In the digital age, technology moves fast. Between updates and iterations, it’s easy to fall behind on the latest capabilities. Add droves of bots blasting misinformation into the Twitterverse and it becomes even more difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Case in point, amid the coronavirus pandemic, some individuals around the globe began attacking cellular towers due to widespread misinformation that 5G stations were spreading COVID-19. That said, a recent survey asked individuals a series of questions regarding common misconceptions to better understand exactly what tech myths people in the US believe to be true.
Tech misconceptions: 5G conspiracies and stargazing
The anonymous survey was conducted by HighSpeedInternet.com and included the responses of 1,000 people throughout the US. The report illustrates the most common answers from the survey a number of falsities surrounding 5G top the list.
Overall, one-in-four people believe that 5G cellular towers can make people sick. Meaning only three-quarters of the population does not believe a cellphone tower can cause sickness. This is despite numerous reports highlighting the safety of 5G cell towers.
Aside from misinformation, there are other general confusions surrounding 5G technologies. For example, about one-in-six (17%) respondents believe that 5GE is the same as 5G. It isn’t. As our sister site, CNET, recently explained, 5GE stands for “5G Evolution” and is not 5G. As has been widely reported, AT&T’s 5GE is a rebranding of its 4G LTE.
The tech myths people believe are not limited to the terra firma and the manipulated radio waves of planet Earth. The report details a common misconception regarding the numerous satellites peppered throughout low-Earth orbit (LEO); a realm extending about 1,200 miles above our planet.
This sliver of space is occupied by a vast cosmic cornucopia of man-made objects ranging in size from larger objects such as the International Space Station to compact satellites. In the years ahead, an orbiting fleet of satellites may deliver Earthlings high-speed internet from LEO.
Space X’s Starlink has launched hundreds of satellites and the constellation is set to grow as the company continues toward its goal of satellite-delivered internet access. However, astronomers have complained that these satellites create challenges for observation and research. That said, about one-third of people believe that LEO satellites, such as the Starlink “trains” orbiting Earth, “will ruin the view of the night sky,” according to the survey.
Light pollution from the ground presents its own limitations, however, the sunlight reflected from these spacecraft also hinders stargazing efforts; namely astronomy research. Although, as the author of the report points out, “these satellites will not dramatically alter the view of the night sky for amateur stargazers, but it’s complicated when it comes to astronomers and scientists.”
Earlier this year, Starlink announced a design adjustment to reduce the impacts of its expanding fleet of satellites. In April, Space X CEO Elon Musk said that future Starlink satellites would feature “dimming devices” to reduce these stray glints as they orbit overhead, according to CNET.