Five in Five—where are they now?
Past predictions that are becoming a reality.
Mind reading: no longer science fiction
Mind-reading headsets are becoming everyday consumer electronics as they become smaller and less obtrusive. Muse, developed by Interaxon, is a light-weight, wireless headband with four built-in brainwave sensors that detect the levels, combinations and proportions of the five key types of brainwaves to reflect your most intrinsic state of mind. The headset syncs to a custom application on a smart phone.
Mind-reading technology is also being used more extensively as ways to understand and communicate with patients by analyzing brain activity. Recently, a Canadian man who existed in a vegetative state for more than a decade was able to tell his doctors he was not experiencing any pain as observed from his pattern of brain activity in an fMRI scanner.
Security: You will never need a password again
You probably know firsthand how difficult it is to type a strong password on a smart phone, but the increasing use of personal mobile devices for work requires strict adoption of security policies involving strong passwords, as do other applications such as physicians accessing health records or sending e-prescriptions. IBM Research is working with healthcare providers to help physicians access confidential records from their mobile devices based on their physiological makeup.
Each person has a unique biological identity. Biometric data—facial definitions, retinal scans, voice files—will be composited through software to build your unique DNA online password. Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real time to make sure that any attempt to access your information matches your unique biometric profile before it can be authorized. To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.
Analytics: Junk mail will become priority mail
In 2012, IBM announced a new suite of predictive analytics software that helps businesses analyze big data to make better decisions. By gathering insights from internal data as well as social networking channels in a matter of seconds, businesses can gain, share and take action based on information gathering in processes such as marketing, claims processing and fraud detection.
New analytics engines and models can take into account context—such as people, places and things—and make systems smarter as more information becomes available. This can help organizations have a more accurate picture of their customers by providing them with the right services and products based on the data they provide in their social and online networks.
IBM client C Spire, a leading telecommunications service provider, is using IBM analytics to get closer to their customers by better predicting customer behavior and intervening before a problem ever arises, making their service and experience more personalized.
Computers will help energize your city
The integration of hot-water cooling and IBM application-oriented, dynamic systems management software enables energy to be captured and reused to heat the buildings on the sprawling Leibniz Supercomputing Centre campus in Germany, saving one million euros ($1.25 million USD) per year.
A data center built by IBM and Syracuse University uses gas-powered micro-turbines to generate on-site power derived from its micro-turbines' 585 degree F (307 C) exhaust.
Excess heat from servers at the new Telehouse West data center in London will soon be used in nearby houses and businesses, producing up to nine megawatts of power for the local Dockland community.
Waste heat from a data center underneath Uspenski Cathedral in Finland will warm water pipes and channel enough heat to warm up 500 large homes nearby.
Telecity is using waste heat from its new Condorcet data center in Paris to heat an on-site Climate Change Arboretum, where scientists will re-create the climatic conditions expected to prevail in France in 2050 with the aim of selecting those species most adaptable to changes in the prevailing climatic conditions.
The Notre Dame Center for Research Computing has placed a rack of high-performance computing (HPC) nodes at a local municipal greenhouse, the South Bend Greenhouse and Botanical Garden, to help heat the flowers and plants in the facility.
You won't need to be a scientist to save the planet
IBM and the City of Dubuque, Iowa, launched the Smarter Sustainable Dubuque Water Pilot Study. IBM analytics and cloud computing technology helped reduce water utilization by 6.6 percent, increased leak detection and response eight-fold, and encouraged behavior changes in the participating households.
IBM is working with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on a pilot project for smarter communication among electric vehicles and the power grid. The project uses vehicle data, such as the battery's state of charge, and grid data from PG&E to create an optimal charge schedule to reduce inconvenience for electric vehicle drivers and stress on the power grid.
Batteries will breathe air to power our devices
IBM Research has progressed its work in the area of lithium-air batteries, and plans to have a lab prototype of an air-breathing rechargeable battery for electric vehicles by 2014.
Your commute will be personalized
From posted predictions of when the next bus arrives to maps on your smartphone that show where traffic currently is, our commutes are becoming more personalized. Location-based services can find the nearest taxi and send it to your location within minutes.
