Century-old technology behemoth IBM has done some pretty wild things in it’s time. They’ve dragged us from Keypunch through Typesetting and on to Supercomputing technology. So when the behemoth makes a prediction, the world listens, even when it’s outlandish. IBM has predicted a near future in which machines read minds and recognise who they’re dealing with. Each year since 2006, IBM has released Five-In-Five, a list of 5 predictions for the future of tech, 5 innovations that will have a profound effect in the next 5 years. The latest IBM Five-in-Five predictions were based on societal trends and research which the New York State-based company expected to begin bearing fruit by the year 2017.
“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 said in its annual assessment of innovations on the horizon.
“IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone,” it continued.
IBM gave the examples of ringing someone up just by thinking it, or willing a cursor to move on a computer screen.
Biological makeup will become the key to personal identity, with retina scans of recognition of faces or voices used to confirm who people are rather than typing in passwords, the company forecast.
“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 recognise the unique patterns in the retina of your eye,” IBM said.
“Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet,” it continued.
Technology will also be able to produce electric power from any type of movement, from walking or bicycle riding to water flowing through pipes of homes, IBM predicted.
Mobile phones will narrow the digital divide between “haves and have-nots” by making information easily accessible and junk email will be eliminated by smarter filtering and masterful targeting of ads people like, according to IBM.
The latest Five-In-Five:
1. People will power their homes with energy they create themselves:
Energy: People power will come to life
Imagine being able to use every motion around you—your movements, the water rushing through the plumbing—to harness energy to power anything from your house to your city. It’s already being tested in Ireland, where IBM scientists are studying the effects of converting ocean wave energy into electricity. But instead of a buoy to capture motion, a smaller device that you wear or attach to your bicycle during a ride, for example, will collect the energy you create.
2. No more passwords, biometric tools like retina scanners and voice recognition will replace passwords.
Security: You will never need a password again
The name “multifactor biometrics” sounds as intriguing as the thrillers that use it as a plot device. In real life, the use of your retinal scan or your voice as a passport to verification will replace multiple passwords for access to information and secret hideouts, should you decide to accept the option. Your unique biological identity becomes your only password as multifactor biometrics aggregate these characteristics in real time to prevent identity theft.
3. You device will read your mind . . .
Mind Reading: no longer science fiction
Dialing a telephone is considered so last century. Soon, overt communication with devices might be just as archaic. IBM scientists are researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone, so you only have to think about calling someone and it happens. For example, see a cube on your computer screen and think about moving it to the left, and it will. Beyond electronics control, possible applications include physical rehabilitation and understanding of brain disorders such as autism.
4. IBM predicts that within 5 years, 80per cent of the global pill own a mobile device.
Mobile: The digital divide will cease to exist
Mobile devices are decreasing the information-accessibility gap in disadvantaged areas. In five years, the gap will be imperceptible as growing communities use mobile technology to provide access to essential information. New solutions and business models from IBM are introducing mobile commerce and remote healthcare, for example. Recorded messages can be transmitted to quickly deliver valuable information about weather and aid to remote or illiterate users who haven’t had ready access before.
5. Spam will become personal, unsolicited junk mail will be so personalized and relevant it will no longer be, well, spam . . .
Analytics: Junk mail will become priority mail
Imagine technology that replaces the unwanted messaging in your life with the next best thing to a personal assistant. IBM is developing technology that uses analytics and sensemaking to integrate data into applications that present only the information you want—and then do something about it. Combining your preferences and your calendar, for example, the technology will proactively reserve tickets to your favorite band’s concert when your calendar shows you’re free, or research alternate travel plans when it detects bad weather along your route, and then tell you where to go.