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5G Technology: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Ethical Considerations in Innovation

Technological advancement gets better, cheaper, and easier with time. Considering cellular technologies, 5G is the market’s most recent and most advanced technology as things stand now. Wireless technology is more reliable and faster because it delivers multiple gigabytes per second (Gps). The essay focuses on the significant benefits of 5G technology, including powering innovation, lower latency, improved connectivity, and faster speed. The essay explores further the benefits to specific industries, such as health and entertainment. The disadvantages highlighted include interference with weather forecasting and potential health risks from high-frequency radio waves. The essay also looks into the ethical issues associated with the pros and cons of 5G, and finally, we use an ethical theory to analyze the identified ethical issues.

An equally significant advantage of the 5G network is the capability to provide faster speeds than other cellular technologies. Faster speeds are experienced in downloads and uploads, which are made possible through advanced technologies such as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) and network slicing, among many others. MIMO technology transfers voluminous data using numerous transmitters and receivers simultaneously. Network slicing creates unique partitions of network resources virtually, making it easier to use dedicated resources because the virtual infrastructure is specific to a particular group or application (Adebusolabet al., 2020). The technologies under 5G that allows users faster network speeds are associated with specific ethical issues. One of the issues is the digital divide, the gap between individuals with access to the fifth generation and those without access. Factors contributing to widening the gap include infrastructure limitations and geographical locations. Conversely, this generation of cellular technology leads to undesirable environmental effects, which raises ethical concerns about responsible consumption.

Moreover, 5G networks offer lower latency, meaning the time between sending and receiving data. As discussed above, 5G has impacted the health sector positively, enabling remote medical procedures instantaneously. The performance of applications that require real-time interaction, such as augmented reality and self-driving cars, is improved. Autonomous vehicles require a lower latency to make decisions and respond quickly to different conditions (Kelechi et al., 2019). It is essential, however, to note that lower latency also raises ethical issues; for driverless cars, lower latency is only achieved when there is no disruption or delay, which could cause safety hazards. The ethical issue is ensuring that autonomous vehicles are safe and secure within the 5G network. A different ethical issue is privacy; the speed at which data is transmitted could result in breaches and unauthorized access to private information. For this reason, encrypting and securing the network for malicious breaches is essential.

By combining the two factors discussed above, we achieve improved connectivity, benefitting health services, businesses, and individuals in many aspects. Individuals in businesses and employees can work, collaborate and communicate remotely through applications and better technologies such as 5G. The fifth generation supports several devices, which reduces overcrowding and improves connectivity. Nevertheless, this merit elevates ethical issues associated with privacy and surveillance. Individuals registering with the 5G networks share their private data, which can be used without their consent. The data could be browsing history, location, and many more. A different ethical issue associated with improved connectivity is amplified exclusion and inequality. Factors leading to inequality are similar to those contributing to the digital divide, such as poor infrastructure and location, which only affects individuals in marginalized areas.

Additionally, 5G networks allow innovation and economic growth through faster speed, increased capacity, and lower latency. All these factors enable the development of applications and services that were impossible in earlier networks. The Internet of Things is among the newest technologies in 5G, which offer consistent connections faster. Smart cities have also benefited from the development of 5G networks; various management systems necessary to run a smart city can communicate and optimize various functions, such as congestion under a traffic management system (Jabagi et al., 2020). Among the ethical issues associated with powering innovation include data security, job displacement, and privacy of personal information. Faster speeds and improved connectivity generate voluminous data, and the mannerism in which data is collected and protected still needs to be determined. Job automation in industries leads to job loss, which impacts individuals negatively. Therefore, we need to develop policies and programs favoring workers whose jobs have been automated.

The fifth generation of technological development has revolutionized the entertainment industry through virtual and augmented reality, high-quality content streaming, live events, and cloud gaming. Gamers can now play more advanced games with higher graphics without gaming hardware. Mobile devices also contain gaming software, unlike earlier technologies. Reliable and high-quality live events are now feasible, which has attracted large masses to the entertainment industries, where they generate all types of content. Augmented and virtual reality have been made possible due to significant data transmission. The entertainment industry widens the digital divide gap as an ethical issue since not everybody can access 5G technology. Another ethical issue is digital addiction due to the engaging entertainment experience, which also has the potential to cause social isolation, among other negative consequences.

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining information and services online from the contributions of various people. After the 4G Long Term Evolution, we have 5G technology which has made crowdsourcing a widespread practice, and platforms like Uber and Airbnb benefit mainly from this practice. Crowdsourcing in 5G technology offers faster, safer, and more reliable connectivity, making real-time collaboration feasible (Nieto et al., 2019). An excellent example of a practice that has benefited from collaboration is coding, where remote teams can work on a single project comfortably. Trends and patterns are easily identified through big data analytics, where analysts work on extensive data quickly and efficiently. Other practices that are made possible through crowdsourcing include the use of IoT devices and remote monitoring, among others. Despite these benefits, crowdsourcing also raises ethical issues on intellectual property since most individual contributors need to be made aware of their terms of participation. For this reason, disputes over content ownership may arise.

