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.