IBM has a project on emerging technologies called “The next IBM 5 in 5.”
The predictions are based on IBM’s research, as well as market and societal trends. Here are the 5 technologies IBM predicts will become true within 5 years, which will radically change our lives. (My editorial comments are colored pink. ~Eowyn)
Anything that moves or produces heat has the potential to create energy that can be captured. Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes. Advances in renewable energy technology will allow us to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.
Maybe we’ll finally find something of use from Obama’s incessant golfing and occasional bicycling.
Your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.
You will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins. Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.
Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files – will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.
Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized. To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.
(Read more about how mind-reading works, here.)
IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens. Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.
Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry. Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism.
What will Big Brother government do with this new technology? If minds can be read, it won’t be long before minds can be programmed, aka brain-washed, and controlled.
In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information. And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology.
There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device. As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today.
Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare. For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones. With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.
I think IBM is being too optimistic, at least with regards to ending the digital divide in the United States. Citing a Pew poll, USA Today reports that although blacks and Latinos are more likely than the general population to access the Web by cellular phones, and they use their phones more often to do more things, they are using their increased Web access more for entertainment than information empowerment.
In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.
IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you. From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.