THE QUANTUM STATE OF INFRASTRUCTURE RECONFIGURATION IN 5G
Keywords:5G, infrastructure, governance, telecommunications, quantum social science
AbstractTransnational information networks are a proxy for power that embody visions of futures and possibilities (Mosco 2005; DeNardis 2020). This paper looks at the topological reconfiguration of networks that comes with the development and deployment of 5G technologies. The paper argues that 5G networks exist in an apparent paradox of quantum superposition: the networks are controlled both by states and private corporations, and the intelligence is located both in the end-points as well as in the network. But just like in the thought experiment of Schrödinger's cat, if one would observe the networks in case of an incident, the control over the network resides inside the network and with the state. However, this would merely describe the topographic qualities of the network, not its topological configuration. I use the concept of a quantum state that originates in physics, but is readily used in quantum social science (ie Barad 2007; Der Derian and Wendt 2020), to explain how, in the development of the topology of 5G networks, several ‘states’ that seem exclusionary occur simultaneously. This approach helps to explore how the creation of material possibilities in transnational information networks is entangled with transnational institutions, markets, and nation-states. Through this contribution, I seek to build a bridge between constructivist and realist traditions in international relations by using approaches from quantum social science and science and technology studies to increase understanding of the role of communication networks in tussles for power.
How to Cite
ten Oever, N. (2021). THE QUANTUM STATE OF INFRASTRUCTURE RECONFIGURATION IN 5G. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12056