IBM predicts how future technology will affect our lives over the next five years.
Have you ever seen one of those movies in which modern characters somehow travel back in time? Knowing the future gives them a huge advantage over still living in the past, although it often causes more trouble than it’s worth. Well every year for the past eight years, IBM has given the world the next best thing: a list of educated predictions about future technology. No, these aren’t half-cocked dreams about flying cars or colonies on Mars. These are systems and gadgets that are very likely to change the way we do things in the next five years.
Surprisingly (or maybe not) many of IBM’s “5 in 5″ predictions about future technology have come to fruition, or something close to it. As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look at the future technology that will likely become commonplace by the end of the decade.
IBM’s Future Technology Predictions For Education, Retail, Healthcare, Security and Cities
According to IBM, the digitization of classrooms that’s already begun will really take off in the next five years. Future technology in the classroom will learn from the student while he or she is learning their daily lesson. “Cognitive computing, or learning technologies, will help us calculate everything we can about how each student learns and thrives, then create flexibility in the system to continually adapt and fine-tune what we deliver to that student and how this supports teachers and employers,” says Katharine Frase, IBM’s VP and CTO of Global Public Sector.
How many of us shopped on Amazon this holiday season? It may seem like online behemoth’s are stamping the local brick and mortar businesses out of existence, but IBM says a firm grasp on future technology could change this in the next five years. “Retailers will layer increasing levels of engagement and personalization on top of the shopping experience, ultimately merging the instant gratification of physical shopping with the richness of online shopping and making same-day delivery a snap,” says Sima Nadler, IBM’s Research Lead for Retail. According to Gizmag, “IBM has already demonstrated such technology in the form of an experimental augmented reality app that automatically delivers personalized coupons, offers, customer reviews and hidden product details to shoppers in stores.”
Mortality is a fact of, well, life, but according to IBM, future technology could help us to better prepare for it. The company predicts that DNA testing will move from a costly procedure to a mainstream tool doctors can use to test for cancers, or develop personalized treatment options for conditions such as stroke and heart disease.
In perhaps the most strange and slightly terrifying prediction, IBM says future technology will provide each of us with an “online guardian” that will learn your habits to help protect your identity and sensitive information (I wonder if it works for the NSA too?).
Smart phones are already ubiquitous in big cities, but in the future, IBM predicts that they’ll making living in dense urban areas easier and more enjoyable. “For citizens, smart phones enabled by cognitive systems will provide a digital key to the city. People can have fingertip access to information about everything that’s happening in the city, whether an experience is right for them, and how best to get there,” says IBM’s Human Systems researcher Sergio Borger.
Related on Ecosalon
Images via keoni101 and IBM