The Case for Lifting Sanctions Against Huawei: 5G Leadership, and Contributions to Artificial Intelligence
As President Trump prepares to travel to G20 summit, and meet with President Xi, the media reports suggest that China will insist on lifting of sanctions against Huawei.
President Trump should certainly consider this. Why? Because this will certainly generate goodwill. The legitimate security concerns can be addressed and managed. The case for encouraging Huawei’s participation is simple. Huawei is the leader in 5G and related technologies, and 5G is transforming the productivity of economies and societies.
There two defining characteristics of 5G are: low latency (1 ms or thereof) and large bandwidth (up to 10 Gbps.) What are the applications that require some combination of the massive bandwidth and throughput promised by 5G in addition to tight latency requirements?
Augmented Reality, Autonomous Driving, Multi-person Video Conversation, Tactile Internet, Wireless Cloud Based Office, and Virtual Reality. And what are the applications whose performances will be materially enhanced with the adoption of 5G technology? Automotive e-call, Device Remote Control, Disaster Alert, First Responder Activity, Monitoring Sensor Networks, and Video Streaming. All these applications are dependent on making cellular networks smarter and more efficient, and AI will do just that.
What does 5G bring to AI applications apart from technically enhanced performance? As Bob Rogers, chief data scientist for analytics and AI in Intel’s Data Center Group, observes 5G provides contextual awareness. How so? By more meaningful machine learning: having access to more data and having that access at significantly faster speeds than are available with today’s LTE networks, devices will have a better ability to understand their surroundings. For instance, voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant which already use AI to process our requests will do far better when the context becomes richer.
What more? 5G and AI will revolutionize the Internet of Things (IoT), which is essentially about devices being connected and the network being smart. How so? 5G technology is able to support more simultaneous internet connections, require less energy from wireless radios, enable more video applications, and mitigate problems associated with wireless latency.
5G ecology is exploding. “According to the GSA’s monthly report on the 5G device ecosystem, there are now 25 5G mobile phones (plus regional variants), 7 hot spots, 23 customer premise equipment devices and 23 5G modules; four routers (including two internet of things routers), two drones, one laptop, one switch, one USB terminal and one robot.”
Accordingly, the US should explore ways to encourage full participation of Huawei in the US economy even as it carefully addresses the security concerns.
Subsequent to Presidents Trumps-Xi meeting in Osaka at G20 meeting, the US administration has agreed to lift some restrictions on Huawei, including sales of American components to the telecom giant. That’s a thoughtful move. The President can do more to further the US-China relations even the US carefully addresses the security concerns. For example, the President can use “Deferred Prosecution” instrument to resolve the concerns with Huawei, and “Non-Prosecution Agreement” approach to address the criminal complaints against Meng Wenzhou, the CFO of Huawei.
Note: A version of this article is scheduled to appear in Management Review journal.