Sorry, Trump. 6G is not a thing.

By Rachel Kraus

Did the President just add a digit to a concept he doesn't understand to make it sound even better? 

Trump, as he does, tweeted some out-of-left-field flim-flam Thursday morning, in advance of his trade talks with China. Now, it's always wise to gird your loins whenever Trump ventures into technology concepts, but this morning was special. 

Not only did Trump push for the deployment of 5G technology, but he also advocated for "6G" — a technology that does not exist.

5G is a forthcoming generation of broadband internet, that ISPs in the US are competing to roll out amongst each other — and on which the US is attempting to compete with China, although China is reportedly miles ahead

Furthermore, existing US iterations of 5G have proven to be largely marketing ploys, and a clear understanding of how soon the technology will be rolled out and the applications 5G will enable remain elusive. At this point, 5G is a lot of promises of a revolutionary high-speed future, with little probability of it becoming a reality for a majority of everyday Americans anytime soon.

So, sure, we want 5G! But we also want... 6G? 

To date, 6G — or, "6Genesis" — is a concept that researchers are developing in Finland. What 6G is right now is a research paper, and a trippy video. Not an actual thing the President of the United States can "want."

Chinese and Russian state-backed newspapers have reported that — surprise! — China is also working on 6G. But 6G is not even a thing yet. The President "wants" something that has no definition. Which, really, is consistent with his grasp on reality in general.

The series of tweets were likely about Trump's relationship with China, and recent developments concerning Chinese technology companies ZTE and Huawei. Trump is set to resume trade talks with China today, so tensions are high as the two nations compete to become leaders in 5G, and the US does everything it can to keep China from becoming a hub of intellectual property development.

Additionally, there have been rumors that Trump may ban ZTE and Huawei from doing business in the US, since they have been accused of stealing US IP, and compromising cybersecurity. That could account for Trump's aside about wanting the US "to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies." 

The White House has been pushing technology initiatives recently, including an executive order about increased R&D in AI, and calls for more rural broadband (a project Trump's shutdown seriously undermined). 

Could that be because Ivanka appears to be at the center of these initiatives? It certainly seems like someone has been whispering in Trump's ear about technology policy. Maybe that included an offhand comment about 6G, once. Yeah, that would fit. 

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