IBM's '5-in-5' predictions for 2022

Sept. 1, 2017
by Mark Ollig

What technological advances have been forecast for the next five years?

Technology titan IBM just released its quinquennial “5-in-5” future forecasts for our consideration.

Every five years, IBM proposes five technology advances they feel will transform our lives during the next five years.

• This year’s first prediction will have us paying attention to what we say, and the words we write.

IBM suggests our verbal and written communication “will be a window into our mental health” by means of artificial intelligence (AI) analysis.

The words we write and speak will be analyzed by artificial cognitive computing systems.

These systems will formulate a diagnosis about our mental health and physical well-being.

Cognitive, autonomous systems will uncover early-stage developmental disorders, and degenerative neurological diseases.

An early diagnosis will provide doctors with improved disease identification, monitoring, and tracking so a correct treatment can be prescribed.

IBM predicts the global cost for treating health conditions is projected to reach $6 trillion by 2030.

Advice for the young folks out there – getting into the artificial intelligence, cognitive autonomous computing field might be a good career move.

On a personal note – having 10 years’ worth of Bits & Bytes columns diagnosed by a cognitive autonomous AI system could prove interesting.

• Portable, hyperimaging smartdevices will provide us with detailed information about our food and drink choices, along with “superhero vision” within the next five years.

Enhanced hyperimaging technology, along with AI cognitive computing, will allow us to see and learn details about a physical item’s identity, properties, and condition.

I look for a future hyperimaging app on our smartphones used for scanning our food; showing whether it is safe to eat, along with its nutritional value.

Soon, we’ll see shoppers in grocery stores scanning tomatoes, lettuce, apples, steaks, and hamburger with their smartphones.

Advantages of hyperimaging technology include enhanced visualization, allowing us to see through heavy rain or fog.

While driving, this technology will determine the size, distance, and identification of threatening objects ahead of us; such as deer dashing across the road, or provide advanced warning about an upcoming pot hole.

I imagine this notification data will be audible, as well as visually observed on a vehicle’s windshield or display screen.

• By 2022, the billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected all around the planet; on the satellites in space, and possibly the mechanical roving explorers on other planets, will have its data gleaned and sorted by advanced AI algorithmic supercomputing software systems.

A “macroscope” analysis of this gargantuan amount of IoT information will provide us with a greater understanding of our world and universe.

Currently, there are over six billion IoT devices producing tens of exabytes of data each month. IBM says this data is growing at an annual rate of 30 percent.

Some perspective – one exabyte of storage could hold 11 million 4k formatted movies, or the entire works contained in the Library of Congress 3,000 times over.

The digitalization of our voice, video, data, business, and social online communications is nearing completion.

The total digitalization and Internet Protocol (IP) integration of the communications network and physical devices throughout the world is currently taking place.

• By 2022, nanotechnology will support a medical “lab-on-a-chip” according to IBM’s fourth prediction.

Within five years, all the processes needed to analyze a disease normally researched in a full-sized biochemistry laboratory, will be conducted using a single silicon processing chip inside a portable, handheld device.

This processing chip will be able to interface with, and obtain data from other medical IoT devices, and run AI system analysis.

• IBM’s fifth prediction says smart sensors will instantly determine the source of pollution emissions within the environment.

Natural gas and oil pipelines, hazardous chemical, liquid, and gaseous storage systems will have advanced sensor technology installed for providing real-time detection of leaks, and will notify its findings to the proper authorities.

It was in the May 28, 2012 Bits & Bytes column where we addressed IBM’s predictions for 2017.

IBM stated, by 2017, we wouldn’t need to type in a password to access a computer.

Today, many computers are using a fingerprint scan for the password.

The employees in a certain Wisconsin company I wrote about July 28 are using a wireless-communicating microchip implanted in their hand for password access to their company computer.

IBM’s 2017 prediction of the elimination of spam email by analytical software filtering has not quite come to fruition.

I learned Minnesota’s connection with IBM began in 1956, when they opened a new computer manufacturing facility in Rochester.

Many computing systems were built there, including the System/38 computer server in 1979, and the AS/400 computing system in 1988, with a menu database I worked with for many years.

“There is no challenge too big – or too small – for us to set our sights on if we’re only bold enough to take the chance,” a quote on the IBM website proclaims.

Follow my fairly-accurate futuristic prognostications on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

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