In 2011, IBM, the California Department of Transportation and University of California, Berkeley developed and piloted Smarter Traveler that informed drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area of predicted traffic congestion on their typical routes before they left home or work. Using roadway and cell phone sensors, the system remembers a person's typical travel times and routes, and uses predictive analytics to alert them to heavy traffic before the trip begins.
IBM researchers have been working with traffic officials in Lyon, France, to bring this kind of predictive intelligence to the city's traffic command center. Using real-time and historical traffic data, the new analytics and optimization technology can help officials detect incidents, predict outcomes and analyze different scenarios to resolve problems. The algorithms can also "learn" from previous actions and incorporate results and feedback into future recommendations.
You'll beam your friends up in 3-D
And despite his death in 1996, Tupac Shakur rocked the Coachella Music Festival this past April. While not a pure hologram, the technology that put his image on stage was a variation of a technique called "Pepper's Ghost," which, believe it or not, dates back to the 16th century.
Cities will have healthier immune systems
IBM is currently working with Canada, as well as a number of other governments and organizations to use mathematicians and scientists to detect emerging diseases, such as H1N1, to make quick, real-time decisions about all aspects of preparedness planning, so hospitals and doctors are not overwhelmed. Technology will help governments, hospitals and clinics find trends and patterns to determine when each neighborhood is likely to have peak infections, and translate that medical intelligence into better health care. For example, officials will be able to plan for how many doctors may be needed in a certain area, how much medication to keep on hand, and how much capacity is needed at local intensive-care units.
City buildings will sense and respond like living organisms
In a partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, IBM committed its long- standing leadership in high performance computing, modeling, optimization and simulation to allow building architects to rapidly evaluate all aspects of integrated building lifecycle design, processes that today are segmented and expensive to accomplish. Supporting interoperability of existing tools and information, IBM will develop a cloud computing framework and infrastructure that will help to ensure that even small to mid-sized architectural agencies can take advantage of this sophisticated technology to design smarter buildings.
Initial project data is very encouraging. In the last year, the St. Regis Hotel Shanghai, reported that a network of smart sensors has helped cut energy costs by 40 percent.
Cities will respond to a crisis—even before receiving an emergency phone call
Progressive cities and municipalities are turning to advanced technology as a powerful tool in detecting and anticipating threats and emergencies.
IBM is working with the Memphis Police Department (MPD) to enhance its crime fighting techniques with IBM predictive analytics software and reduced serious crime by more than 30 percent, including a 15 percent reduction in violent crimes since 2006. MPD is now able to evaluate incident patterns throughout the city and forecast criminal "hot spots" to proactively allocate resources and deploy personnel, resulting in improved force effectiveness and increased public safety.
Energy-saving solar technology will be built into asphalt, paint and windows
IBM Research has built a new kind of solar cell—one where the key layer that absorbs most of the light for conversion into electricity is made entirely of readily-available elements—and set a new world record for efficiency. The cell holds the potential for enabling solar technology to produce more energy at a lower cost. Composed of copper, tin, zinc, sulfur and selenium, the cell's power conversion demonstrates an efficiency of 9.6 percent—40 percent higher than the value previously attained for this set of materials.
Already, a Japanese manufacturer - Solar Frontier - agreed to develop thin-film solar cells originally designed by IBM.
You will have a crystal ball for your health
IBM and Roche are developing a nanopore-based technology that will directly read and sequence human DNA, applying a combination of computational biology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. The collaboration moves us significantly closer to producing a commercial system that can quickly and accurately sequence DNA and translate the genome into medically relevant genetic information.
IBM researchers have developed a number of computational biology tools that use advanced algorithms and analytics to help doctors choose the best treatment options for patients. One such system provides clinicians tools to predict the response a patient will have to antiretroviral treatment for HIV, and has become the largest clinically oriented antiretroviral drug resistance database in the world.
Called EuResist, the system's predictions are now nearly 80 percent accurate; outperforming other commonly used HIV resistance prediction tools, as well as experts in the field.
