Home / The Lede / 5G in ATG and Dallas; Robots Going Rogue and in ALS Research There’s Hope That Keeps Us Holding On
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5G in ATG and Dallas; Robots Going Rogue and in ALS Research There’s Hope That Keeps Us Holding On

The Lede, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
By David Royse

Good Day 


REAL 5G in Atlanta, Dallas, Waco, other cities by end of Year

“2018 will be the year you can experience mobile 5G from AT&T.”

That’s the first line of a press release put out last night by AT&T and it pretty much gets right to it. If you’ve followed the news about the coming fifth generation wireless technology, with its speeds many, many times faster than current ones, though, you know there’s a debate everytime a company says it’s closing in on providing 5G as to whether it’s really, really 5G or just something that looks like it, but isn’t quite it.

This appears to be true 5G.

As Chris Mills at BGR (Boy Genius Report) points out:

“AT&T’s rollout of 5G in Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco meets two important criteria: It’s compatible with the 5G NR standard agreed upon by the industry, which means theoretically any 5G-compatible device will work on the network; and it’s designed to work with portable mobile devices, rather than supplying home internet to houses along a street.”

While AT&T announced it is planning to have 5G available in Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, it says it will have the service up and running in a total of 12 cities by the end of the year, but will name the other seven later.

“We’re working on an aggressive schedule to help ensure customers can enjoy mobile 5G when we launch the network this year,” AT&T says in its release. “We will add more 5G capable mobile devices and smartphones in early 2019 and beyond.”

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design.

The massively faster speeds 5G will enable will allow more Internet of Things applications – from smart roadways and driverless car technology to the smart homes technologies that will allow our devices to talk to each other, and other devices and databases out in the world.

5G speeds will be about 10 times current speeds, with much lower latency rates.

So the next question is when will smartphones and other devices that are able to take advantage of 5G speed be available to the general public? AT&T says it expects phone makers to start making 5G capable phones available by the end of this year, and more broadly next year.

AT&T also announced yesterday it is opening a new 5G lab in Austin, Texas for 5G testing.

More from Engadget and The Verge

CNN’s What is 5G?



Watch a human’s lame attempt to stop that weird robot dog from opening that door

OK, determined robot dog beats nerd is all very funny and stuff, and Spot Mini is hardly Frankenstein, but seriously.

As Frankenstein’s monster gets cuter, and more useful, our ability to dispassionately look at how we need to manage Spot, or Frankenstein, may decrease.

Most thinkers in the AI field, when they worry about whether we are going to be able to control the machines, aren’t worried about the robot uprising, or that the machines may turn on us humans. They’re worried about the same thing we’ve had to worry about with every other powerful technology:

What happens when it falls into the wrong hands? And can we prevent it.

Spot Mini deciding to open the door and wreak havoc on the city of Boston isn’t the problem. Some terrorist programming Spot Mini to do that might be. I can’t help but be reminded of the cliche from the currently raging gun debate about how guns don’t kill people. Of course not, but they allow bad people to.

Robots, of course, just like cars, home-made bombs, electricity, bricks and string, can all be used by bad guys.

Cambridge University asked some top AI thinkers to, well, think about this.

The takeaway:

“Twenty-six experts on the security implications of emerging technologies have jointly authored a ground-breaking report – sounding the alarm about the potential malicious use of artificial intelligence (AI) by rogue states, criminals, and terrorists.”

We’re already seeing it, of course, though so far on a mostly non-lethal scale. Those bots that jerked around with our election information? Yeah.

“Forecasting rapid growth in cyber-crime and the misuse of drones during the next decade – as well as an unprecedented rise in the use of ‘bots’ to manipulate everything from elections to the news agenda and social media – the report is a clarion call for governments and corporations worldwide to address the clear and present danger inherent in the myriad applications of AI,” Cambridge says.

Some of the main pleas from the imminent group that wrote the report:

– Researchers and policy makers need to understand AI (and I would add, not reflexively vilify it, but understand it).

– They need to think about potentials for abuse, and possible defenses.

If you’re working in disruptive technology, or you are a policy maker in your community – you should read this report.

