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IBM's Five Best Predictions in Tech for the Next Five Years

By - Source: IBM | B 43 comments
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Smart email, mind-reading devices and biometric password are predicted to become mainstream in the next five years.

IBM has predicted the future, and it contains mind-reading machines and the death of character-based passwords. This revelation stems from the company's sixth annual Five in Five where it predicts five innovations that will change our lives within the next five years. The company assesses not just the availability of a new technology, but also the likelihood of its large scale adoption.

"In addition to the PR value, we complete this exercise annually because it makes IBMers think hard about what’s possible and to strive to make it so," writes IBM's Steve Hamm. "Simply put, the process of choosing the predictions and defending them is good for us."

So what's in store for us within the next five years? Here are all five with a brief summary:

People power will come to life
We will make our own energy instead of relying on monopolizing power companies. If it moves, then it can create energy. "In the next five years, advances in renewable energy technology could make it possible for us to draw on power generated by everything from our running shoes to the ocean’s waves.," predicts IBM distinguished engineer Harry Kolar.

You will never need a password again
Passwords won't be necessary because security measures will depend on your biological makeup. "Biometric data such as retinal scans and voice files will be combined through software to build you a DNA-unique online password," the company claims.

Mind reading is no longer science fiction
Scientists are trying to figure out how to link the devices you own directly to your brain without an actual physical The Matrix-like cranial plug. The idea is to think about making a call, and the smartphone responding to the command.

The digital divide will cease to exist
"Mobile devices will assist you in your daily life by initiating the communication with you and providing helpful information based on your context," predicts IBM chief technology officer for telco research Paul Bloom. "For example, when you order your lunch from your cell phone, you might get a message recommending a healthier selection, based on the restaurant and your personal profile."

Junk mail will become priority mail
"Imagine a future where some sources of unsolicited advertisement produce such useful and perfectly timed ads, that you would signup," writes Jeff Jonas, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Software Group's Chief Scientist of Entity Analytics. "A world where virtually every text message or email pushed at you is so relevant that this 'service' starts feeling like a best friend."

IBM points out that many of its previous predictions have come true including the use of nanotechnology, the ability to affordably decipher an individual’s entire genome, communicating with the internet via speech recognition, and remote access to healthcare. As for its current predictions, IBM explains each in a 5-minute video summary, embedded below.

IBM Next 5 in 5: 2011

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  • 20 Hide
    memadmax , December 26, 2011 11:07 PM
    "We will make our own energy instead of relying on monopolizing power companies."
    heh..... That doesn't mean that the old rule "energy in equals energy out" rule is dead.... So, instead of paying for power, we will pay for food instead because our body would need more energy to power these devices?

    "Mind reading is no longer science fiction"
    Good luck with that one....

    "Junk mail will become priority mail"
    Who comes up with this crap????

  • 14 Hide
    dimar , December 26, 2011 11:22 PM
    IBM should work on a global AI, earth orbiting super-computer for sensing corrupted business men and politicians :-)
  • 11 Hide
    southernshark , December 27, 2011 12:02 AM
    I predict that IBM is bad at making predictions. This stuff is complete crap. The only one that might happen is the self powered devices, but that will be limited to mobile devices and obviously not your PC.
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    Display all 43 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    memadmax , December 26, 2011 11:07 PM
    "We will make our own energy instead of relying on monopolizing power companies."
    heh..... That doesn't mean that the old rule "energy in equals energy out" rule is dead.... So, instead of paying for power, we will pay for food instead because our body would need more energy to power these devices?

    "Mind reading is no longer science fiction"
    Good luck with that one....

    "Junk mail will become priority mail"
    Who comes up with this crap????

