IBM’s predictions from ‘five in five’
May 28, 2012
by Mark Ollig

May 7, 2007 Yours truly wrote a column titled “IBM: A ‘five in five’ prediction.”

Five years ago, during the IBM Innovation Jam, IBM made five technological predictions they believed would occur by 2012.

Well, folks, five years have gone by (rather quickly) and so I thought we should revisit those predictions and see how well IBM did in the forecasting business.

Their first prediction envisioned a “3D Internet.”

The latest release of the Mozilla Firefox 11 web browser includes a 3D view button, which allows one to browse the Internet in 3D mode.

Aside from some 3D Internet gaming sites, we are not yet using 3D very much on the Internet. Even the newer 3D televisions and camcorders are not very popular with many people – but we do have them.

IBM predicated we would be able to access our health care remotely, from anywhere in the world by 2012.

IBM was accurate on this prediction, as the advances in telemedicine technologies over the last five years have been remarkable.

Doctors have performed remote robotic-surgery, and we can have medical apps on our mobile devices to check our heart rate, and measure our blood pressure. This information can be wirelessly transmitted to our health provider.

Here is a link to some of the medical apps made by a company called Airstrip: http://airstriptech.com.

By 2012, IBM had predicted our cell phones would begin to read our minds.

I believe IBM meant our cellphones in 2012 would know where we were, more than actually reading our minds – which would be a bit of a stretch even in 2012.

Back in 2007, the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) was not as common as it is today.

Presence Technology is now being used by our mobile devices for tracking, pinning, and reporting our locations. It informs us of nearby businesses and landmarks, and provides us with location-based services.

“Real-time speech translation” is a 2007 prediction IBM was accurate on.

Today, there is a mobile device app called TransFire, which is an instant messaging app that translates conversations in real-time using the Google Translate Applications Programming Interface. You can learn more about this app at http://www.transfireapp.com.

The fifth IBM predication from 2007 suggested nanotechnology would have a greater impact in 2012.

The name “nanotechnology” was devised in 1974; however its concept actually got started back in 1959, when Richard Feynman, a physicist, put forward the idea of manipulating individual atoms and using them for constructing extremely small machines. He talked about this in his 1959 speech “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.”

Today’s use of nanotechnology ranges from the development of nanomedicines, which target certain proteins that collect in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, to nanoparticles, that attach themselves to tumor cells, and then treats them with antibodies.

Nanomaterials today are being used in over 1,000 consumer products, electronic components, and automobiles. There are even nanoparticles used in some cosmetics.

So, what do IBM’s ‘five in five’ predictions for 2017 include?

Their first prediction says we will be able to power our homes with the energy we capture ourselves.

This energy could come from anything that moves; from the water flowing through our home’s pipes, to the kinetic energy generated by walking on the floors.

IBM says by 2017, we will no longer need to type in a password.

What will we use then?

Each of us has a unique, biological DNA identity makeup which comes into play here. For example, the unique patterns in our eyes retina might be scanned to provide access to our normally password protected accounts. By 2017, we may be able to walk up to a bank ATM machine and just say our name, instead of keying in a password.

Next, IBM predicts (once again) mind reading will become a reality.

Today, IBM scientists are working on how to connect our brains to our electronic devices, (such as a smart phone); so all we would need to do is “think” about calling someone – and it would just happen.

Instead of using a speech-to-text interface on our computing device, in five years we might be using think-to-text technology.

IBM says in 2017, the technology and informational division between the “haves and have-nots” will be no more, as each person in the world will have access to some type of smart mobile device.

Finally, IBM predicts the use of analytics will eliminate spam email.

All email will be filtered, as future computing systems will be able to determine the data that’s relevant and important to us. These systems will also bring us the information we prioritize without our having to ask for it.

IBM predicts our mobile device will inform us when our favorite band is in town, and even put tickets on hold for us to purchase. If a snowstorm is about to affect our air travel plans, our mobile device will inform us to re-route our plane ticket.

“You’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it,” said the narrator in the latest IBM “Next 5 in 5” video.

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