The intersection of deep-sea cables, data embassies, and AI will revolutionize industries, enhance efficiency, and drive innovation forward. Through a deeper understanding of their interconnectedness, governments will harness the power of digital architectures to propel themselves into the future of digital transformation.

The speed of data transmission along fibre is determined by the speed of light in the optical fibres. This approaches about 200,000 kilometres per second in a vacuum. While the real speed of data transmission in fibre optic cables is slower due to the refractive index of the fibre core material, it still far exceeds the speeds achievable using copper.

Increasing global demand for high-speed internet services exacerbates the pressure on existing fibre networks leading to congestion and service disruption. The remedy is continuous investment in network expansion, capacity upgrades, and deployment of advanced technologies such as self-healing networks.

This robust webbing of deep-sea fibre optic cable that is a palimpsest of many fascinating precedents is the undercarriage that now holds together e-Commerce and the AI-Assemblage.

The 2012 cable that connected one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other was laid almost exactly over the route used during the transatlantic slave trade. In addition, much of the basic cable map is now layered over the old copper wire paths of the old telegraph network of the British Empire in the 1800s.

Today, the BELLA cable Programme addresses the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities. The deliverable is actioned through two projects: BELLA-S, which secures spectrum rights; and BELLA-T, which provides high-speed connectivity and equal access.

BELLA connectivity will provide the high volume and low latency needed for data-intensive primary research and learning. Commissioning of the EllaLink is ongoing. Data centres in Madrid, Lisbon and Sines will be directly connected to Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. However, data centre construction everywhere is grappling with significant challenges, including a widening skills shortage.

To continue to thrive, governments are focusing on

  • leveraging modular solutions to counter disruptions efficiently,
  • integrating AI for meticulous monitoring and comprehensive risk and cost mapping,
  • providing power with modern microgrids, and embracing alternative energy sources for reliability and sustainability, and
  • encouraging the use of AI for targeted upskilling of the workforce.

Once deep sea fibre cables were financed by a combination of public and private sector partnerships, but now multinational digital communications technology conglomerates are financing cable infrastructure. The deep sea fibre meshwork provides a fast and reliable data connection infrastructure to accommodate the data transfer speeds needed for real-time machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing used by AI.

Fibre allows quicker data transfer speeds, increased bandwidth capacity, and enhanced electromagnetic interference resistance during the transmission of huge amounts of data in real-time for autonomous vehicles and surveillance systems. Fibre allows AI systems to digest data quickly.

However, a primary challenge is the susceptibility of fibre optic cables to physical damage. This can occur during excavation activities, natural disasters, or accidental cuts during routine maintenance. These challenges require robust strategies for cable protection, pre-emptive monitoring, and agile emergency repair protocols.

Automated repair drones, remote monitoring systems, and predictive analytics now streamline the workflows around detecting and rectifying cable faults. This reduces downtime and enhances service continuity. The Sirius South cable lies between Dublin, Ireland, and Lytham St. Anne’s near Blackpool in England. Laid in 1999, it is 219km long. The cable’s location is marked on industry-recognized charts and Ireland’s Marine Atlas. Despite this, there have been about eighteen instances of damage to the cable.

Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and South Africa were left without internet services on 14th March 2024 for some hours because of failures on four deep-sea fibre optic cables. Nevertheless, Africa is now encircled by fibre optic cables although some regions are far better connected than others. This is largely because of PPP arrangements over the past ten years.

Within our present technical architecture, we find that AI-Assemblages shape society and, are shaped by society. Technology is thus a public manifestation of patterns of thought and behaviour, and can function as a tool for domination or liberation. Technology shapes institutions and plays into social relationships.

Fibre optic cables play a pivotal role in establishing the interconnected network infrastructure necessary for digital society. Whether it is for data embassies, edge computing environments, or IoT ecosystems, robust data-cabling solutions are fundamental for creating the agile and scalable digital architectures required to support AI-driven processes and digital life.

AI is not one tool. It is an assortment of components, including algorithms, that compiles itself into an assemblage. It is a suite of tools, techniques and technologies. AI consists of the liaisons among several parts which remain incomplete or open. It is a multiplicity of technologies which sees the social world not in terms of its parts, but as an agglomeration of workings – a gestalt.

Furthermore, it is a ubiquitous apparatus buttressed by a social and political ideological undercarriage that preserves many prejudgments from the European Enlightenment. AI is a new form of agency, not intelligence, and its future turns on fibre, data lakes and data cooperatives.