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IBM reveals five innovations that will change lives within five years

IBM Corp. this week released its annual "IBM Five in Five" -- a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years:


December 21, 2011  


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IBM Corp. this week released its annual “IBM Five in Five” — a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years:

* You will be able to power your home with the energy you create yourself

* You will never need a password again

* Mind reading is no longer science fiction

* The digital divide will cease to exist

* Junk mail will become priority mail

The next Five in Five is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s labs around the world. Below is how the company explained how each will unfold:

You will be able to power your home with the energy you create yourself.

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 individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, workplaces and cities.

You will never need a password again.

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, retinol scans and voice files — will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.

Referred to as multifactor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to aggregate this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and it is authentic. As always, you’ll be able to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.

Mind reading is no longer science fiction.

From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been “wishful thinking” for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true.

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.

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 five 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.

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.

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.

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..

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 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.