  • 14 Hide
    dimar , December 26, 2011 11:22 PM
    IBM should work on a global AI, earth orbiting super-computer for sensing corrupted business men and politicians :-)
  • 1 Hide
    drwho1 , December 26, 2011 11:25 PM
    This must be from IBM... Internal Bullshiters Meeting.
  • 5 Hide
    jsmakkar , December 26, 2011 11:33 PM
    From Innovations To Reality? Interesting!!!!
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 26, 2011 11:46 PM
    If all this happens. We're going to be citizen's found on WALL-E. Hell no way!
  • 8 Hide
    anonymous23423 , December 26, 2011 11:51 PM
    "Mind reading is no longer science fiction"
    Interesting. AFAIK the only methods for recording brain waves are EEG and MEG, and are not exactly user friendly or cheap. It sure it great to see this brand new technology in our smartphones before the medical world even gets their hands on it.
  • -6 Hide
    anonymous23423 , December 26, 2011 11:52 PM
    "Mind reading is no longer science fiction"
    Interesting. AFAIK the only methods for recording brain waves are EEG and MEG, and are not exactly user friendly or cheap. It sure it great to see this brand new technology in our smartphones before the medical world even gets their hands on it.
  • 11 Hide
    southernshark , December 27, 2011 12:02 AM
    I predict that IBM is bad at making predictions. This stuff is complete crap. The only one that might happen is the self powered devices, but that will be limited to mobile devices and obviously not your PC.
  • 6 Hide
    RealityClash , December 27, 2011 12:06 AM
    All I got from that was that the guy sounds like Borat :) 
  • 3 Hide
    silver565 , December 27, 2011 12:14 AM
    The mind reading I can believe. They are making huge steps towards brain interaction/control already. Mostly for helping people with spinal injuries, however it could be used for "reading"
  • -2 Hide
    divhon , December 27, 2011 12:55 AM
    This is what Nokia, Friendster, MySpace, GM, & lehman brothers predicted 5 years ago
  • 3 Hide
    vittau , December 27, 2011 12:56 AM
    More like fifty years...
  • 3 Hide
    Target3 , December 27, 2011 1:08 AM
    coming from a man who can't draw a circle...
  • 6 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 27, 2011 1:13 AM
    People power will come to life: The Matrix
    You will never need a password again: Gattaca
    Mind reading is no longer science fiction: Master System
    The digital divide will cease to exist: Big Brother Pizza
    Junk mail will become priority mail: Corollary - priority mail will become junk mail
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 27, 2011 1:14 AM
    They've been making the, "junk mail will become valuable to you," for over a decade now, and it hasn't happened yet. I think they underestimate people's hatred of advertising clogging up their media streams, even if it's for stuff they like.
  • 5 Hide
    Azimuth01 , December 27, 2011 1:43 AM
    "Mind reading is no longer science fiction"
    If the advertisers can read our minds, then they can tell us exactly what we want to hear, exactly when we want to hear it. Which is why they they assume "Junk mail will become priority mail".
    What they don't understand is the moment we are told what we want, we no longer want it.
  • 3 Hide
    leafblower29 , December 27, 2011 1:43 AM
    Quote:
    Mind reading is no longer science fiction

    Thought crime anyone?
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , December 27, 2011 2:38 AM
    memadmax"We will make our own energy instead of relying on monopolizing power companies."heh..... That doesn't mean that the old rule "energy in equals energy out" rule is dead.... So, instead of paying for power, we will pay for food instead because our body would need more energy to power these devices?"Mind reading is no longer science fiction"Good luck with that one...."Junk mail will become priority mail"Who comes up with this crap????


    single car breaks, when you break it slows you down but it also generates power for the battery, I'm guessing it's things like that they say running shoes would provide power but just imagine if shoes could provide power to a small device like a phone, effectively making running out of power damn near impossible.

    we already have mind reading things, they're really hard to use but they already exist, this is based on things I've seen five or so years ago so I don't know exactly how much it progressed. it's probably not the replaced keyboard typing just yet, or speech to text, but it could replace the mouse is also the chance that it could replace fingers touchpad device. all that said the moment that we can record our dreams sign me up, I have a bunch of them that I would just love remember forever, and out one of those porn.

