Past predictions

The 5 in 5 is IBM’s annual prediction of five things that will change our lives in the next five years. An impressive number of past 5 in 5 predictions have already become reality. In particular, the IBM Research Frontiers Institute -- a global research consortium focused on developing groundbreaking computing technologies -- is behind a number of predictions that have recently come to fruition.

 

Past predictions

The 5 in 5 is IBM’s annual prediction of five things that will change our lives in the next five years. An impressive number of past 5 in 5 predictions have already become reality. In particular, the IBM Research Frontiers Institute -- a global research consortium focused on developing groundbreaking computing technologies -- is behind a number of predictions that have recently come to fruition.

 

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  Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter

The human tongue, with an average of 10,000 embedded taste buds, provides us with an immediate and powerful mechanism to recognize what we eat. Combined with “smell” information from olfactory receptors inside the nose, our brain is able to recall information about foods, and to rapidly draw conclusions: Is this fruit still ok to eat? Does this coffee need more sugar? As part of the IBM Research Frontiers Institute, scientists are developing miniaturized devices and an experimental microfluidic apparatus that quickly teaches a miniaturized sensor to recognize a large selection of liquids. The team envisions building smart sensing systems that recognize and discriminate liquids beyond the human sense of taste, thereby offering new opportunities in authenticity verification, counterfeit detection, food safety, quality control, process control, and many other areas.

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  Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell

Inspired by the human nose which employs a relatively small set of sensor types, yet can distinguish among a trillion odors, IBM researchers are working on an E-nose IoT device of matching sophistication. Taking advantage of IBM’s experience in materials research and nanofabrication technology, the device combines an array of optimized, nonspecific sensors with novel digital signal processing and deep learning algorithms to interpret incoming odor data. The team foresees powerful applications for this device in the realms of environmental monitoring, food safety, healthcare, automotive, and security, among other applications.

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  Macroscopes will help us understand Earth's complexity in infinite detail

Scientists developed IBM PAIRS Geoscope a cloud-based data analytics service that allows the rapid discovery of new insights from massive, complex geospatiotemporal data. Geospatiotemporal data is information collected across space and time. It permeates our world -- from cell phone data and IoT sensors to maps and population information to social media data. Insights contained in and across this data remain relatively “dark” due to its size, format and complexity. But now IBM is taming this complexity with an experimental research offering that can reduce the time it takes to find results and insights from this data from months and weeks to sometimes minutes.

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  Smart sensors will detect environmental pollution at the speed of light

Most pollutants are invisible to the human eye, until their effects make them impossible to ignore. Methane leakage, for example, the primary component of natural gas, is estimated to be the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide (CO2). Working on the premise of delivering new, affordable sensing technologies and leveraging IBM’s expertise in silicon photonics technology and advanced analytics, IBM researchers have made numerous technical advancements and produced a compact prototype optical methane sensor that is cloud-connected.

The team has field-tested an integrated IoT system comprising of a solar-powered distributed network of these methane sensors. The tests, conducted at a site operated by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), have shown promising results in locating and quantifying sources of methane leakage under realistic natural gas production conditions. The system is soon to undergo testing at client sites throughout the northeast.

The team is also on its way in development of the next generation of autonomous, weatherized, and easy-to-use methane sensors that can be deployed near natural gas extraction wells, around storage facilities, and along distribution pipelines, in a matter of minutes. Sophisticated cloud-based analytics operating on the data from these sensors combined with real-time weather and infrastructure data can create a methane management solution that not only increases the efficiency and minimizes the environmental impact of upstream natural gas operations, but also plays a role in downstream applications. For example, by working with public utilities, safety in densely populated urban areas could be improved through the early detection of potentially dangerous natural gas leaks in neighborhoods.