This is cybersecurity 2.0. Protecting ourselves from others who may be not just using technology to steal our stuff (or our elections), but turning our digital things against us in a more physically dangerous way.

The rogues aren’t going to be machines, they’re going to be programmers of machines.

Here’s Cambridge’s outline of the report, and a link to download it.


This is the best story of the day – I would have made it The Lede, but I know I may be overly optimistic about how important this is based on personal optimism and wishfulness. We should all hope for an ALS cure, and as soon as possible. But, like with anything else, it’s more urgently important for those of us who have a personal connection. If you lose someone to cancer, that’s your scourge. Same, of course, for texting while driving, or drunk driving, or gun violence. Or anything else.

Unfortunately, I’m in more than one camp on those personal connections. But I pull hard for those researchers working on ALS because of a really good longtime friend, who will eventually be raising his three children as a widower because his wife is battling this horrible, fast-progressing, deadly disease.

As with all research stories, this one has to be tempered with caution, but it’s a potential breakthrough, and the hope of that is better than not having that hope.

A new breakthrough in possible drug targeting was published by USC’s Justin Ichidaand others in January in Nature Medicine but unless you’re a genetic researcher I wouldn’t recommend that account. But there is a write-up of his work in, of all places, the Hollywood Reporter, because Hollywood publicist Nanci Ryder has ALS and follows Ichida’s work. Ryder’s friend, actress Renee Zellweger also has started to follow Ichida’s work. That gets you in the Hollywood Reporter.

Here’s the important part:

“We found out how ALS is causing the nerve cells to degenerate, and by doing that we were able to find a new protein target. With this new target, we can use a drug to bind to it that we think can change the disease course for ALS patients. The next step is to try to get the drug into clinical testing, but first we need to make this chemical more stable for the body. We have launched a startup company that is hopeful that they can change the structure of the chemical to last longer in the human body and make it more drug-like.”

Sadly, the drug discovery – and the drug testing – process are excruciatingly slow.

“The average drug-approval process takes about 10-15 years, but we hope that we can show a very good effect in phase II and that might speed up the process.”

ALS patients with symptoms right now don’t have that long, unfortunately. But for all the future sufferers of the crippling disease, this may be the best news yet.



“Stress and adversity weaken the brain’s ability to learn and retain information, earlier research has found. But according to a remarkable new neurological study in mice, regular exercise can counteract those effects by bolstering communication between brain cells.” A great piece in today’s New York Times on how exercise might improve your memory. NYT

Other promising health breakthrough news:


California-based Aimmune Therapeutics said 67 percent of kids who had its treatment were able to tolerate the equivalent of roughly two peanuts at the end of the study, compared to only 4 percent of others given a dummy powder. NBC News


Conservative millennials oppose “corporate welfare” deals aimed at luring Amazon HQ, other businesses Raleigh N&O

Delayed its planned Wednesday launch of satellites until Thursday. The Falcon 9 rocket will take up a Spainish earth observation satellite, but also two prototype satellites for a future plan to use satellites to deliver the internet, in hopes of broadening coverage around the globe. LedeTree

Grocery Companies:
A roundup of delivery services by grocery companies like Instacart, Walmart and Amazon. Which one’s do what best? USA Today


Is Public Banking Doable? From Next City
Hello, God? Could You Make My Cell Signal Better? From the British Government


MASS CANNABIS CAFES: Massachusetts Regulators Face Question of Cannabis Cafes: Associated Press

NO BANKRUPTCY: DOJ Reminds Cannabis Biz: You Can’t Use Bankruptcy System. Forbes


CHRONIC PAINFIGHTING BIGGER THAN HIGH SEEKING MARKET: In U.S. states where cannabis is legal, those seeking low doses of it for fighting chronic pain are a bigger market driver than those seeking marijuana for psychoactive effects. Globalnews.ca

THIS IS CANNABIS: Michigan has created an official symbol to mark marijuana, and where it’s sold. Mlive


“We have made a major discovery in our search to find a cure for ALS.” Justin Ichida, USC researcher

And with that glimmer of hope surrounding an otherwise bleak disease, take us out, Shaggy.



About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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