Monday, December 19, 2011

The Next 5 Years In Tech According To IBM

Today IBM released the company's sixth annual “IBM Five in Five" (#ibm5in5) – a list of predictions of tech based products or enhancements that are going to change our lives in the next five years.

This year's list includes renewable energy for the homes user, the end of passwords through the proliferation of biometric identification to authenticate your identity, effective mind control over machines, the elimination of the digital divide and the end of spam.

The next Five in Five is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.

The efficient capture of renewable energy

IBM predicts: People power will come to life.
"Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, workplaces and cities."

No more passwords

IBM predicts: You will never need a password again.
"Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinol scans and voice files – will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password."

Much of this is already starting to become more mainstay. Everything from smartphone to tablets to Windows based PC are seeing more and more integration of facial recognition software.

Control machines with your mind

IBM predicts: Mind reading is no longer science fiction.
"IBM scientists are 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."

Researchers have been working on these devices for year and already found ways for us to control things like artificial limbs, pointer devices and some do some basic functions. Headsets exist that can monitor brain activity and map the areas associated with basic tasks. The technology is still in its infancy but they have made great strides over the past few years. Its not unreasonable to think we'll see even greater strides in the short term future.

An end to the digital divide

IBM predicts: The digital divide will cease to exist.
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.

Low-income, rural and some minority groups continue to lag significantly behind other U.S. groups in broadband adoption, according to a new report from the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In other areas of the world large groups of people are cut off from access to our ever increasingly digital world. IBM predicts that as the prices of mobile devices comes down we will see less and less of a divide between those that are connected and those that aren't.

The end of SPAM

IBM predicts: Junk mail will become priority mail.
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 not specifically predicting that we will no longer see spam mail. Rather they feel as though that mail will now be more targeted. This seem really counter intuitive to me.

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