You will talk to the Web and the Web will talk back
IBM Research has developed the Spoken Web project, a voice-enabled technology that enables people with little or no literacy, or those with visual impairments, to access and share information, perform business transactions and create social networks using mobile or landline phones. The Spoken Web is the World Wide Web in a telecom network, where people can host and browse VoiceSites, traverse VoiceLinks, even conduct business transactions, all just by talking over the existing telephone network.
Additionally, IBM, the National Institute of Design (NID) of India and Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo (RCAST) have begun a new collaborative research initiative to explore an open, common user interface platform for mobile devices, to make them easier to use for disadvantaged populations around the world.
You will have your own digital shopping assistants
IBM is piloting new technology that allows retailers to recognize when shoppers are in their stores and send relevant coupons to their mobile phones. IBM scientists are helping to advance the form and functionality of digital devices to transform and ease the 21st century shopper's experience.
IBM is also helping retailers around the world create easy and speedy dressing room experiences for shoppers. If items you want aren't stocked on the floor, IBM technology can give you the option to purchase them online and have everything shipped to your home, or use your digital shopping assistant to tell you which stores nearby are carrying the items and offer to place them on hold.
IBM has also worked with clients and partners to develop products to allow consumers to have better access retailers' inventory.
Forgetting will be a distant memory
IBM is collaborating with European Union partners called HERMES to develop a combination of home-based and mobile device-based solutions to help aging populations combat the natural reduction in cognitive capabilities. In the second year of the three-year project, a working prototype has been created and trials are underway. The consortium partners are currently preparing for the second round of user trials with a more advanced and final prototype.
It will be easy to be green and save money doing it
IBM is working with the United States Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to help create one of two Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Projects. The Olympic Peninsula Demand Response Project was designed to test and speed the adoption of new smart grid technologies that can bring consumers and utility companies together in managing the power grid—on average, consumers who participated in the project saved approximately 10 percent on their electricity bills. This project continues today.
Additionally, IBM is also partnering with others on projects in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Dubuque, Iowa.
The way you drive will be completely different
Driver-assist technologies, such as voice activated systems and rear-back up cameras, are no longer reserved for luxury cars. The 2011 Chevy Volt features 10,000 lines of software code, and each car has its own IP address. IBM's software and simulation tools helped GM engineers develop the software in the advanced control systems on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which was designed and engineered in just 29 months, a record for GM. IBM tools helped GM model the interactions of the Volt's embedded systems, helping to increase the quality and efficiency in developing this systems approach. In coming years this trend will extend even further as cars become driven by an entire system of computers. That's why earlier this year, IBM joined a number of top tier universities in Canada to create The Network on Engineering Complex Software Intensive Systems for Automotive Systems (NECSIS). We have also worked with Queensland Motorway in Brisbane, Australia and the Singapore Land Transit Authority to make roadways and public transit smarter.
You are what you eat, so you should know what you're eating
IBM and FXA Group have created a first-of-a-kind food traceability initiative with the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers and the Vietnamese State Agency for Technological Innovation. As part of a pilot project, IBM and FXA provided a system that is using RFID technology to trace the origin of Vietnamese seafood exports and help ensure seafood's freshness upon its arrival in global markets.
Then in March 2010, IBM and FXA Group announced they are working with Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to empower farmers, exporters and retailers to improve global food safety by making Thailand's agricultural products traceable from farms to store shelves. Thailand, one of the world's largest producers and exporters of agricultural products, exported approximately $17.3 billion worth of food and livestock, and is the world's fourth largest exporter of frozen chicken .
Your cell phone will be your wallet, ticket broker, concierge, bank, shopping buddy and more
In Singapore, CASSIS International and IBM are piloting a Smart Poster Management System at train stations and bus stops that enables transactions with a simple tap of a mobile phone. Consumers just need to tap on a Smart Poster to receive product and location information, quickly access services and conduct transactions, including buying movie tickets or making dinner reservations, with their mobile phones. Spain's Worldnet21 has teamed with IBM to transform a consumer's mobile device into a private tour guide by providing comprehensive, updated and personalized information about the European destination a tourist is visiting. Worldnet21's Verne21 service enhances regional tourism through real-time consumer access to personalized local information; audio in more than 35 languages; ticket purchasing; and access to local information on public transport, contact details for restaurants, hotels and more.
