, maybe the thought of that relatively young person, usually of the male folk, who spends so much time with their computer, doing and writing “weird” stuff that look like special characters or symbols, often difficult to comprehend, huh? If those are your thoughts about IT, you are not alone, and whatever your thoughts are, stay with me while I straighten things out.
Before anything else, it is important to note that IT is an abbreviation for Information Technology, and by implication, they are one and the same.
By definition, information technology has been presented by different professionals and authorities in different ways, with emphasis laid on particular processes, services, and/or devices. However, to drive the message home, let’s take a look at how the MacMillan Dictionary of Information Technology defines IT. According to the dictionary, IT (information technology) is,
the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a micro-electronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications.
Though the definition may seem a bit technical, the message that is being conveyed here is that IT is more than the cliché of being perceived as Computer Science, which basically deals with the theory of computation and the design of computer systems. Perceiving IT as Computer Science is a common error, especially when we think of that IT guy as the “Computer Wizard”, and vice versa. However, they may both be similar, but they actually have different areas of specialization and focus. While IT basically involves the installation and management of hardware, software, networks, and databases, Computer Science focuses on programming computers, using mathematical algorithms. To further buttress the point, IT covers a wide range of other information distribution technologies aside computers, such as telephones and televisions. If that be the case, I’m sure you now catch the gist of who the real IT person is.
Okay, let’s also look at it from this angle. Imagine trying to shop online for foodstuff and other household items you’d need in 1960. It is ridiculous, right? Okay. Why is it so? Because the world was in no position as at that time to enable such transaction. However, over time, information technology (IT) developed, and now enables us to do what we could not do at some point in time, even better, faster and cheaper. So, what changed? you may ask. The answer is simple. Networking expanded, and IT bridged the global gap in networking. IT expanded the systems of communication, thereby creating interconnected streams of networks, irrespective of geographical distance, making the world a Global Village.
From the foregoing, the impact of IT cannot be underestimated or overemphasized, as virtually all ramifications of life thrive on information technology.
So, one thing we have established is that IT is not an alien word, but only misconstrued, and, another is that people whose job functions or chosen career centre around the installation and management of hardware, software, networks, and databases, as well as other information technologies other than computers, like telephones and televisions, among others, are IT people, irrespective of sex and age. Thus, correcting this misconception will require education down to the grassroots, and one of the ways we can achieve that is to leverage Information Technology, which can assist us with widespread communication and networking. However, in doing that, we must remember that input equals output.
So, when next you see the man in the street who has that popular, but incorrect notion about IT, or who an IT person is, change their notion by informing them right.
Stay In The Know
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