Given the advantages of 5G networks, as outlined in the previous paragraphs, it is predictable that the technology offers some potential disadvantages. The essential demerit of this technology is the expensive infrastructure. Setting out a 5G network is the greatest challenge because it requires significant investments in base stations, fiber cables, and other networking equipment. The cost of deploying this infrastructure is enormously high for telecommunication companies since the density of a 4G base station requires fewer resources than a 5g base station. This factor locks out individuals in rural areas from accessing the 5G network technology since it is costly to roll out the network in rural areas. This technology creates a barrier to market entry for smaller telecommunication companies that cannot compete with larger companies. Ethicists acknowledge that the expensive infrastructure may limit many people from using the technology, specifically individuals living in rural areas. Therefore, ethicist advocate for technologies that do not limit people from access due to their social status.

The 5G network technology has the potential to interfere with weather predictions due to the frequency range of the network, which is similar to that of the water vapor and essential for weather prediction. The amount of water vapor is the primary determinant in weather forecasting which is measured with satellites that use microwave sensors (Carlson, 2020). The ethical concern about the 5G network is that it may interfere with the accuracy of the microwave sensors leading to low accuracy forecasting. Having considered the weather forecast, ethicists argue that the 5G infrastructure should not be deployed if it has potential risks to public safety. These criticisms from ethicists have kept telecommunications companies on their toes, seeking a solution to the interference issue. Rules and regulations have been enacted to ensure that these companies work hand-in-hand with forecasting agencies to ensure that the network creates little interference.

Additionally, 5G networks create potential health risks from radio waves. Prolonged exposure to high-frequency radio waves might cause cancer and other skin diseases. Giving credit to the research by Carlson (2022), there needs to be more evidence from research that confirms the truth of the statement. However, other scientists have proven that extended exposure to electromagnetic radiation harms human health. Therefore, ethicists advocate for extensive research and collaboration between telecommunication companies and policymakers to ensure that technology exposes no risk to human health. If the risk arises, there will be policies to regulate the technology until the companies can fully address the risk. The government and other private bodies must combine efforts to fund research on the potential health risks of newer and advanced technologies. After getting the scientific evidence, the government, in partnership with private organizations, will educate the public on the risks associated with advanced technologies and how to curb these risks.

In the final analysis, we use utilitarian ethical theory to analyze the pros and cons of 5G networks. This theory states that an action that brings happiness and joy while minimizing the pain involved is the best. This means that the best action for any situation should cause less harm and bring joy to many people. According to the research by Komu (2019), Jeremy and John believed that all actions should be assessed based on the consequences. In the 5G network framework, the moral theory proposes that the benefits associated with the network should be measured against the overall harm it causes. If the benefits outweigh the harm, then the technology is permitted. Otherwise, technology is morally forbidden.

Technology will continually advance with time, which might bring significant benefits or potential harm to its users. Based on the idea of 5G networks, it is evident that the benefits it brings along outweigh the associated risks. This technology’s main advantages are increased upload and download speed, lower latency, improved connectivity, powering innovation, and advanced entertainment. The disadvantages are few, some of which are not scientifically proven, although we cannot ignore them because they might cause potential harm. These disadvantages include expensive infrastructure and interference with weather predictions. From an ethical perspective, it is right to conclude that 5G is morally permissible.


Nieto, A., Acien, A., & Fernandez, G. (2019). Crowdsourcing analysis in 5G IoT: Cybersecurity threats and mitigation. Mobile Networks and Applications24, 881-889.

Kelechi, A. H., Alsharif, M. H., Ramly, A. M., Abdullah, N. F., & Nordin, R. (2019).A review of the four-C framework for high capacity ultra-low latency in 5G network. Energies12(18), 3449.

Komu, S. S. (2020). Pleasure versus Virtue Ethics in The Light of Aristotelians and the Utilitarianism of John Stuart Mills and Jeremy Bentham. Al-Milal: Journal of Religion and Thought2(1), 37–56.

Carlson, E. K. (2020). What will 5G bring?.

Jabagi, N., Park, A., & Kietzmann, J. (2020). The 5G Revolution: Expectations versus reality. IT Professional22(6), 8-15.

Adebusola, J. A., Ariyo, A. A., Elisha, O. A., Olubunmi, A. M., & Julius, O. O. (2020, March). An overview of 5G technology. In 2020 International Conference in Mathematics, Computer Engineering and Computer Science (ICMCECS) (pp. 1–4). IEEE.


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