    Will imagine it this way, you bought a pair of socks, some unregistered you bought a pair of socks and then at the most likely date that the sack to be worn only be looking for new ones, in comes an advertisement for socks. Thanks to things like Facebook this is a very viable option and it would at least be less annoying than your penis needs to be enlarged.

    anonymous23423"Mind reading is no longer science fiction"Interesting. AFAIK the only methods for recording brain waves are EEG and MEG, and are not exactly user friendly or cheap. It sure it great to see this brand new technology in our smartphones before the medical world even gets their hands on it.

    it's hard to explain but it actually has very little medical use, at least the method I've seen him doing it, but at the same time I could see being used in medicine more than anything else because controlling the computer with your brain would allow you to at least be able to communicate if you're paralyzed, among other applications.

    southernsharkI predict that IBM is bad at making predictions. This stuff is complete crap. The only one that might happen is the self powered devices, but that will be limited to mobile devices and obviously not your PC.


    completely power, no
    offset your power bill, yes

    Considering how much I rocked back and forth it my chair, or bob my leg up and down my foot, that could offset my power bill a it

    --------------------------------

    the most worrisome thing would be the biometric passwords, I could see being using ATMs, at least until people starting their fingers cut off. People don't like to think of it that way but that's how it would happen people would be getting the fingers cut off whether it's possible to circumvent it that way or not.
  • 4 Hide
    Onus , December 27, 2011 2:38 AM
    I'm with Rick D. I typically use unsolicited advertising to tell me what NOT to buy. Even if the product type interests me, I'll try to find another vendor specifically to avoid supporting an unsolicited advertiser.
    Biometric passwords are already here, at least to some extent, so I believe this one.
    A later email is one thing, but the day my cell phone chides me on a choice I've made is likely the day I hurl it off a building. Just say no to Skynet.
  • -1 Hide
    nottheking , December 27, 2011 4:23 AM
    I'm skeptical on all five of these:

    1. No matter what, the law of Conservation of Energy cannot be broken, ever. There's no free source of energy, period. (more on this below) Furthermore, of course, what would power companies say about this?

    2. I can't see biometrics being any more secure... If anything, they'd be LESS secure, since that means anyone with a good photo of your eyes, and (possibly) a copy of your fingerprints and/or a strand of your hair would be able to fool EVERYTHING. With a password they at least have to try and crack it. Biometrics may be added as ADDITIONAL security, but it's NO replacement for other forms of it.

    3. This, in all honesty, would be less convenient than many existing forms of input, such as the keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, and controller. Wearable readers are still inconvenient, and implanted devices are, of course, only something that makes sense for the handicapped. For the impaired, I can definitely see these sort of devices gaining a lot of popularity, but perhaps not so much for gadgets as for prosthesis.

    4. This really sounds a lot like advertising... Of course, this could be compared to a "pro-active Siri," but even then, I'm predicting that, like either other people chiming in, people would just find this annoying. And it sorely misses the mark by suggesting this would eliminate the "Digital divide." Do they even remember what said "divide" is?

    5. No, simply NO. The whole reason for advertisements existing in the information age is to try and present people with things that they aren't already wanting. If they would've bought said product anyway, it was wasted ad dollars. If someone is actively searching for a specific product, they are NOT going to be looking for advertisements... They're going to go to Google, Angie's List, or some other SERVICE that will provide them with things. This is something people pay for (indirectly) rather than receive as a negative experience. I see such services being used more and more, and, while one could predict that they'd become a primary source of revenue, they'd be wrong for the reason that they already are.

    alidansingle car breaks, when you break it slows you down but it also generates power for the battery, I'm guessing it's things like that they say running shoes would provide power but just imagine if shoes could provide power to a small device like a phone, effectively making running out of power damn near impossible.

    What they were referring to is the most-ignored (if most un-ignorable) law in physics: that of Conservation of Energy. (also known as the First Law of Thermodynamics) There's no such thing as free energy, (or power, fuel, etc) and this applies to EVERYTHING. If you're grabbing power for something, it's coming from SOMWHERE. Hybrid cars? Regenerative braking merely recovers the energy from the car's momentum. (with normal braking, it's all dissipated as heat, hence why brake pads are made of asbestos or ceramic)

    Similarly, if your own movements are powering something, this means you're going to be expending extra energy to do so. No, it's NOT going to be energy you wouldn't be expending normally. Any device that'd be converting back-and-forth motions is going to wind up acting more as a "drag" than an otherwise inert object, as it will be acting as a deceleration on all your movements.
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