Doctors will have enhanced super-senses to better diagnose and treat you
When your own blood work, virus experiences, family history, race and other personal health information are compared to thousands of other people's, researchers and physicians can see correlations in what has been done, what has worked and what hasn't.
IBM has worked with a large integrated healthcare company in the United States to apply massive scale analytics to cardiac data in an effort to help doctors find patterns across patient condition and treatment decisions. Called, AALIM (Advanced Analytics for Information Management), this tool uses advanced multimodal analytics to create a unified patient overview by integrating unstructured, semi-structured and structured data into one view, and present patient data in a number of different ways so doctors can choose the interface that makes the most sense to them. While still in the research phase, the technology is showing accurate and promising results.
Meanwhile, IBM and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology are working on a first-of-a-kind research project to help doctors detect subtle changes in the condition of critically ill premature babies. And scientists of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and IBM Research demonstrated the most extensive simulation yet of real human bone structures, providing doctors the first high definition views of the strength and fragility of bones, using a Blue Gene supercomputer.
We will be able to access healthcare remotely, from just about anywhere in the world
The United States Department of State and IBM partnered to implement a high-technology telemedicine system in Pakistan. Pakistani doctors are now conducting pre-operative planning and follow-up and perinatal evaluations over the Internet. They are also diagnosing and treating cardiac and infectious disease and more, all through a patient-friendly portal equipped with advanced medical devices for ultrasound, EKG, stethoscope and X-ray functions, plus interactive capabilities such as secure email, voice and video conferencing, all over a globally encrypted telemedicine network.
United States stimulus funds have allotted $54 million to connect health records between and among the states. IBM is actively involved in 40 health information exchanges. The company also acquired Initiate Systems earlier this year, a software company specializing in information sharing among healthcare and government organizations. This will all help coordinate medical information among hospitals, pharmacies, employers, communities and governments to help stop the spread of disease and keep people healthier.
Real-time speech translation—once a vision only in science fiction—will become the norm
IBM researchers are helping to break the language barrier with the advent of technology dubbed n.Fluent—smart software that translates text between English and 11 other languages. IBM employees use it to instantly translate electronic documents and Web pages—even live, instant messages exchanged on smart phones.
At the heart of n.Fluent is a remarkably successful internal IBM crowd sourcing project: IBM's nearly 400,000 employees in more than 170 countries, submit, update and continuously refine word translations. Every time it's used, n.Fluent improves its translation engine. To date, the tool has been used by IBMers to translate more than 40 million words. n.Fluent currently can be used for the following languages commonly used in commerce, such as Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Arabic.
IBM has also developed TALES, real-time translation for video broadcasts and Web content, as well as speech-to-speech translation system for Chinese, Arabic and Farsi to use in civil applications environments, such as hospitals and professional training.
There will be a 3-D Internet
Since 2006, 3-D games and interactive spaces have exploded onto the Web. In fact, many of the world's largest massively multiplayer online role-playing game like EVE Online and Taikodom, are using high-end IBM technologies, such as high performance computing and cloud computing to keep up with their ever-growing and graphically demanding environments.
IBM and its clients and partners are also using the emerging 3-D Internet to recreate data centers in a secure virtual world; creating Sametime 3-D; and have successfully demonstrated virtual world interoperability.
Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance
This year, scientists from IBM and Stanford University discovered new chemical formulas that could make it easier to recycle the 13 billion plastic bottles disposed of around the world each year. Called Green Chemistry, the breakthrough could lead to a new process that has the potential to significantly increase the ability to recycle and reuse common PET and plant-based plastics in the future. It also has sustainability implications across a wide range of industries, including biodegradable plastics, healthcare and microelectronics.
Our mobile phones will start to read our minds
IBM and Telenor developed new mobile communications technology for global business users that allows mobile devices and networks to (with consent) learn about their users' whereabouts and preferences as they commute, work and travel.
Code-named PASTA for Presence Advanced Services for Telco Applications, the technology provides infrastructure for deploying next-generation mobile presence services. Presence technology—used in applications such as instant messaging—makes it possible to locate and identify a computing or communications device wherever it might be, as soon as the user connects to the network. Privacy issues are addressed by allowing users to control when they are available.