232 How To Create The Future with Martin “Marty” Cooper, Father of the Cell Phone


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In this incredibly special episode of Follow Your Different, we have a person that is like no other that has ever been on this podcast. We know the names of many of the legendary innovators and category creators of the modern era: people like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and many others are rightfully celebrated worldwide. Yet most people don't know who the father of the cell phone is. The man behind it all is Martin Cooper, and he is our guest for today. In the last 100 years, there is no category of technological breakthrough more important than the cell phone. While there are others that are equally important, it is not an exaggeration to say that the mobile phone changed the trajectory of humanity. The cell phone created a radically different future that has created and it continues to create exponential benefits for humankind. I'm very grateful that Marty took the time to write his new riveting book, it's called Cutting the Cord. Because now, we have a first-person account of the life and the learnings of a legendary innovator, engineer, and category creator, and frankly, American, Martin “Marty” Cooper. What follows is an unedited, uninterrupted conversation with Martin Cooper. We cover everything from his definition of what technology is, to why he's irked by how the mobile companies have rolled out 5G. We also talk about his thoughts on how to bridge the digital divide and how to bring the internet to everyone, which he is really passionate about. So if you want to hear more from the Father of the Cellular Phone himself, stay tuned to this episode. Martin Cooper on Bridging the Digital Divide When asked about his current thoughts on technology, Marty’s initial thoughts were on the digital divide with regards to education. Particularly, it’s due to the fact that people cannot get a decent education in modern times without having access to the internet. One reason is that having access to the internet means having access to anything all the time. You also have access to all the knowledge of society at your fingertips. Unfortunately, that access is only afforded to half the students nowadays, even in an advanced country like the United States. Others either have no access to it because of the cost, while some have no decent service available to them at all. For Marty, the idea is simply ridiculous, especially during this day. “There is no technological reason for that to be the case. The carriers that provide us with service, people like AT&T, T Mobile, Verizon, and many other carriers license the radio spectrum from us. Their licenses have one basic requirement: and that is that the use of the spectrum should be in the public interest and convenience. And yet, there we have it 25% of our country is not covered, and 25% of our population can't afford the service.” – Martin Cooper Some of Marty’s suggestion regarding the matter is to make it more accessible to the public, either by lowering rates, or building a system where its almost a necessity for each household to have such a connection. Even if it means having the government shoulder the cost. Because the alternative is having a population where half of it is being left behind in terms of education. Martin Cooper on 5G For Marty, 5G doesn’t really affect the average consumer. It is mostly targeted on businesses, companies, and other structures of that nature. What irks him about this is how they are promoting it, saying that they will be useful to industries such as autonomous cars and remote surgery. The main thing about those two examples is that it’s not only fast connection that will enable it to be effective. You also need a network where it can operate at very low latency, so that reaction times will be instantaneous. It would be bad if two autonomous cars that are about to crash to have a few seconds delay on their response. You definitely do not want a doctor doing a crucial operation on someone being hampered by lag.

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