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   Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone

Advances in haptics or touch via mobile devices is becoming a reality. Researchers at the University of Michigan developed a technology that would bring 3D touch-like features to most smartphones, allowing devices to distinguish between different levels of force being applied. This technology allows users to carry out certain tasks quickly; dialing 911 by squeezing their smartphone in a certain pattern, for example. A different pattern might turn the music on or flip a page on the screen .Similarly, technology from Immersion Corporation allows production of videos and mobile ads enhanced with tactile effects for certain Android-based mobile platforms.

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   Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words

The field of computer vision has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last several years. At IBM Research, for example, scientists are developing cognitive computing algorithms in the field of visual analytics, designing systems with a computational form of sight to help transform fields like healthcare and, specifically, to tackle diseases like skin cancer. In collaboration with MSK, researchers developed cognitive systems that use machine learning and visual recognition technologies to examine images of skin lesions and recognize key visual patterns, helping dermatologists identify cancerous states.

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   Hearing: Computers will hear what matter

Significant advances are being made in creating cognitive systems that can interpret and analyze sounds to create a holistic picture of our surroundings. IBMand Rice University are working together to develop a sensor platform to help the elderly and their caregivers. The platform can “see,” “listen” and “talk,” providing guidance and assistance to help the elderly stay healthy, mobile and independent. Researchers at IBM also developed Watson Beat, a cognitive technology that can help artists create original compositions. The technology helped Grammy award-winning music producer and artist Alex Da Kid compose the "Not Easy” track for his first album.

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   The classroom will learn you

The classroom of the future is here. In 2014, scientists at IBM worked on a joint project with Gwinnett County Public Schools (the 14th largest school district in the US, located in metro Atlanta) on a personalized learning system. The system uses cognitive technologies to identify learning needs of students and recommend personalized learning pathways. IBM also partnered with Pearson, the world’s learning company, to make Watson’s cognitive capabilities available to millions of college students and professors. Combining IBM’s cognitive capabilities with Pearson’s digital learning products will give students a more immersive learning experience with their college courses, an easy way to get help and insights when they need it, all through asking questions in natural language just like they would with another student or professor. IBM is also collaborating with Sesame Workshop to develop a new category of adaptive learning tools for preschoolers.

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   Buying local will beat online

IBM is working with several businesses to use cognitive computing to merge the immediacy and instant gratification of physical shopping with the richness and intelligence of online shopping. Macy's is piloting "Macy’s On Call," a mobile web tool that allows customers to input questions in natural language about a store’s unique product assortment, services and facilities and then receive a customized response. IBM and VineSleuth collaborated on Wine4Me, a cognitive computing-enabled app that can be used in-store at a kiosk to help wine consumers get individualized recommendations.

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   Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well

Full DNA sequencing is on its way to becoming a routine procedure. In 2014, New York Genome Center and IBM started a collaboration to accelerate the race to personalized, life-saving treatment for brain cancer patients. As a follow on, in 2015, IBM announced another collaboration with more than a dozen leading cancer institutes to accelerate the ability of clinicians to use Watson to identify and personalize treatment options for patients. Recently, IBM and Quest Diagnostics announced a new service that helps advance precision medicine by combining cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing.

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   A digital guardian will protect you online

Scientists at IBM have taken the lead in fighting cybercrime using cognitive security technologies. IBM recently launched the Cyber Security Beta Program with 40 global leaders in banking, healthcare, insurance, education and other key industries. IBM’s X-Force library, which includes 20 years of security intelligence, is a central part of the solution’s corpus of knowledge and advanced behavioral analytics to better identify threats. The solution leverages advanced machine learning to help clients find potential vulnerabilities faster and make real-time decisions.

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   The city will help you live in it

Since 2010, through its Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM has deployed more than 800 top experts to help more than 130 cities around the world learn and understand the most critical challenges it faces and provide pro bono counsel to address them. IBM has developed a vast portfolio of solutions and technologies that can derive insights from crowdsourcing, mobile application and IoT platforms to allow cities to better listen, interact and respond to citizen needs giving rise to cognitive cities that can respond in real-time, predict problems before they occur, and deliver tailored services to make city life better for everyone.

Predictions

IBM 5 in 5 predictions